Executive Staff

Bryan Caldwell

Co-Founder, Executive Director

Bryan received his B.A. from Tulane University in 2000. Bryan has over 25 years of acting experience and has performed at the Promenade Playhouse, the Stella Adler Theater, and the Culver City Public Theater. A Colorado native, Bryan performed a residency at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, working with their Theatre Academy to implement both the adult and children’s curriculum. He has taught theatre for Los Angeles based students for over ten years including offering programs for youth with Autism and Asperger. In Inglewood, CA he has directed programs at Crozier Middle School and Frank Parent School, and has developed curriculum that focuses on addressing the needs of at-risk youth.

Greg Shane

Co-Founder, Artistic Director

Greg Shane, Artistic Director of CRE Outreach, received his B.A. in theatre from Tulane University and his M.A. in Educational Theatre from the Steinhardt School at NYU. Since he began teaching theatre in 2003, Greg has traveled all over the world bringing performing arts and arts therapy programs to various populations in cities including London, Dublin, Puerto Rico, and Brazil. Greg’s work helps at-risk youth, military veterans, prisoners, mentally challenged individuals, the homeless, and the visually impaired. Blind in his right eye, Greg’s personal connection and sensitivity towards the challenges of the visually impaired lend a unique perspective to his work.

Colin Simson

Co-Founder, Director of Development

Colin is a Boston native and a graduate of Tufts University. He shares his passion for performance and community service through CRE Outreach where he facilitates grant writing and theatre classes. For over 20 years, he has worked with programs in both Boston and Los Angeles helping to conceive, write and bring to life over 100 original children’s theater productions. Colin also continues his mission by teaching music and theatre at Seven Arrows Elementary, a private school in Pacific Palisades as well as private instrument lessons on drum set, guitar and piano lessons for children. An avid performer, Colin also performs with two local bands: The Gravity Guild – Lead Vox/Rhythm Guitar (TheGravityGuild.com), and Bandette -Drums/Percussion (BandetteTheBand.com)

Kristen Engebresten

Director of Strategic Operations

Kristen began with CRE Outreach as a teaching artist in 2003, helped form our 501(c)(3) in 2007, and has served as a board member ever since. Prior to becoming a full time staff member of CRE Outreach in 2016, Kristen served as the Arts Education Policy Manager at Americans for the Arts for five years. There she was responsible for promoting public policies that advance arts education throughout the country. Before her stint in DC, she served at several arts organizations in Los Angeles, including the Music Center and the LA County Arts Commission. She has also taught dance at several education organizations. She holds a Master of Education from Harvard and a Bachelors Degree from the University of Southern California.

Artistic Staff

Christine Breihan

Program Manager, Creative Youth Theatre

Christine is a Los Angeles-based theater artist and educator. As a performer, she has appeared in theaters across Los Angeles including A Noise Within, The Fountain Theater, Sacred Fools, Theatricum Botanicum, Theater of NOTE, Padua Playwrights and is a company member of Ghost Road Theater Ensemble. Internationally, she has trained and performed with members of Teatr ZAR at the Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw, Poland. She has worked as a teaching artist with organizations such as The Unusual Suspects, The Virginia Ave. Project, Children’s Community School, Bridges Academy and Center Theater Group. In addition to teaching and performing, Christine works as the School Programs Manager at Theatricum Botanicum, where she provides theater programming to thousands of learners across Southern California. She studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and earned her BFA in acting from Boston University.

Laurie Grant

Program Director, Rex & Friends

Laurie is the co-founder and former CEO of LPJ Entertainment LLC, and former Director of Music Marketing and Licensing for Performing Arts Studio West (PASW), as well music educator at PASW where she worked with adults with Autism and other disabilities. Laurie also has expertise in music production, songwriting, and publishing. Hailing from Los Angeles Laurie was a student of Music and Music Business at UCLA, and a graduate of The Grove School of Music with a degree in Jazz and Theory, Ms. Grant has a solid academic and professional background in music composition and arrangement. Grant has co- written, produced and licensed works for a multitude of independent artists and for music placement in film and television. These include songs for Dawson’s Creek, Law & Order, and My Name is Earl.

Lana Negrete

Program Director, Outreach Through The Arts

Lana has her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and has spent the last 10 years in Sales and Marketing. She played various instruments in her youth and has always had a passion for dance. Becoming a mother inspired her to have a place where children and their parents could make music, dance and create art together. She developed Pitter Patter, a parent and me program that currently runs in Santa Monica, Culver City and in local pre-schools. Opening her doors to those that couldn’t afford to pay led to the birth of Outreach through the Arts (OTTA), which provides individual instrument lessons and music instruction scholarships for over 350 under-served youth.

Lindsay Nyman

Program Director, Film by the Blind

Lindsay Nyman is an actress, director and writer. She started her career at age nine in the Broadway National Tour of ‘Ragtime’ and continued working as an actress in NY before moving to LA to receive a BA from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television. Lindsay joined CRE’s ‘Theatre by the Blind’ team in 2012 and teaches a drama class called “Acting for Empowerment” at the Braille Institute. Lindsay started CRE’s “Film by the Blind” in 2017, a comprehensive film education program providing blind actors, writers, and directors with the tools to create their own content!

Judy Welch

Program Manager, Veterans Empowerment Theatre

Judy Welsh is a member of Veterans Empowerment Theatre who started acting in High School and continued her education majoring in Theatre Arts at S.U.N.Y. Oneonta. Judy received her first acting award for “Best Supporting Actress” in the 7th Corp. Tournament of Plays for, The Man Who Came to Dinner while serving in the U.S. Army in Stuttgart, Germany. Judy and her family later moved to Chicago where she continued in film, voice over, television and theater with many leading roles. Since relocating to Los Angeles in August 2010, Judy has worked on several commercials including, University of Phoenix, Homes for Homeless Veterans PSA, Feeding America, Dessert Bullet, Google and Facebook. She’s also appeared in music videos for Kendrick Lamar and Bart Baker. She is the currently the Program Coordinator for Veterans Empowerment Theatre, and has appeared in CRE Outreach’s The Hero Within and Marching On. Judy is grateful for the opportunity to help give a voice to so many Veterans that are too afraid to speak out. “Believe in yourself, so others may believe in you too.”

Cathy Baron

Director, Theatre by the Blind

Cathy (Cat) Baron is directing the upcoming production for TBTB, “Sweet Pepper.” She is an actress, dance teacher, photographer, and director. Her most notable role was on FX’s “Justified” playing the character of “Teri” in season 4 and 5. Cathy’s past credits include: The Lifetime original movie, “Fear Bay”, Justin Timberlake’s film “In Time”, “Greek” (TV series), ” iCarly” (TV series), “Valley Peaks” (TV series) , “Dead Stop” (Film), among 40+ other credits in TV, film, and commercials. Cathy is proud to be a part of CRE and helping the blind community in expressing themselves through acting.

Natalie Fryman

Teaching Artist, Creative Youth Theatre

Natalie Fryman, a native Los Angeleno, received her B.A. in Drama from Vassar College in New York in 2003 and her M.A. in Music Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London in 2014. Natalie has been acting, singing, dancing, and playing the piano for most of her life, as a passion for the performing arts runs in her family. She has performed in over 30 plays, as well as in a variety of short films, feature films and television shows. Natalie began teaching dance and theater on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, where she lived for 4 years, before attending graduate school in the UK and returning home to LA. As a stage actor, she regularly works with the Ensemble Shakespeare Theater, the Fugitive Kind, and the Speakeasy Society. She also teaches for multiple organizations in LA that provide youth drama education and enrichment.

Connie Marie Flores

Teaching Artist, Creative Youth Theatre

Connie Marie Flores is an actress, writer, costumer and director who graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity and has starred in stage, television and film productions. Recent performances include Tennessee Williams’ Twenty Seven Wagons Full of Cotton, Madame Nona (A one woman show written by Connie Marie Flores.) and Host of Total Access LA.

Connie Marie is also an experienced acting coach, and teaches theatre arts at many LAUSD schools. She is proud to bring the arts back to her native Los Angeles community with the help of CRE Outreach where she writes and directs a wide range of shows. As the resident bilingual teacher on staff, she has worked with Spanish speaking students to help master the English language and conquer theatrical works such as Shakespearean plays.

Cosette Ruesga

Assistant Director, Theatre by the Blind

Ruesga graduated Magna Cum Laude from Chapman University with a Bachelor’s in Theatre, minors in music, psychology and philosophy, and an ardent thirst for exploring the theatre as an instrument for empowering individuals and communities. She is a founding performer and collaborator of Figure 8 Theatre Troupe and has applied her passions for dialogue and well-being internationally as a theatre practitioner and educator. Her work as an actor includes English and Portuguese-language plays within the U.S. and Brazil, and her directing credits include various English-language plays throughout the U.S. and South Korea, as well as a Spanish production of Fiddler On The Roof in Costa Rica. She extols the theatre’s raw power to foster individual and collective well-being, as well as to develop skills in second-language and emotional literacy. Cosette continuously seeks out new learning challenges as a reciprocal responsibility of her drive to promote theatre initiatives in underserved communities around the world.

Regina Saldivar

Director, Theatre by the Blind

Regina Saldivar was born and raised in El Paso, TX and has been living in LA for 10 years. She made her directorial debut with Theatre by the Blind’s “Sweet Pepper” in 2018. Regina believes strongly in giving back through art and production, which is why she served as producer on the feature documentary “Do You Dream in Color?” – a coming of age story that follows four blind teenagers in pursuit of their dreams (now available streaming through Amazon Prime and iTunes). Regina is perhaps best known for her acting roles on television shows like Chicago Fire, Hand of God, Criminal Minds, Teen Dating Violence and more. She is passionate about animals and is the proud dog-mother of two rescued dogs, Coconut and Nugget.

Jennifer Seifert

Teaching Artist, Creative Youth Theatre

Jennifer Seifert a Jack Nicholson Scholarship Award winner and alumnus of the University of Southern California, is a certified life coach, actress, writer and teaching artist.  As an actress, Jennifer is an Ovation Award winner, and has worked with such theaters as A Noise Within, Pasadena Playhouse, Shakespeare Festival LA, The Actors Gang and The Falcon Theatre with Troubadour Theatre Co.  Jennifer produced her own short film, “To Desdemona, Love Juliet” and can be seen in the Academy Award nominated film, “In America”, and opposite Academy Award winner, Anjelica Huston in “Huff.”  She taught with PS Arts and Inside Out for ten years, before becoming a mother of two boys, and has written a book, “CRxEATIVITY,” about balancing real life and creativity.  She is thrilled to be teaching again with CRE, and facilitating Women’s Artist’s Way groups.  Jennifer also continues to tour the country with “Playfair” and “Shotspeare” and has found a new voice with “Expressing Motherhood” and  “Listen to Your Mother.”

Abby Hilden

House Manager, The Blue Door

Abby Hilden recently graduated from the University of Southern California, where she received her BA in Theatre. She is originally from Minneapolis, where she founded her own non-profit theatre company dedicated to giving high-schoolers the opportunity to produce, direct, and act in shows that are otherwise not performed in traditional high schools. The theatre is currently in its sixth successful season. Abby is also a working actor, seen in numerous commercials, films, and TV shows in the Los Angeles and Atlanta area.

Consultants

Shari Barrett

Publicist

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native and graduate of Cal State Northridge with a B.A. and Secondary Teaching Credential in English and Theater Arts, has been active in the theater world since the age of six – acting, singing and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an Independent Publicist for production companies and as a Theater Reviewer for Broadway World and the Culver City News. Shari has received recognition for the City of Los Angeles for “her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles.” Shari is honored and thrilled to “get the word out” about the exciting programs offered by CRE Outreach and their unique shows at The Blue Door theater.