The Actor's Workshop of Ithaca
Big City Training, Small Town Attention


What our grads say... 

Helen, playing "Ella", the lead in the CW's "I Ship It"

Helen Highfield

"As a professional actor working in Los Angeles, I’m still proud of the excellent foundation I was able to build at AWI. It’s all about listening and answering, folks. Repeat, repeat, repeat!"
I Ship It (CW), Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life (FOX), The Friendless Five (Fullscreen), The Manhattan Front

Check out Helen's latest!

Kristin in  Mitzi's Abortion .

Kristin in Mitzi's Abortion.

Kristin Sad

"AWI rekindled my love of theater and changed my life. I cherish my time at the Workshop and give Eliza, Katie and David many thanks for helping push me out the studio door I loved passing through into the acting life I now enjoy."

Avery, Molly, Eleanor and Oliver
and . . . 
Love, Loss and What I Wore (Gingy), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Martha), Rabbit Hole (Nat)

Kristin Sad blew away the house in our  Love, Loss and What I Wore

Michael (right)

Michael (right)

Michael Donato

"This is far more than an acting class. It is a lesson in who you are, and how to find and move your
emotions, and how to relate directly and honestly and effectively with others, and how to be fearless and focused when performing. Through David we learned transformative life skills which made us not just a more effective actors, but also a richer people. Do this!"

Entrepreneur : Innovative and successful businessman
Actor: multiple theatre and film roles
Check out Mike's Reel

Amanda Setton (right) with co-star Sara Michelle Geller

Amanda Setton (right) with co-star Sara Michelle Geller


Amanda Setton

"Eliza is a phenomenal teacher with a unique and special eye for the individual, catering the technique to each person. . . She creates a safe and trusting environment, allowing her students to take risks and make choices without second guessing their instincts.  My classmates and I were not individuals competing to be the best, but were a family, a troupe. Without the Actor’s Workshop, I would never have had the skills, confidence and experience to sign with an A-list talent agent and become a working actor.  I will always be grateful for the unique and impeccable training I have received from the Actor’s Workshop. It can never be rivaled.”

Actor: Gossip Girl, The Mindy Project, The Crazy Ones

Check out Amanda's full credits

Saskya (left) performing at Risley Theatre.

Saskya (left) performing at Risley Theatre.


Saskya van Nouhuys

"Being a student in the Actor's Workshop of Ithaca was a fantastic experience.  Every time I think of it, which is quite often, I feel lucky that I bumbled into something so challenging and enjoyable, that has had a lasting effect on my perception of people. In addition to learning how to act, which was entirely new to me, I learned to appreciate acting, and as a bonus, I also learned a lot about communication in general.  That knowledge is useful, and makes life more interesting."

Professor: Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
and . . . 
Actor: LA 8am (GGG), Knockers (Alma), Post-Its (She)

Sam's at  Let's Ruin It With Babies  premiere, a film in which he was the Cinematographer and Co-Star.

Sam's at Let's Ruin It With Babies premiere, a film in which he was the Cinematographer and Co-Star.


Sam Friedman

"As a filmmaker, I realized early on that I didn’t possess the tools to speak with my actors and help them reach the performances I wanted. The Actor's Workshop of Ithaca seemed like the perfect way to immerse myself in the craft, and get inside my talent’s heads. Not only did I walk away from Katie's class understanding what my actors needed, I learned to access my own self on a deeper level and found a new confidence and strength in myself as an artist and human. It gave me the tools to thrive both in front of the lens and behind it, and I know that any of my successes both on the page and in the director’s chair have come as a direct result of the years I spent at AWI."

Artist and Filmmaker: Katarina in the Snow, Let’s Ruin it With Babies

Sam's IMDB Page




Daniel Masciari

Daniel directing  Darryle Johnson (AWI Alum) in the proof of concept of his feature film, Stationed At Home

Daniel directing Darryle Johnson (AWI Alum) in the proof of concept of his feature film, Stationed At Home

"The last two years have been the most important years of my life. It is as if I have been magnetically drawn to Eliza’s class, as I cannot even conceive of what it would be like not to have been taught by Eliza. The training I have received at the Actor’s Workshop under Eliza has brought me to new heights in many areas, especially in the realm of filmmaking. I had the privilege of writing and directing my first, completely funded, short film in the summer of 2014, in which Eliza and other actors from the workshop performed. I owe this success and other personal successes to my acting training, as Eliza has trained me to be an expert communicator and a creatively spontaneous person."

Filmmaker, Actor, Film Editor:
Multiple editing and directing credits and awards
Youngest Filmmaker to win the Smithsonians highest award for editing and directing
Named by Variety as one of the nations top 120 emerging filmmakers to watch
Currently in Pre-Production for his first feature, Stationed At Home

Deirdre (Martin) Levine

Dee performing in "Mitzi's Abortion."

Dee performing in "Mitzi's Abortion."

"It’s hard to say anything about AWI without crossing over the line into hyperbole, but I’m going to do it anyway. I write fiction for a living, and I doubt I would have made the New York Times Bestsellers list without AWI. Studying with Katie put me in touch with my emotions; my writing became sharper, my characters more real. 

The Workshop changed my writing. The Workshop changed my life. . . . It was the first time I felt truly truly alive. . . .

I wouldn’t change one second of my experience with AWI. In the end, it’s fun, magic, and mystery all rolled into one! If time allowed, I’d keep taking classes over and over. Take a Class! All you have to do is step over that threshhold once and I promise you, exhilaration awaits.

Bestselling Fiction Author: Body Check, Ice Breaker, Fair Play
Actor: Mitzi's Abortion (multiple leading roles)

Dee is a New York Times Best Selling Author.. and AWI alum! 

Masa on set.

Masa on set.

Masa Gibson

"The Meisner technique is addictive.  In the same way that learning how to read gives one access to whole new parts of the world, learning the Meisner technique gave me access to parts of myself that I didn't know existed.  After only one semester at the Actor's Workshop I felt as though I had acquired a new superpower."

Speech scientist: Phd, Linguistics, Cornell University
Actor, FilmmakerDouble Word (2014) - writer, director; screened at Action On Film International Film Festival, awarded Award of Merit at IndieFest Film Awards, Standing Stones (in post-production) - writer, director, actor
Learn more about Masa's latest artistic endeavors here.

Dick (right) on set.

Dick (right) on set.

Dick Furnas

"It has been the better part of a decade since I first crossed the threshold into the magical place that is the Studio of The Actor's Workshop of Ithaca. I was transformed by the six semesters of the program. Professionally, my teaching style became more supportive, empathetic and interactive. Personally, I discovered a self capable of emotions I never knew before. I made new friends. I discovered an avocation and engagement with theater and film. I now serve on the Board of Directors of Running to Places Theatre Company. I have performed in Ithaca College Student Films in which I have explored characters as various as God, Mafia Don, Priest, Father-Athletic Coach, Janitor, Alcoholic and Cadaver."

Professor: Cornell University Math Department
Actor: Multiple Film and Stage Roles

Dick Furnas... Cornell math professor and since AWI... film actor! Check out his IMDB page.

To keep up with the day to day adventures of the AWI community, please visit our Facebook page or visit our What's Happening page.