Actors on stage

Theatre Arts


Tom Gough — Faculty & Department Co-Chair

BA-Theatre Arts, Santa Clara University
Secondary Education Credential--History/Drama, Santa Clara University
MFA--Dramatic Arts, UC-Davis

Tom GoughTom Gough, a Los Altos native, has been a member of the Foothill College Theatre Arts faculty since 1996 (adjunct 1996-2004, full-time 2004-present) as well as having taught at UC-Davis, Santa Clara University and Ohlone College. He serves as coordinating chair of the department and teaches classes in acting, voice, movement, dialects, dramatic literature as well directs some of the department productions.

Gough has been notably active with companies throughout Northern California since 1981, participating in well over one hundred production as both actor and director. In addition, he is a founding and active member of ComedySportz-San Jose and the former artistic director of the City Lights Theatre Company in San Jose.

Contact:  – 650.949.7130


Milissa Carey — Faculty

Milissa Carey

Milissa Carey joined the faculty of Foothill in 2003 in both the theatre and music departments.  Milissa teaches Acting, Singing for the Actor, Musical Theatre Repertoire, History of the American Musical and is a member of the team taught Multi-Cultural Music in America team.  At Foothill, she directed productions of The Sound of MusicShrek, The Musical, South Pacific, She Loves Me, Sunday in The Park With George, Forum, Spring Awakening, Little Shop of Horrors, All Shook Up and Working.  Other directing credits in the Bay Area include work with companies like the A.C.T MFA Program, Broadway By The Bay, Los Altos Stage Company, California Conservatory Theatre and Opera Academy of the West.  Milissa is also on the faculty of the American Conservatory Theatre’s MFA program and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Milissa is a member of Actors Equity Association and has performed with many Bay Area companies, including Center Repertory Theatre, Theatreworks, American Musical Theatre of San Jose, Centralworks, Pacific Alliance Stage Company, Thick Description, 42nd Street Moon and Foothill’s own Foothill Music Theatre.  She toured the US and Canada on the 25th Anniversary Broadway National Tour of Evita under the direction of Hal Prince.  Her training includes a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Master of Music from the University of Southern California, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Contact: - 650.949.7582

Leigh Henderson — Faculty & Department Co-Chair


LeighLeigh Henderson has worked as a theater designer, technician, manager, educator, and scholar for over 30 years. Most recently, she served as Managing Director of Teatro Visión, San José’s Chicanx/Latinx theater company, from 2016 to 2022. During her tenure, the organization more than doubled its annual programming and audiences, created multiple new works through participatory processes involving hundreds of community members, and created unique events and experiences to engage numerous groups within its community, including seniors, college students, girl scouts, LGBTQ+ individuals and allies, and foster families. Her career also includes teaching at San José City College, serving as Managing Director for the Mexican Heritage Corporation, working as Company and Production Manager and Resident Designer at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater, and consulting and grant writing for numerous non-profit performing arts organizations throughout California and beyond. Leigh’s work as a scenic, lighting, and projections designer has been seen on stages throughout the Bay Area, Wisconsin, Colorado, New York City, and at the prestigious Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space. She holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA in Arts Administration and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Theater Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. You can learn more about Leigh's theater work on her professional website


Adjunct Part-Time Faculty

Michele Apriña Leavy


Michele is a professional actor and arts educator. Originally from the San Francisco bay area, she has performed locally with such companies as the American Conservatory Theater, Alameda Civic Ballet, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Repertory Company, California Conservatory Theater, Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Marin Theatre Company, and TheatreWorks, among others. In farther locales, she has appeared with Theatre Key West (Florida), The Elephant Theatre Company (Los Angeles) and Theatre167 (New York City).

As a choreographer she has collaborated with various companies around the bay and beyond.

Her teaching credits include institutions throughout the bay area, such as the American Conservatory Theatre’s Young Conservatory program and the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre. She is a continuing Lecturer in the UC Davis Department of Theater and Dance, and also happily teaches for Foothill College. She has also served as an Assistant Professor and Director with Cañada College in their Theater Arts Department.

Michele is a Resident Artist with the acclaimed San Francisco based ensemble company Crowded Fire Theater and serves on their Literary Committee. She holds a BA in Drama from UC San Diego and earned her MFA from the Professional Actor Training Program at UC Davis. Michele is also a Steering Committee Member of the national organization, the Latinx Theater Commons.


Contact -

Julie Engelbrecht

Julie EJulie, Costume and Scenic Designer, has been designing for the theatre for over 35 years. She earned her BA from the University of California, Davis and her MFA from The Ohio State University. Her work has been seen on stages coast to coast including costume and set designs for the Folger Consort in Washington D.C., TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Opera San José and many colleges and universities. She is the production designer for Guggenheim Entertainment’s, The Retro Dome and San José Playhouse including the first fully staged production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! In SF and the original musical, The MeshugaNutcracker! which is available on Broadway HD. Julie was honored with Best Costume Design for the Retro Dome’s Thanks for Playing...The Game Show Show! and The MeshugaNutcracker! by along with garnering several local awards. She is a Silicon Valley Artist Laureate. Julie teaches introductory to advanced level design courses for Costume and Scenery, History and Design Styles, Make-up & Wig Design, Costume Construction, Scenic Painting and Props Construction. She has been a guest artist at UC Davis and Stanford and taught at Mount Holyoke College, UCSC, UNLV, Stanford, West Valley College and currently teaches at Foothill College. She free lances as a costume and scenic designer and continues to work as a Draper/Tailor having recently worked with Tony award winning Costume Designer, Ann Hould-Ward, on the world premiere of The Prince of Egypt. Her work can be seen at her website

Liz Stimson

BA - Theatre Arts San Jose State University

MFA - Acting University of Iowa


Liz S

Liz is a Bay Area native and joined the Foothill Theatre Arts faculty in fall 2021. At Foothill she teaches classes in Acting, Film/TV acting and Intro to Voice-Over. She also teaches at De Anza and has taught at West Valley and the University of Iowa. Additional courses taught include Appreciation of Theatre, Voice for the Actor, and Theatre History. Liz is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and has performed with San Jose Stage Company and Marin Theatre Company. Other credits include Anne Bogart’s SITI Company (Lincoln Center), Miranda Theatre, International WOW Compnay, Iowa Rep, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. She toured throughout the US and Canada with the Missoula Children’s Theatre as a performer and director. Her commercial and voice-over work includes NPR, Toyota, and Sony Play Station Two.

Contact -  - 650.949.7899

Joshua Waterstone

BA- Theatre Arts University of GeorgiaMFA- Directing for Stage and Screen, The Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Waterstone Joshua (he/him) works in theatre and film as a director, performer, producer, fight choreographer, film maker and educator. In the Bay Area Joshua was an ensemble member with foolsFURY and Ragged Wing Ensemble and has worked with PlayGround, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, New Century Symphony, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Cal Shakes, Fuse Theater, Dragon Theatre and San Francisco Youth Theatre.  Joshua is on the board and is a Digital Artist with the International Theatre Company and Podcast The Theatre of Others. He is on staff with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival and the Yat/Bentley Centre for Performance. Joshua has taught with Guilford College, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was the Program Leader for the Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre at Guilford Technical College where he brokered a joint enrollment with the University of Greensboro Theatre program and helped create the state wide standards for AA to BA and BFA’s in N.C. Joshua has also worked with Georgia Shakespeare, Fly By Theatre, Essential Theatre, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre, Georgia Mountain Theatre, Push-Push Theatre and Film, Jewish Theatre of the South, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, PlayMakers and The Alliance Theatre. Combatant.

Contact: -

Retired Emeritus Faculty


Janis Bergmann

B.A - Theatre Arts, University of California Los Angeles
M.A - Theatre Arts, San Jose State University

Janis BergmanJanis was the Director of Foothill College's Theatre Conservatory, which she co-founded in 1990. She was  a faculty member and resident costume designer at Foothill since 1982, winning numerous Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle Awards and Dean Goodman Choice Awards for her work. She taught classes in Acting (Stage and Camera), Auditioning (Stage and Camera), Theatrical Makeup, Directing, Voice, and Costume Design and Construction. She has directed and produced numerous plays at Foothill and ran the Brown Bag performance group, the Foothill Players. She has acted, directed, designed and taught throughout the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and was formerly   also a faculty member at Seydways Acting Studio in San Francisco.

As an actress she is a member of the Actor's Equity Association and has extensive credits in stage, television, film and voice-over work. Some of her local theatre credits include performances at San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, TheatreWorks, Busbarn Stage Company and Playhouse West, where she performed a one-woman show, as well as two other plays for which she received Dean Goodman Choice Awards.


Bruce McLeod, Theatre Technology Program

Bruce Mcleod

Bruce McLeod joined the Theatre Arts department in 2007 for the opening of the Lohman theatre. He was the Director of the Theatre Technology Program and served as the department's Production Manager and Technical Director before retiring in 2023. Previously he worked professionally as a stage manager for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was the first technical director and production manager for TheatreWorks, where he oversaw site-specific productions of Cabaret (downtown Palo Alto Fire Station), Macbeth (Baylands Nature Center) and Everyman (various churches), among many others.

He has a long career as a designer in the Bay Area, including work with Center Rep, West Bay Opera, Magic Theatre, Eureka Theatre and TheatreWorks. Favorites among his many designs include scenery for three productions of As You Like It, The Great White Hope, Rags (Bay Area Theatre Critics Award), Romeo and Juliet, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Someone To Watch Over Me, Rashoman and Marry Me a Little (Theatre Bay Area nomination). Lighting designs include The Elephant Man, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Oliver and Peter Pan.

He has been a guest lecturer and designer at Colorado College and is the founder of Living Design, a residential design firm serving  the Peninsula. At Foothill, in addition to his teaching duties, he has served on the Academic Senate, the Academic Council,  the Graduation Committee and is currently serving on the Community and Communications Governance Committee.  For the Theatre Arts department his designs include scenery for Adding Machine, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Winter’s Tale, and Working and lighting for All Shook Up. At Foothill he has directed critically acclaimed productions ofRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Angels in America, Our Town, It Can't Happen Here, and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.  He is the producer for the Culture Clatter series of original  short plays written by and for communities of color in the Bay Area.

Contact: Bruce McLeod



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