Creative Team

Core Staff

Terri Steinmann – Founder & Artistic Director
Terri founded WEST Creative Performing Arts (formerly West End Studio Theatre) in 2007. Prior to that she was the Education Director of Pisces Moon Educational Theatre in Santa Cruz and has been a SPECTRA Artist since 2005. She has created original curricula including Fresh Paint Literacy Programs, Page To Stage, and WEST Ensemble Players.  Prior to Santa Cruz, she worked as a Managing Director of the Mizel Family Cultural Arts Center and was a Teaching Artist at the Tony-award winning Denver Center Theatre Company as well as a freelance Teaching Artist and Director in Colorado, California, Massachusetts and Canada. Terri is on the Board of Directors of the Santa Cruz Art League. She holds a BA in Theatre from University of Colorado and is pursuing a certificate in Non-profit Management and Sustainability from Harvard University.

Hunter Wallraff – Teaching Artist/Scenic Painter & Director of Improv Programs
Hunter Wallraff began working with WEST as a scenic painter at age 16. After earning his BA in Fine Art at University of California Santa Barbara, Hunter returned to Santa Cruz and re-joined WEST as a Teaching Artist. Hunter also spearheads the scenic painting and specialty props creation. His work has been seen in most WEST classes and productions. Hunter directs the WEST house Improv Troupe, Murphy’s Law and former troupes, Dummyhead and Dinosaur Prom.  As a Lead Teaching Artist, Hunter works in WEST Academy classes in our studios, in the WEST after school programs at various school sites, and in school residencies throughout Santa Cruz County. He has directed Jungle Book and Robin Hood at the Montalvo Center for the Arts.

Fiona Murphy – Teaching Artist/Administrative & Facility Support
Fiona Murphy began her WEST career at the tender age of 8, playing Ladybug in “James and the Giant Peach”. Since then, Fiona has explored everything theatre has to offer: technical theater, costume design, theater history, acting theory, and directing. Her favorite theatrical pursuit is building confidence and fostering a love for theatre in young actors. Fiona holds a BA in English Literature from University of California Santa Cruz, specializing in the works of William Shakespeare. A keen organizer, Fiona also acts as administrative support for the WEST programs and as Facilities Coordinator for the Broadway Playhouse. Currently Fiona is a Teaching Artist in the WEST Academy classes in our studios, in the WEST after school programs at various school sites and she facilitates the planning and implementation of the WEST Holiday Break Camps throughout the year.

Margot Hoffman – Associate Teaching Artist
Margot Hoffman has always loved theatre, and made her stage debut at 8 years old as Centipede  in  “James and the Giant Peach” with the aforementioned Ladybug. Margot is an International Thespian of the CA Thespian society and a Presidential Scholar of the Arts. She has performed at the Broadway Playhouse, on Cabrillo Stage, with the Shakespeare Theatre Company and in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Margot currently studies Theater Arts and Community Studies at University of California, Santa Cruz. Margot is a Board Member of the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County and an intern with the William James Foundation who specializes in bringing art classes into prison systems.  Margot loves teaching at WEST, watching her students gain confidence, shape communication skills and find a way to express themselves. Her dedicated support is found in our WEST Academy classes in our studios, the WEST after school programs at various school sites, and in school residencies as well as in the WEST Holiday Break Camps.

Delilah Steinmann – Teaching Associate & Media Production
Delilah Steinmann has been on a stage since she was three years old and has lost count of how many productions she has performed with WEST. She is an alumna of WEST Improv Dummyhead Improv and the West Ensemble Players, and is a current member of Spot On Improv. Delilah has participated in 5 years of conservatory study, and studied under conservatory mentors such as Ailin Conant, John Pasha, and Salvador Benavides. Currently Delilah is pursuing a degree in Children’s Developmental Psychology, and is a student at Cabrillo College. Her support is found in our WEST Academy classes in our studios, the WEST after school programs at various school sites, and in the WEST Holiday Break Camps.

David Steinmann – Co-Founder/ Facilities Director
David Steinmann has been the Facilities Director of WEST Creative Performing Arts since its founding in 2007. He has managed all WEST locations across the county, renovated old theaters, transformed empty spaces into new theaters, and built outdoor stages for WEST student productions every summer. David has helped  trained up-and-coming theatre artists in technical theater, set building and construction, box office management and ticket sales through the WEST Backstage Pass Technical Theatre program.

Guest Artists

Saki – Santa Cruz, CA   Forte: Creative Movement & Circus Skills
Saki was instrumental in conceiving the idea of WEST, co-creating the WEST programs and literally helping build every WEST venue. She performed in WEST production, “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Monkey King”. After earning her BFA in Modern Dance she quickly ran away to join the circus with the New Pickle Circus and Starstuff Productions directed by Tandy Beal.  As a performer and dance educator in mathdance with the Dr. Shaffer & Mr. Stern Dance Company she has toured various countries such as Korea and Hungary and many states from Maine to Hawaii.  Saki has also taught dance and choreography for Mount Madonna School since 2007.  Currently she is Tandy Beal & Co.’s Art Smart Director and a long time member of the Santa Cruz Art Council’s Artist/Teacher Partnership program and SPECTRA teaching artist in the schools.

John Pasha – Brooklyn, NY  Forte: Shakespeare, Classical Text

Ailin Conant – London, England     Forte: Devising, Lecoq Physical Theatre

Salvador Benavides- Los Angeles, CA      Forte: Theatre for Social Justice, Vaudeville, Commedia

Support Staff & Interns

Sam Sterbenz – Summer Teaching Associate  Forte: Improvisation, Comedy 
WEST alum Sam Sterbenz lives in Chicago where he studies comedy writing and performance. Sam performs improv and standup comedy at the Annoyance Theatre, Stage 773, CIC Theatre, the Mckaw Theatre, the Comedy Clubhouse and the Playground Theater. Currently he is a member Ladies Lunch, and Whine Night, coached John Hildreth of Second City.

Zach Kumaishi – Summer Teaching Associate  Forte: Stage Combat. Movement
Zach has been with WEST since the tender age of 7, when he played the role of Kreacher in “Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince”. He has been involved with WEST ever since, and started instructing in the winter of 2015. Zach is an alumnus of the WEST Conservatory program, including Shakespeare and physical theatre studies.  He currently studies Theatre Arts at UCLA.

Hanna Haase – Summer Teaching Associate Forte: Costume Design 
Hanna Haase returns for her 5th consecutive summer with WEST! Her theatre arts experience with WEST began at age 7 in the “The Witches”, after which she quickly discovered a passion for all things behind-the-scenes. She is a costume designer and a talented seamstress, and loves to bring fun and creativity to the WEST stage, in the form of Hogwarts robes, monster puppets, transformative stage makeup, and everything in between. Hanna studies Arts Education at Northern Arizona University.