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Conservatory of Performing Arts

Monica Payne

Director of Graduate Studies
Visiting Assistant Professor

Sheila McKenna

Contact information


  • M.F.A., Directing, University of California, Los Angeles
  • B.A., Speech Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Courses Taught

  • Acting II, III
  • Acting IV/Meisner
  • Aesthetics and Conceptualization (Directing)
  • Meisner Workshop


Monica Payne is an American director of theatre and film. She recently directed her own adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother in Los Angeles. Other recent projects include the rarely produced Elektra by Euripides and William Inge’s Natural Affection. She is committed to creating work that brings beautiful imagery, music and movement together to support the emotional life of the story.

Payne was trained by and worked with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company as an actor and graduated with an M.F.A. in directing from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. She has been mentored by directors Jose Luis Valenzuela and Kim Rubinstein and is inspired by the work of European director/choreographers Ariane Mnouchkine and Pina Bausch. She is the recipient of the James Pendleton Foundation Prize and a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, as well as the Director’s Lab West in Los Angeles.

Before teaching at Point Park, Monica was a freelance Meisner instructor, teaching for the School at Steppenwolf, the Artistic Home, The Audition Studio (Chicago) as well as owning her own studio in Los Angeles. She will direct Huck Finn for Playhouse Jr. in the Spring of 2013.

Selected Artistic Works

  • Huck Finn, Playhouse Jr. (Spring 2013)
  • Innocent Erendira, Director/Adaptor, UCLA
  • Elektra, Director/Choreographer, UCLA
  • Gross Sales, Director, UCLA
  • Natural Affection, Director, UCLA
  • Savage Love, The Artistic Home (Chicago)
  • Miss Saigon, Assistant Director, La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts 
  • La Virgen de Guadalupe, Assistant Director, Latino Theatre Company
  • Solitude, Assistant Director, Latino Theatre Company
  • The Weir, Assistant Director, Steppenwolf

Selected Performances

  • Uncle Vanya, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • No Place Like Home, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • Cross-Town Traffic, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
  • Jack, or the Submission, The Hypocrites
  • Edmond, The Hypocrites
  • Action, The Hypocrites
  • Othello, The Journeymen
  • Ghetto, Famous Door Theatre Company
  • The Credeaux Canvas, SmashTheatre

Research Interests

  • Directing for the theatre, including devised work and the Greeks
  • Literary adaptations
  • European forms of dance theatre
  • Ensemble, and its function in the theatre