educators

Erica Arvold

Erica has been a guest instructor and speaker for over 20 years, sharing insights from a career as a casting director and producer that spans major studio films, television shows and multimedia projects.

She has had the honor of collaborating with and serving students and faculty at universities, schools and acting studios across the country, including the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Regent University, George Mason University, Longwood University, The Robert Mello Studio, Actor’s Arsenal, TRAIN/Cadence Theatre at Virginia Repertory, and The Renaissance School, among others. Her festival appearances as a panelist, moderator and mentor include the Austin Film Festival Screenwriters Conference, Virginia Film Festival, Richmond International Film Festival and the Independent Television Festival. She has been the keynote speaker for organizations outside of the filmmaking industry, such as the Philanthropic Educators Organization (PEO) and the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR). In 2010, Erica founded arvold.education with the goal of raising the bar for all film artists through training and collaboration. arvold.education offers master classes for actors and also sponsors events, panels & discussions on all aspects of the industry. Erica created and taught a six (6) week class titled The Art of Casting for the University of Virginia for those aspiring to enter the field of casting. She utilizes her training at The Theatre School, DePaul University (formerly The Goodman School of Drama) and, as the daughter of a professor, Erica believes that we are and will always be students of one another and that she continues to grow as an artist herself.

Richard Warner

Richard Warner is a master acting teacher and coach serving the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast region.  Richard collaborates with actors, empowering them to truthfully embody characters.

Richard taught acting at the University of Virginia for  30 years where he had the honor of coaching Tina Fey, Ben McKenzie (Gotham, The O.C.), Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions, Barbershop), Jason George (Grey’s Anatomy, Mistresses), Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy, Everwood) and Emily Swallow (Supernatural, The Mentalist). He received UVa’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 1991, the Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professorship in 1998 and was selected as an inaugural member of the University Academy of Teaching in 2011. He is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.

Working as an actor in New York City, Richard studied with Michael Howard and performed at Manhattan Theatre Club, Chelsea Theatre Center, W.P.A. Theatre and Douglas Fairbanks Theatre. He has acted regionally in over one hundred roles in many prestigious regional theaters.

Film credits include: Homer Benson in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Dr. Ezra Abbott in Ridley Scott’s Killing Lincoln, Chester Bowles in National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy and Vic LeClue in Patriot Son. Richard played the lead opposite Grey’s Anatomy‘s Sarah Drew in the short film, Waking Marshall Walker which screened at over 40 film festivals. He played the lead role of Davey in Farewell Old Stringy and created the role of L.P. Everett in the episode, “The 20% Solution” for Homicide, Life on the Street.

As director, Richard has staged Hamlet, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, Hedda Gabler, Hay Fever, A Raisin in the Sun, Cloud Nine, Fuddy Meers, The Foreigner, A Man for All Seasons, Misalliance, Suddenly Last Summer, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Laramie Project, Lend Me a Tenor, Lost in Yonkers, Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and True West.

Eva DeVirgilis

Hailing from NYC, Eva DeVirgilis brings her experience as an actor, coach, and keynote speaker to the Mid-Atlantic region.  Eva teaches Acting Extravaganza and additional beginning acting classes for arvold.education.

Eva studied with prominent actor Vincent D’Onofrio and credits him for teaching her the foundation of acting craft.  She shares techniques she learned from Mr. D’Onofrio in her On-Camera Acting Intensive classes. She was recently seen on stage in Sam and Carol, a role created for her by New York Times best-selling author, David L. Robbins; and is starring in Robbins’ next world premiere, The End Of War. Eva has been featured on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Turn: Washington’s Spies, Legends & Lies: The Patriots, along with numerous other TV, film, commercials and web series. Known for her comedy, she performs improv regularly at the Coalition Theater in Richmond, VA. An activist for radical self-acceptance, Eva speaks across the country to women about ‘Ending the Apology.’ Her inspirational TEDxTalk, In My Chair, is the most watched talk in TEDxRVA history. Eva has a BFA in Musical Theatre from The New School University, NYC, and is an adjunct professor at VCU School of Business. Learn more at EvaDeVirgilis.com

Mercedes Herrero

Mercedes Herrero’s acting career spans three decades, two continents and three languages. She was a 2017 Visiting Professor at Bennington College and taught with the Cervantes Institute and Middlebury College.   

In the United States she has worked on Broadway in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Her many Off-Broadway credits include: The Laramie Project (original company member) at The Union Square Theatre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Henry V (starring Liev Shrieber), Richard III (opposite Peter Dinklage), and Measure for Measure(starring Kevin Kline) at the Public Theatre, Comic Potential at Manhattan Theatre Club, Seven at LaMama, O Jerusalem at the Flea Theatre, and The House of Bernarda Alba in English and Spanish at Intar. Regionally, Ms Herrero has been a part of 13 world premieres of new works by Lynn Nottage, Nilo Cruz, Lynn Redgrave, Moises Kaufman, A.R. Gurney, and Craig Wright among others and played many classical roles in such venues as Arena Stage, The Yale Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Indiana Rep, Syracuse Stage, Asolo Rep, etc. Her television roles include three seasons as N.I. Director Vanessa Morrison on House of Cards, a slew of lawyers on Law and Order/SVU/CI/Trial by Jury and films include: Deception, Arranged, Sidney Hall, and The Tao of Steve. Ms Herrero performed Sonata Strindberg by Emilio Williams in Madrid, Spain, and played Ines in Huis Clos (in French) as a student at the Sorbonne. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Virginia and an M.F.A. in Acting from the Yale School of Drama.  

Robert Mello

Robert owns and teaches at The Robert Mello Studio in Atlanta, GA, the only acting studio in Atlanta offering complete Meisner-based training by an instructor with over 17 years of teaching experience.  He co-teaches The Art of Reviewing Your Self-Tape with Erica Arvold.

Robert has coached winners and nominees of the Golden Globe Award and the Tony Award, and students from The Robert Mello Studio have worked on dozens of hit TV shows, in feature films, Broadway and off-Broadway.

Robert is the former on-set acting coach for MTV’s Finding Carter. Though mostly retired from acting, he most recently worked opposite Ed Helms in the feature film, Bastards. He also appeared in a co-starring role in Devious Maids.  Prior, he worked opposite Hugh Jackman in the role of Roger in the feature film, Prisoners, booked two spots for Pantech phones and appeared in Pinch N’ Ouch Theatre Company’s production of Speed The Plow. In Chicago, he worked at many top theater companies, including the internationally acclaimed Steppenwolf Theater Company.

Robert is an active film producer.  His film, Coffee, Kill Boss opened The Austin Film Festival, closed the Soho Film Festival, won the Grand Jury award at the Maryland International Film Festival, won Best Comedy Feature at the Eugene International Film Festival, and won Best Feature, Best Director and Best Actress at L.A.’s Comedy Ninja Film Festival.  In 2012 he produced a SAG short, Finale, which premiered in Atlanta at the Out On Film Festival and was an audience favorite at the San Jose International Short Film Festival.

Robert’s teaching style is compassionate, straight-forward and filled with joy and humor.

Teaching is Robert’s greatest passion.

Judith Reagan

As a teacher and coach with more than twenty years’ experience at the University of Virginia as Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and in the Department of Drama, Judith Reagan has coached oral presentation for faculty and students at UVA, JMU, Tulane, Cornell and Georgetown and has worked with legal, medical, engineering, and business professionals.

She’s taught at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, the Virginia Municipal League, the Virginia Association of Government Archives & Records Administrators and TEDx Charlottesville. She is interested in cultural aspects of language and communication and is delighted when participants in sessions include those for whom English is their second (or fifth!) language. She enjoys sharing techniques actors use to help those in other professions develop a more intentional, confident approach to public presentation.  As fear of public speaking is acute for many, how actors handle stage fright is a topic of keen interest! Crafting a personal plan for effective preparation and delivery can disarm anxiety so in Judith’s sessions are active, on their feet, learning exercises that develop vocal and physical flexibility and stamina and a calm state of mind. Exercises are fun and obviously effective, motivating many participants to use them regularly, incorporating them into their real and busy lives. Rather than simply better understanding concepts related to speaking, attendees can emerge with a practical, customized plan for improvement.

Judith is a longtime member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. In Virginia she has performed at Theatre Virginia, Heritage Rep, ShenanArts and Wayside, and has worked onstage in NYC, Washington DC, and at regional and summer stock theatres in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Television credits include a national commercial, appearances on daytime drama, and five years as a weather reporter for Charlottesville’s NBC affiliate.

Denise Stewart

Denise Stewart, who joins us as Senior Client Liaison, has been coaching organizations, adults and teens on public speaking skills as well as developing ritual and discipline for health, creativity and productivity for many years.

A past speaker for Charlottesville Tedx and a current Tedx speaker coach, her corporate clients and events have included Crutchfield Corp., MicroAire Surgical, Martha Jefferson Hospital, Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center, CFA Institute, Martin Horn, Inc., Real Estate III, the UVA Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Conference, the Women’s 4-miler Training Program, Blogville, CASA State Conference, NRV Cares Annual Conference, and the Jefferson-Madison Regional Libraries.  Denise is also playwright and actor.  She’s toured her one-woman show, Dirty Barbie and other Girlhood Tales, at Assembly Hall at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, the 59E59 East to Edinburgh Festival in New York City as well as The Corner Store in Washington, DC, the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, NC, among other venues.  Acting credits also include:  Baskerville:  A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Shear Madness, The Odd Couple, Almost, Maine (Heritage Theatre Festival) The Matchmaker, Eurydice, Chemistry of Change (Live Arts), Swamp-hatched Butterfly (Louisa Arts Center) and recently appeared in a Funny or Die sketch.  Her plays have been produced by the Lee Street Theatre, Whole Theatre, Live Arts, Louisa Arts Center, Offstage Theatre, the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, and the Northwest Actors Studio.  She has a BA in Theatre from Catawba College, and an MFA in Playwriting from the University of Virginia where she is currently a lecturer in the Department of Drama teaching courses in acting, improv, and public speaking. 

Scott Wichmann

Scott Wichmann is an award-winning stage, film and television actor who has served as Actor-in-Residence at the University of Richmond and as adjunct public speaking professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.  He teaches Acting Extravaganza and additional beginning acting classes for arvold.education.

Scott is a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts whose credits include Loving, Lincoln, Shooting the Prodigal, Turn:Washington’s Spies and the Hallmark Movie Channel film Lake Effects. In 2016 Scott was featured as his hero, John Adams, on both the FOX News Series Legends and Lies:The Patriots and in the musical 1776 at Virginia Repertory Theatre. Other VA Rep credits include The Producers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Say Goodnight Gracie, Fully Committed, Last of the Red Hot Lovers and This Wonderful Life. He can be seen in the world premiere play The End of War at VA Rep in March 2017.  Scott is an accomplished cabaret performer, director, and author of several educational plays for Theatre IV America. He holds a B.A. in Theatre and Speech from Wagner College, Staten Island, N.Y., and proudly serves as a Mass Communications Specialist in the U.S. Navy Reserve.