About Me

Founded and served as Artistic Associate of Novel Stages and Arcadia Shakespeare Festival in Philadelphia and Ark Theatre in Los Angeles. Novel and Ark developed new plays through literature and inter-disciplinary collaborations and produced innovative productions of classic plays. Novel’s 19 world premieres included plays adapted from Nadine Gordimer, Emile Zola, William Faulkner and Kurt Vonnegut and original plays by Chaim Potok and Townsend. Her play Marks in the Water, about painter Thomas Eakins, christened Ark. She has worked both as actor and as director for several regional theaters as well as acted in Television and Film. Plays she has directed at Manhattanville include: Taming of the Shrew, Pericles, Romeo and Juliet, Tartuffe, Our Town, All’s Well That Ends Well and The Tempest. Clista teaches Acting, Voice and Speech, Directing and Playing Shakespeare with Manhattanville College’s Division of Fine and Performing Arts and Designing for Change with Manhattanville’s Center for Design Thinking. She works in Narrative Design and Character Development with White Horse Immersive and is a Senior Member of International Acting Instructors Committee for Beijing Center for Exploration of Western Acting.  Clista holds an M.F.A. in Acting, Southern Methodist University, Further training with Jacques Lecoq, Carlo Massone-Clementi, and Philippe Gaulier in Commedia, Clown, Mask and Physical Theatre techniques.

Professional History
CONSULTING FACULTY, Acting
2015-2020
The Beijing Center for Exploration of Western Acting Art
ADJUNCT FACULTY, Film Acting
2016-2017
New York Film Academy
ADJUNCT FACULTY, Theatre Arts
2006-2016
Theatre Department, Hunter College
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, Theatre Arts
1999-2003
Arcadia University
ADJUNCT FACULTY, Acting
1991-2002
University of the Arts
ASSISTANT CREATIVE DIRECTOR
2015-2015
ITW International Theater Works and Evergrande Group - Ocean Flower
DIRECTOR, Shakespeare Institute
2007-2015
E G Conservatory of the Arts
CO-DIRECTOR Shakespeare Youth Program
2004-2007
College of Liberal Studies, SUNY Purchase
CO-FOUNDER ARTISTIC ASSOCIATE
2002-2003
Arcadia Shakespeare Festival
CO-FOUNDER ARTISTIC ASSOCIATE
1999-2015
Ark Theater
CO-FOUNDER
1988-1997
Novel Stages Theatre Company
DIRECTOR, Theatre Program
1999-2000
THEATRE ARTS and ENGLISH PROGRAM, Arcadia University
Education
Acting - Theatre Arts, Master of Arts, Southern Methodist University
Drama and Speech, Bachelor of Arts, California State University, Sacramento
California State University, Humboldt
Awards & Grants
  1. GRANTS:

  2. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT GRANT, 2001 Arcadia University to participate in courses titled Design and Function, Mask Making and Using, Greek Tragedy

  3. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT GRANT, 1999 from University of the Arts to participate in the International Michael Chekhov Conference

  4. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT GRANT, 1998 from Arcadia Univ to participate in a three week master course in Theater and Mask Work: Exploring The Dynamics Of The Four Temperaments

  5. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT GRANT, 1998 from University of the Arts to participate in master course with Philippe Gaulier (world renowned clown and star teacher at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris)

  6. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT GRANT, 1996 from Arcadia University to participate in master course in Commedia dell ‘Arte at Dell Arte School of Movement Theatre with Carlo Mazzone-Clementi, Joan Shirle and Julie Goell

    • *  The William Penn Foundation

    • *  Pew Foundation

    • *  ARCO

    • *  Rittenhouse Foundation

    • *  Pennsylvania State Arts Council

    • *  Philadelphia Cultural Fund

    • *  Tuttleman Foundation

  7. FACULTY DEVELOPMENT GRANT, 1994 from University of the Arts to participate in master course with Jacques Lecoq Topics included: the language of gesture, the presence of the clown, space and time, the balance of the acting area, Neutral Masks, Expressive Masks and the masks of the Commedia dell'Arte.

    ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT GRANT FROM AT&T FOUNDATION 1993
    $20,000 for production costs on original play, Marks In The Water, Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia.

    Other Grants Developed for Productions at Novel Stages Include:

  8. HONORS

    • Artistic Achievement Grant From AT&T Foundation, 1993
      For Original Play, Marks In The Water, Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia

    • Augur Meadows Fellowship Meadows School of the Arts, S.M.U. 82-85

    • Artistic Merit Award, Utah Shakespearean Festival, 1983

    • Finalist, American College Theatre Festival, Outstanding Performance in Leading Role, 1974