RAYE BIRK (WELLER) has been a professional actor for more that 43 years and has worked at numerous regional theatres including the Milwaukee Rep., the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Rep., South Coast Rep. in Costa Mesa, CA and the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Birk is a native of Flint, MI and his theatre training includes degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and an MFA from the University of Minnesota. He performed for nine season with the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco, playing leading roles in The Browning Version, The Three Sisters, Pantagleize, Equus, Travesties, Hotel Paradiso, A Christmas Carol, A Moon for the Misbegotten and The Taming of the Shrew. He returned to ACT for five years to recreate his highly-acclaimed performance as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. During the 20 years he lived in Los Angeles he appeared in nearly 150 television show, including recurring roles on LA Law, The Wonder Years, Coach, Cheers, Silk Stalkings, Dear John, The Popcorn Kid and The Black Scorpion as well as episodes of Babylon 5, X-Files, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Touched by an Angel, ER, Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, Star Trek, Picket Fences, Alf, Perry Mason and numerous TV movies. His feature films appearances include Doc Hollywood, Throw Momma From the Train, The War of the Roses, Naked Gun & Naked Gun 33 1/3, Class Act and Burglar. Since moving to the Twin cities he has done four feature films here: Factotum, North Country, Sweetland and most recently, the Coen’s brothers A Serious Man. In spring of 2003 Birk and his wife Candace Barrett moved back to the Twin Cities and he has since appeared in 27 productions at the Guthrie Theater, including The Sunshine Boys, Long Days Journey Into Night, Othello, A Delicate Balance, Faith Healer, Pride and Prejudice, 1776, The Great Gatsby, Third, The Winter's Tale, Pygmalion, His Girl Friday, MacBeth, and four seasons as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Other Twin Cities appearances include Old Wicked Songs with Theatre Latte Da, The Last Word with the Minnesota Jewish Theater and most recently playing King Lear at Park Square Theater in St. Paul. Birk created an ongoing training class for “professionally oriented” performers called the The Actors WorkOut, which he as taught for the last seven years at the Guthrie. He was the recipient of a McKnight Fellowship from 1965-67 and a Fox Foundation Fellowship in 2004.
CANDACE BARRETT (FONSIA) has been involved in all facets of the arts community throughout her career as actress, teacher, director, designer and administrator. She is the former Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles and of the Mythica, The Center for World Mythology in St. Paul, MN. She has been a member of the acting companies of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the American Conservatory Theatre and has performed locally at Live Action Set, Hippocrates Café, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Theatre in the Round, The Open Eye Figure Theatre, and the Guthrie Theatre. Candace has also directed for the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, SecondWind, University of Southern California and the American Conservatory Theatre. She has held many positions in the arts world including Director of the Young Conservatory at the American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco, CA), Founder and Director of The Academy of Theatre and Media Arts (San Francisco, CA), Associate Professor of Theatre at Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX); Adjunct Professor of Theatre at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA); and Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing at San Francisco State University. Other projects have included serving on numerous boards and national panels including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Humanities; Directing live entertainment for Disneyland, developing design and content for an equine theme park in Dubai, developing the primary concept for a Peace Center in Korea and writing K-12 mythology curriculum for the Joseph Campbell Foundation. She recently completed a post-baccalaureate certificate program in Integrative Therapies and Healing Therapies at the University of Minnesota. She is a certified Health Coach and practices at PORTALS. She is a Thought Leader for the Life Reimagined Institute of the AARP and directed the Second Wind Tour for them. She teaches acting at the Guthrie Theatre and is the Lead Artist for their Theatre and the Healing Arts program.