Kathryn Gately served as Head of and/or co-teacher of 2 nationally ranked URTA/NAST and Unified MFA/BFA/BA Acting Programs. She headed the graduate program in Acting at Northern (NIU). At Mason Gross, she co-taught the MFA and BFA students with Mr. William Esper. As an actress and a teacher, Professor Gately trained extensively under Sanford Meisner and William Esper. She is a 2-year graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse, and earned an MFA in Acting at Mason Gross, Rutgers. Ms. Gately has created intensive conservatory programs for major agencies, managers, and schools in NYC, LA, Dublin, and London. She has been featured in the book Acting Teachers in America, acknowledged on Bravo’s Actor’s Studio, and recognized as a Leader in Theatre Education and one of its Most Notable Women in America by Marquis’s Who’s Who.
She has also coached for international theatre productions, Broadway, and award-winning films and television shows. She has served as a consultant for ABC, CBS, was an international program director, as well as a board member for numerous theatres across the U.S. Along with Richard Poole, she has given Master Classes in the Meisner Technique for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). She served as an artistic advisor to producer Kevin Goetz for the television film Wild Iris, starring Gena Rowlands and Laura Linney, who went on to win an Emmy for her performance in the film.
In New York City, Richard Poole worked as the Executive Director of The Nat Horne Theatre on 42nd Street’s Historic Theatre Row, where he expanded the Gately / Poole studio to over 200 students a year.The studio was home to three separate theatre groups, including the award-winning Manhattan Class Company.
Mr. Poole has also served as the Artistic Director for the Barnstormers Equity Theatre. He has taught in Europe and all across the United States. A few of Mr. Poole’s teaching and directing credits include the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Rutgers University, the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and the Philadelphia Repertory Company.
In NYC, Mr. Poole co-created the School for Film and Television, was Head of Acting for the Professional Program at Primary Stages Theatre Company, and co-head of the playwriting unit with Arthur Giron. He was also associated with New Dramatists in Chicago.
Richard Poole is recognized as one of the most successful Showcase Directors in the United States. In 2013, he became Professor Emeritus at Northern Illinois University, where he still is today.
Director of Marketing & Student Affairs
As Director of Marketing and Student Affairs, Michaela Cotone has spent more than a decade recruiting and promoting the Gately / Poole Acting Studio. Her natural ability to create an inviting environment where actors can open up and share about themselves ensures that our rigorous professional training program can work for anyone.
Michaela continues to recruit, mentor, and challenge all of the students and her passion for the theatre and the journey of the artist has consistently placed The Gately / Poole Acting Studio at the top of its field. If asked, Michaela will be the first to tell you that her greatest joy is seeing people succeed in all walks of their life and in seeing the satisfaction that they achieve in growing and expanding their artistry to a level they never would have thought possible.
ROTATING FACULTY MEMBERS
Mary McCusker has been a successful actress and acting coach for many years. She studied acting at the Boston Conservatory of Music and is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse, where she studied with Sanford Meisner technique.
As an on-set coach, her feature film work began with The Client, coaching two unknown boys for the lead roles. Some of the feature films she has coached on are: Big Miracle, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Tom and Huck, Sleepers,
Next Best Thing, and First Do No Harm, with Meryl Streep. She also coached Jenny Schmitu and a young Angelina Jolie on Foxfire.
On TV, Mary coached on Malcolm in the Middle for seven years, and worked on several pilots including The Bernie Mac Show, About a Boy, and Nip Tuck. She also worked on a film Por Vida, based on a true story about girl gangs in Los Angeles.
For the last 4 years she has been working at Nickelodeon on: The Haunted Hathaways pilot, How to Rock for 20 episodes, and during the last three years on Instant Mom.
Privately, she has an on-camera class preparing actors for auditions and upcoming movie roles. She is currently writing a book titled AUDITIONING – What Directors, Casting Directors and Producers Look for in the Casting Process. The book will be comprised of a series of interviews with Industry Professionals sharing their insight on the process of casting actors.
Mackenzie Parker, a native of Illinois, attended Northern Illinois University’s School of Theatre and Dance after serving on active duty in the United States Navy. While in attendance, Professors Kathryn Gately and Richard Poole were instrumental in developing his formal training.
Mackenzie continued his studies abroad with Mikhail Lobanov, noted artist and distinguished Professor of Acting, at the illustrious Moscow Art Theatre School. Since graduating he has worked in front of and behind the camera. Parker’s well rounded professional career includes work as a production assistant, a stuntman, an actor, as well as an editor for multiple productions.
Mackenzie has appeared in several film, television, and theatre productions. You may have seen him in Sons of Anarchy, Divergent, and Agent X, to name just a few of his television roles. Mackenzie Parker also has a tremendous talent behind the camera. His unique ability in film production and editing has been invaluable to us here at the Gately / Poole Acting Studio. His attention to detail and subtle approach never fails to capture the full range of each actor’s performance
Emily Vitrano is an actor and teaching artist making her creative home in the Chicagoland area. As a voice and movement specialist, Emily is trained in the Fitzmaurice Technique, Viewpoints, Yoga, Williamson and Michael Chekhov Technique. Emily works with her students’ bodies and voices, emphasizing supple responsive instruments and powerful, resonant voices
Emily received her MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University and her BFA in Acting from University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Emily recently studied with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company at their summer intensive at Skidmore College in New York. She also became a certified yoga instructor at YogaWorks during her time in NYC.
As an actor, Emily’s regional credits include productions with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Next Act Theatre, NY Fringe Festival, and Allentown Shakespeare in the Park. Emily has also appeared on television on WTMJ-4 News as the morning traffic reporter, as a featured dancer on an episode of Gossip Girl, as well as in a national commercial for Batteries Plus Bulbs. Emily has also appeared in local commercial spots in Milwaukee for Mills Fleet Farm, the Wisconsin DNR, Sanford Brown University, and Walgreens. Emily is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association and is represented by Paonessa Talent in Chicago.