As the founding members of American Coast Theater Company in collaboration with Vanguard University, we are committed to producing professional theatre with artistic excellence and high production value.
We are also committed to producing works that may inspire hope or self-reflection through the eyes of the characters that struggle with their own humanity. We believe in stories that offer the possibility of enlightenment which can be life changing. Our goal is to produce works from the American and international dramatic canon. We will also nurture the development of new American playwrights.
We are deeply rooted in the artistic traditions of theatre, and believe in the examination of the human condition as well as the potential for personal and social redemption revealed through thought- provoking story telling.
Susan K. Berkompas Producing Artistic Director / Founder
Susan has been a producing artistic director since 1998 and is the Department Chair of the Vanguard University theatre arts program. She received her B.F.A. in acting/directing from the University of Montana and her M.F.A. in acting/directing from the California Repertory Company. She has studied Shakespeare in Oxford with the British American Drama Academy where she worked with renowned Shakespeare teacher and scholar, Sir John Barton.
Susan is an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and a member of SAG/AFTRA. She is the recipient of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival “Excellence in Education” award and the Gold Medallion Award, and she is also an alumnus of Directors Lab West.
She has directed plays such as: The Glass Menagerie; Othello (The Daily Pilot’s top college pick for 2006); The Boys Next Door; Macbeth; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Charley’s Aunt; Pump Boys and Dinettes; Bullshot Crummond and The Hiding Place. Her favorite roles are: Blanche (A Streetcar Named Desire); Katherine ( Boomers ); Dixie (Enlightenment.com); Katherine (The Taming of the Shrew); Kate Keller (All My Sons).
Paul Eggington Scenic Designer / Ensemble / Founding Member
Paul is a former Ensemble member of Lamb’s Players Theatre in San Diego and the Colony in L.A. He has performed for over 30 years on stages internationally, off-Broadway, in film and on television. He has also done much voice-over work during the past several years.
Paul’s credits include The Rivals with Marion Ross and Too True To Be Good with Kelsey Grammar. He recently played Nigel Harrison in the upcoming TV series Fashion House as well as the role of Iago on the Lyceum Stage for Vanguard University. Paul is a full-time staff/faculty member at Vanguard University in the Theater Arts Department where he is also the scenic designer and technical director.
Vanda Eggington Director / Founding Member
Vanda was on staff at Lamb’s Players Theatre in San Diego for the past 25 years as a performer and the resident Musical Director. She has written numerous arrangements and original compositions for a variety of productions. She is co-creator of the critically acclaimed hit shows Boomers and American Rhythm, and sole creator of Love Makes the World Go ‘Round; The Beat Goes On and Home for the Holidays.
She has directed The Secret Garden; She Loves Me; Godspell; Tintypes; Hairspray; Legally Blonde the Musical and Cotton Patch Gospel; and has performed in Boomers; Smoke on the Mountain and Godspell.
Vanda is a graduate of California Lutheran University and the Sherwood Music Academy. She is also an adjunct professor at Vanguard University where she directs and teaches musical theatre courses.
Lia M. Hansen Costume Designer
Lia Hansen has been active in the Orange County theatre scene for over 20 years. She has designed operas, musicals, and straight plays for such local venues as the Newport Theatre Arts Center, the Harlequin Dinner Theater, Orange Coast College, Golden West College, Vanguard University, and consulted for other educational institutions.
Lia received her M.F.A. from San Diego State University. She has designed for the Old Towne Opera House in San Diego and assisted in preparing the costume exhibit “An Elegant Art” at LACMA. Lia’s most recent designs have been seen on the Lyceum Stage including: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; The Glass Menagerie; Othello; Saint Joan; Side By Side By Sondheim; Macbeth; Three Sisters and Into The Woods to name a few.
Deborah Marley Stage Combat and Ensemble
Deborah is a classically trained actor, director, and choreographer. Acting credits include her role is Boys Chase Girls as Karen, Viola in Twelfth Night, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Raina in Arms and the Man, Sabrina in Skin of Our Teeth, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Eunice in A Streetcar Named Desire, Betsie ten Boom in The Hiding Place, Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew and Sue Bayliss in All My Sons. Deb has also written a book titled ‘The Bard in Brief’ on teaching and directing Shakespeare.
Warren Doody Playwright
Warren is Professor of English at Vanguard University, where he has taught for the last sixteen years. The writer of numerous plays, screenplays, and short stories, he has won multiple awards for his work. Life Without Parole premiered at Vanguard University in 2008, and the production was selected as a showcase for the KCACTF Region VIII festival. In 2014, the play made its New York City debut at Manhattan Repertory Theater and as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. Other recent productions include the West Coast premieres of Enlightenment.com at American Coast Theatre Company and Development at Vanguard University.
Individuals interested in being considered for future ACTC productions should submit their theatrical resume and photographic headshot, via U.S. Mail to:
Susan K. Berkompas, Producing Artistic Director
American Coast Theater Company
55 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
No digital submissions will be accepted.
The ACTC internship program offers an exciting opportunity for undergraduate students to gain professional experience by working side-by-side with administrators, equity artists, and professional designers.
Interns undertake a variety of projects, which provide a challenging educational experience for them, while meeting the needs of the company. Intern assignments are awarded based upon the qualifications and interest of the applicant, as well as the specific needs of each production. ACTC directors and managers provide focused professional supervision and experience to each intern assigned to their areas. Duties for the intern include production support and teaching workshops with the American Coast Children’s Theatre.
Typically, internships are available in the following areas:
Stage Management, Front of House Operations (Box Office & Marketing), Scenery, Costuming, Audio, and Lighting.
ACTC offers internships during the summer months, typically from mid May to mid August. Students applying for the program are required to be registered for credit with Vanguard University. Internship positions have dorm room housing available.
Continuing Vanguard University students should contact Internship Professor, David Pecoraro firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1 for each summer season to schedule an interview.
For students who do not attend Vanguard University:
Please mail the following to Internship Professor, David Pecoraro email@example.com by April 1 for each summer season.
Applicants should submit: Internship application form , cover letter, technical skills sheet (if design, tech. or stage management, , and a current resume.
Course Description – THEA 450C: Theatre Internship (1-2 units)
Prerequisite: This must be arranged the previous semester and must be approved by the student’s advisor. The student is to serve a minimum 150-hour internship with one of our approved professional theaters. Freshmen may not take this course.
Vanguard University Theatre Arts Program
You have referred to us as your “hidden entertainment treasure.” Now look for other opportunities to be entertained by our new Cabaret Ensemble – an outreach musical performance group; and by our new improvisational comedy team, Popular Demand, which performs monthly to keep a regular dose of laughter on tap.
We also welcome you to get intimately acquainted with our theatre program here at VU. Please stay after a designated show for one of our Open Forum discussions to get a behind-the-scenes view of the production. And also join us at the end of the season for our Senior Showcase where you will see the final projects of the graduating seniors whom you have come to know over the years.
VU is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre, and several of our productions have been invited to be presented at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Many of our graduates have been accepted to elite, professional M.F.A. programs across the country including UC Los Angeles, UC Irvine, Rutgers, University of Illinois; and to conservatories such as American Conservatory Theatre, Royal Scottish Drama Academy, and Boston Conservatory.