Chris Fields, Artistic Director

Chris Fields is a director, actor, teacher, and producer.

As an actor, he has appeared on Broadway in James Duff’s Homefront with Carroll O’Connor and Frances Sternhagen directed by Sir Michael Attenborough, off Broadway in Gary Sinise’s original Steppenwolf production of Orphans, Michael Greif’s Machinal at both Naked Angels and The Public and the world premiere of David Ives’ Words Words Words at The Manhattan Punchline, to name just a few. Regionally, he’s worked at The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, The Philadelphia Drama Guild, The Rep Theatre of St. Louis, The Missouri Repertory Theatre and was a proud member of the acting ensemble for Lloyd Richards at The Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. On film: Alien3, The Game, Fight Club and Zodiac for David Fincher as well as Jurassic Park, Apollo 13 and Stargate among others. He’s also appeared in numerous hour, half-hour, mini-series and mow’s on television.

In 1995, he founded the Ojai Playwrights Conference serving as Artistic Director until 2000. While there, he was responsible for bringing David Lindsay-Abaire and Adam Rapp to Southern California as well as workshopping Betty’s Summer Vacation by Christopher Durang and David Ives’ Polish Joke, among many others.

He founded The Echo Theater Company in Los Angeles in 1996 and, to date, as Artistic Director, he’s produced over a hundred plays. All of them premieres. Along the way, they have been nominated for and won numerous Ovation, LA Weekly, LADCC, Stage Raw and Scenie awards, Most recently, he directed the critically acclaimed Handjob by Erik Patterson as well as producing Poor Clare by Chiara Atik. He has won the LADCC Award for direction for Tommy Smith’s Firemen the LA Weekly Award for Gary Lennon’s A Family Thing and the Stage Raw for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Gloria.

He began teaching as an Adjunct Professor at SUNY Purchase in 1989 and since then has maintained a private studio in New York and Los Angeles. Over the years, his students have included Peter Facinelli, Danny Strong, Dave Giuntoli, Zach Quinto, Christine Estabrook, Kirk Acevedo, Emily Bergyl, Sprague Grayden, Mitch Pileggi, Sarah Carter, Emily Rose, Michael Learned, Ethan Embry, Sarah Jane Morris, Meghan Ory, Grant Shaud and Scott Wolf, to name a few.


Alana Dietze, Associate Artistic Director

Alana Dietze is an LA-based director, actor and Associate Artistic Director of the Echo Theater Company. KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes said “Ms. Dietze has directed a string of plays at the Echo, including Dry Land and A Small Fire, that have provided tender, poignant and fierce windows on the female experience. If you don’t know her work, you should.”   Some of this work with the Echo includes the world premiere of Poor Clare (indefinitely delayed due to Covid-19), The Wolves (LADCC Winner for Ensemble, Ovation Nominations for Production, Direction and Ensemble, LA Times Critic’s Pick, Stage Raw Nominations for Director, Production, Ensemble and Supporting Female Performance), Dry Land (Ovation Winner for Best Production – Intimate Theater, nomination for Leading Actress, 4 Stage Raw Nominations including Director and Production and 1 LADCC Nomination).  Dry Land was subsequently remounted at the Kirk Douglas Theatre as part of Center Theater Group’s inaugural Block Party program (7 Ovation nominations including Best Director and Best Production – Large Theater). Other directing work includes The Found Dog Ribbon Dance (part of the Echo’s 2017 Ovation nomination for Best Season), A Small Fire (4 Ovation nominations,1 LADCC nomination, 2 Stage Raw nominations), Ripe Frenzy (NNPN Rolling World Premiere for Greenway Ct. Theater – LA Times Critic’s Pick), as well as numerous workshops, short plays and readings for EST/LA, Occidental College, Moving Arts, Public Assembly, Antaeus and more. She has also served as a Dramaturg for CTG’s L.A. Writers Workshop Festival. Some of her recent and favorite work as an actor includes The Recital (Monkspace), Charlotte Stay Close (EST/LA), Gloria (Stage Raw Winner – Comedy Ensemble, Echo), An Undivided Heart (Echo), Fugue (Echo), Everything Will Be Different (Ovation nominations for Leading Actress, Ensemble, Production, Echo), The Red Letter Plays (Illyrian Players), The Devil’s Wife (Skylight), and The Hillary Game (Padua Playwrights). She holds a BA in Theater from Occidental College.

Ahmed Best, Associate Artistic Director

MFA: American Film Institute, Manhattan School of Music percussion and composition, First Degree Black Belt Machado Brazilian, Jiu Jitsu, Guro Filipino Escrima. Theatre: Backyard (Ovation Award, Fight choreography. Echo Theatre Co.) Bob a life in Five Acts (Echo Theatre Co.) Buzzy Grosvenor’s Ding Dong, Jack, Uncle Toms Cabin (Sacred Fools Theatre Co.) Stomp ( NYC, London, International tour) Film: Star Wars Episode I, II III (Director: George Lucas) Mother and Child (Director: Rodrigo Garcia), FDR American Bad Ass (Director Garrett Braithwaite), Poolboy (Director Garrett Braithwaite) and some Guy Who Kills People (Director: Jack Perez).ANNIE award winner Best Actor in an Animated Series for Robot Chicken. He recurs and guest stars on television shows Robot Chicken, Star Wars The Clone Wars, and Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush. Ahmed has produced, executive produced and or Directed projects, The Chronicles (GLAAD award winner for Best Anthology series) web series Bandwagon, This Can’t Be My Life, and the Sci-fi comedy The Nebula,videos for, commercials for The Body Factory.

Andrew Shafer, Director of New Programs

Andrew Shafer received his B.A. (cum laude) from UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He has been supporting theatre artists, and helping produce new work for over fifteen years. Previous experience includes being the marketing director for the Los Angeles Theater Center, where he also developed and produced new work. He is now the Producing Director of The Young Actor’s Studio. At the Young Actor’s Studio, Andrew has developed the New Works Lab which has led to several award winning plays by young artists. He also serves as director of new programs with the Echo Theater Company where he has instituted the National Young Playwrights in Residence, and the Los Angeles Young Playwrights program. This program provides a year long mentorship to six playwrights from across the country who are subsequently flown out to Los Angeles for rehearsals/public readings of their work. Other select producing credits of include: Sheila Vand’s A Portrait of the Architect in Ruins (Los Angeles Theater Center), Ryan Scott Oliver’s Making Beautiful (Powerhouse Theater), Medea at The Fowler Amphitheater, Eugene Ionesco’s Exit The King (A Theatre Connection), Brett Neveu’s Detective/Partner/Hero/Villain (SkyPilot Theater), and This is Banned (NoHo Actor’s Studio).

Gideon Jeph Wabvuta, Literary Manager

Gideon Jeph Wabvuta is a  Zimbabwean writer, solo actor and teaching artist based in Los Angeles. He is a 2019 graduate of the University of Southern California MFA Dramatic Writing program. His work as a writer includes FamilyRiots, Master’s Shoe, and his solo show Mbare Dreams amongst others.He has taught writing in the US, UK, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many others. His work in theater has also included stints as a program’s director and as a play reader. He also works as a consultant, and researcher for tv shows in development. Gideon’s  artistic goal is to create works of art that will reclaim and reframe the African narrative on the world stage.

Michael Sturgis, Literary Manager

Echo: Francis in Poor Clare; Dean/Devin in Gloria; Father Keenan in An Undivided Heart; Jack in Blueberry Toast. Other: HERO Theatre company member; additional work with A Noise Within, Pasadena Playhouse, Theatre of NOTE, Classical Theatre Lab, and Play On! with Oregon Shakespeare. Weekly show at UCB with improv troupe Crumbs. USC (BA Theatre): John Ritter Award for Comedic Performance. Web series: Dick Hopper on Amazon; Janny Jelly. TV: Room 104 (HBO).

Elana Luo, Associate Literary Manager

Echo: BABE assistant director. Selected other directing credits: “Kingdom Keeper” (Alyssa Lizarraga) and Songs for a New World (Jason Robert Brown) at HOOLIGAN Theatre Company, “Quarantine Breakup” (Jackie Brenneman and Lisa Sedares) at Conundrum Theatre Company. Other assistant directorships: A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim at Greenway Court Theatre, The Serpent by Jean-Claude van Itallie and Wakings (including “Victoria Station” and “A Kind of Alaska” by Harold Pinter) at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. Readings: Angels of the Southern Accents by Rus McCoy presented by 5 Star Theatricals and High Street Arts Center. BA in English from UCLA.

Robert Lee Hart, Director of Echo Theater Truck

Robert Lee Hart is a MFA graduate from the Yale School of Drama, where his credits include The Seagull and Marty and the Hands That Could. Other credits include The Duchess of MalfiMacbeth (California State University, Long Beach); The Laramie ProjectFlowers for Algernon, and Electric Roses (El Camino College).

Sky Paley, Director of Echo Theater Truck

SKY PALEY is a film, TV, and stage actor who hails from the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Recent screen credits include Clover (2020) alongside Chazz Palminteri, Gangster Squad (Warner Bros.), Covert Affairs (USA Network), and Warehouse 13 (SyFy Network). He also starred opposite Stephen McHattie (Seinfeld) in the BravoFact short and sci-fi film fest fave, Manifold (2013) directed by Anthony Scott Burns.

Paley is perhaps best known for his critically acclaimed one-man play Antiman, which he first workshopped with The Echo. It premiered in Los Angeles in 2011 to positive notices from the LA Weekly (“…a Triumph!”). The play has since gone on to sold out performances in New York and Toronto with particular attention paid to his mesmerizing transformation into a local West Indian.

He has also directed The Echo’s productions of Tom & Eliza by Celine Song, Wrightwood Hookup by Wes Walker,  A Walrus in the Body of a Crocodile by MJ Kaufman, and the Zoom production of Forget Me Not When Far Away by Kira Obolensky.

Tessa Slovis, Marketing Associate

Tessa Hope Slovis is an actor, film and theatre maker. As an actor, she has appeared in musicals and plays in NYC, LA and regionally. You can catch her on screen in Law and Order SVUThe Affair and most recently the SXSW Jury Prize winning feature Shithouse. As a writer/director her directorial debut short Pizza Party received jury recognition at the 2020 Ashland Independent Film Festival, and was an official selection of the Academy Qualifying Indy Shorts at Heartland Film Festival, Portland Film Festival and SCAD Savannah Festival. It will continue to screen both in the US and Internationally through 2021. She is the co-writer/ performer of the cabaret series, “Swipe Right/Swipe Left: Love in The Age of Tinder” which has  headlined at NYC’s Don’t Tell Mama and Feinstein’s/54 Below. Her short stories and personal essays have been featured in and the Huffington Post blog. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Barnard College and an MFA in acting from the University of Southern California where she was the recipient of the USC Marshall School of Business Performance Science Scholarship for her writing and activism.

Amanda Horowitz, Box Office Associate

Amanda Horowitz is a stage manager and theater professional who wants to spend her life organizing and creating new theater. She graduated from The University of Alabama with degrees in theater and mathematics, where she received the Allen Bales Award for overall theater excellence, before returning to her hometown of Los Angeles to continue her career in entertainment. She directed in a new works play festival through Offstage Works in North Hollywood and worked at Disney as entertainment art crew. She recently completed a stage management fellowship with Jewish Women’s Theatre, where she worked with the organization to transition to Zoom performances, and she has since Zoom managed for other organizations, including Echo Theater Company. She is thankful to everyone at Echo Theater for all the opportunities they have provided.