Summer 2023 Students of the Season

As the Summer season draws to a close and we gear up for our Two-Year Conservatory and Fall Intensive, we want to take a moment to recognize some outstanding acting students who embody the TK Studio spirit. Our TKS Faculty has nominated a select group of students who have shown exceptional passion, commitment, and excellence in their work.

Without further ado, let’s give a big round of applause to our Students of the Season: Kakra Nunoo-Brown, Morgan LaDuke, Finn Hanley, Meg Welch, Andrew Wermelskirchen, Mia Mooko, Simba Wedderburn, Bodie Isbell, Armando Rivera, Christopher Lewis Dawkins. These students have stood out in their classes with their dedication and hard work, and we’re proud to have them as part of our community!

After notifying these notable students of their nominations, we asked them to share some insights on their time at TK Studio with the following prompts:

  • How has your training here at TKS supported your understanding and pursuit of artistic excellence?
  • Describe a moment in your training journey that you recall as having had a clear and lasting impact on you?
  • What does being a part of the TKS community mean to you?

Let it be known that those recognized continually bring the utmost courage, joy and authenticity to the room day in and day out.  We’re so grateful to honor their hard work and dedicated over their time with us! Help us send them some much-deserved love and congratulations!


Kakra Nunoo-Brown
First-Year Conservatory Student

Being a part of this studio has completely changed my outlook on the craft. Before, I tried to pursue art through the lenses of others but what TKS taught me was to understand the world through my own. May path to understanding is only beginning to transcend the logical and create a path towards inspiration I never knew existed within myself. Through TKS, I’ve learned that pursuing excellence is to surrender. Excellence as the artist, in my experience, is to fully embrace the notion that I have nothing to gain nor to lose. To embrace the concept that creativity has no obstacle in me. To reframe everything I see in myself. To acknowledge that all parts of me are tools of expression.


Morgan LaDuke
Summer Intensive Student

From day one, my TKS instructors told me we must strive for excellence. I remember being told not to “try” my best but to actually “do” my best. The high standards expected within the classrooms here made me realize what type of work goes into being a committed actor who is willing to face difficulties to improve. Being a good actor comes with hard work and showing up – even on the bad days. I have learned to leave my personal life outside of the classroom in order to dive fully into acting without fear. While that sounds scary, it was a relief, given that society expects us to mask ourselves daily. To be my authentic self in an environment that not only encourages it but requires it is something that has made my passion for acting flourish. It has taught me much more about letting go of my fears and being present. Additionally, the passion I have witnessed from all of my TKS instructors has been incredibly motivating. I greatly respect the abundance of knowledge in this studio and am so glad to be here to experience it.


One time I had a tough day and felt scattered in class. I feared I wouldn’t perform as well as on other days and was beating myself up about it. Instead of being belittled, my instructor was understanding. I was told, “There will always be bad days, but you show up, do your best, and then show up again tomorrow. Things will always get better as long as you do your best.”


Giving myself the space and acceptance to have bad days was eye-opening. As long as I do my best and keep showing up, I will be able to progress my skills as an actor. That conversion will always have a lasting impact on me. This story goes along with what I have learned in my Movement class, “It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright. Give yourself the permission to feel however you are in this very moment.”

Finn Hanley

First-Year Conservatory Student

I’m so happy to be a part of this community. I remember when I first started at the studio in January being taken aback at how warm and welcoming everyone was with myself and the other January first years. Smiles and hellos in the hallway and introductions and words of encouragement. I think I’d assumed I’d have to keep my head down and prove that I belonged or something like that before people would warm up to me. There was none of that. I felt embraced and supported as soon as I started by the whole TK community. And that spirit of warmth and generosity has persisted through all my time here. Being a part of this community, to me, means upholding it.


Meg Welch

First-Year Conservatory Student

My understanding and pursuit of artistic excellence has been completely revolutionized by the tools TKS has provided me. My training here provides the space to hone my technique as an actor, both in the long and short term. TKS gives me permission to fail, to make mistakes, to choose to get back up, and to focus on myself and my craft. And it doesn’t stop once class is over. I get to practice challenging myself in my work outside of the studio, as a person, as Meg. A friend in my class lovingly calls TKS, “people school” because of the radical ways these simple, yet challenging methods reconfigure how we relate to ourselves, our emotions, and our lives as artists. Growth can be uncomfortable, but the other side of that discomfort is freedom. I get to embody this freedom as an artist in the expansive and sustainable way TKS has trained me. I’m so grateful to have been given these tools to carry with me for the rest of my journey.


acting students

Andrew Wermelskirchen

Summer Intensive Student

When I started training at TKS, I felt unqualified. To be honest, I was worried about doing everything “the right way,” which prevented me from being fully present in my work. The work is difficult, frustrating, and arduous. It has exposed behaviors and habits that don’t serve me as an actor. I’ve received honest notes and feedback that challenge me for the next class. Through all of this, I was able to break down barriers to be fully present and take away expectations. I feel that class time is a lab and provides a place to fail and experiment. The training relentlessly requires me to see my potential. I have renewed my passion and commitment to my pursuit of artistic excellence. I’m so glad that I found TKS! I know that my journey will continue through this generous community of actors.

Mia Mooko
Summer Intensive Student

Training at TKS completely transformed the way I thought and viewed artistic excellence. For a lot of my life, excellence was basically a synonym for perfection, it was inherently unattainable, intimidating and made me feel like there was a way of getting things “right”. But through this training, I realized that excellence isn’t this constricted, result oriented word I had always thought it was – it was something flexible and freeing. Excellence is openness and curiosity – it’s the goals and dreams we have for ourselves and the joy and drive we have in our pursuit of them.


Simba Wedderburn
Summer Intensive Student

Man Oh Man, first and foremost I would like to say thank thank thank you for all of the support and safety the TKS provided for me and the rest of my players. TKS allowed me to dig deeper inside of myself versus my intellect. It has been rigorating in all the right ways to gently guide the actor to express the fullness of oneself. As scary and uncomfortable at times, I always remind myself to get messy and (insert word lol) things up…catch my drift? I’m more connected, more present during a scene with my partner , the power of feeling & listening to one another and not “acting” but being organic in an imaginary circumstance. Also, the ability to transfer this to life.


I had a scene where I was afraid to release an emotion, something I’ve held inside of myself because of who i “thought” I was. Yes, I’m a Black man with locs who is 6’2 230lbs and let me tell you it’s tough. Celestine Rae gracefully spoke to me and said its ok, she understood what I was feeling, she knew what I’m going through, she saw me and heard me and always reiterated this is a safe space, you’re not what they say…Oh yeah “You don’t scare me” lol. It was great to hear that ya know, especially when you’re eager to release, give it all but can not because of “old news” that comes up in the subconscious mind so you hold it. As a yogi I believe in peace and being calm etc, however what was missing was the permission, which i never gave myself. Guess what? Now I do, it is my new mantra.


There is a comfortability at TKS, maybe it’s the cool air, or the cool people, or just about everything. There’s a holistic ambience to this studio, it really does not feel like a studio ya know? It is inviting, and accessible to us players as well as faculty. It’s a home away from home. Being a part of TKS holds a special place in my soul, it’s a place I feel comfortable going back. I’ve never felt more confident in my work. Not only the work, but walking outside in these streets (no no no I’m not doing any exercises outside, people will think I’m a lunatic lol). Throughout mt time at TKS, this quote reminds me WHY I do it WHY I want it so badly: “Training the passionate actor committed to excellence ” This….is why we come back..it’s here.

Bodie Isbell

Summer Intensive Student

My training at TKS has completely shifted and reinvigorated my pursuit of artistic excellence.
My time at the studio has made clear to me the preparation, effort, and determination required to fully embody the art I am making.
I will never be able to approach any play, audition, or script without applying myself in the same degree I learned to over this summer. My work ethic has changed, I have whole heartedly re-devoted myself to my craft and feel so aligned knowing I have found a greater understanding of what it means to truly be myself within imaginary circumstances. The safe space of this studio, alongside the guidance of Celestine, has unshackled me from the chains of shame I have attached to my vulnerability.

Armando Rivera
Summer Intensive Student

“Pursuit of excellence,” to me, sounds like a journey with excellence as the final destination. I don’t think excellence is a result, it’s a practice. That’s what I believe we are doing here; practicing excellence everyday. I’m very grateful to have been afforded the luxury of being able to practice excellence in an environment where that is championed.

Christopher Lewis Dawkins

First-Year Conservatory Student

For most of my life, perfectionism, being extremely hard on myself, and choosing to give up when I get stuck in my head has held me hostage. Then I took a class with Celestine. One day during scene work, she gave me an adjustment and asked me to start over. In my effort to get her feedback “right,” I started to forget my lines, so I threw in the towel. She stopped the scene, I got upset at myself, got in my head, and I started to feel overwhelmed. She was super present with me, showed me how easily I gave up, and made it clear that she was there to help me and not to “fix me.” That day, I discovered that giving up on myself doesn’t only affect me, but also other people. Then I realized that how I treat myself directly impacts the ones around me—in the scene work and also in life. Since then, I’ve been much more fluid, adaptable, gentle with myself, and dare I say, resilient.

Join the TKS community and become a confident actor for the rest of your life.