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   Tom Fulton, Professional Actor, Director Teacher, MEMBER OF ACTORS' EQUITY ASSOCIATION (AEA)

  Thomas Q. Fulton, Jr.

"The courage to create crosses over into all aspects of living.  In order to act well, an actor has to care deeply
about his or her work.  It is in that moment of caring,
sharing and creative, personal risk that the student of theatre becomes a student of his own life - a life with ideas worth hearing, a life of self worth, a life with purpose and value to the world."

Tom Fulton

Read "Notes from the Director"

Read reviews of Mr. Fulton's classes



A professional director, actor, teacher since 1975, Tom has been a respected figure in the northeast Ohio theatre community for 30 years.

In 1975, he founded and headed Center Repertory Theatre, a League of Resident Theatres (LORT) company located at 17th and Euclid in Playhouse Square, Cleveland. There, his work included such critically acclaimed productions as Vanities, by Jack Heifner, which became the 2nd longest-running play in Cleveland history; Streamers, by David Rabe; Anna Christie by Eugene O'Neill and the world premiere of Michael Paller's (currently dramaturg at American Conservatory Theatre) inventive and moving adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

In 1980 Mr Fulton, inspired by the work of the New York's Group Theatre of the 1930's, he founded and headed the the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, a company of actors, directors and playwrights, who developed a style of ensemble theatre where all of the artists worked and trained together. It was at Phoenix, that Fulton began the professional actor training program focusing on the Stanislavski system of actor development, which he now brings the the Academy for the Performing Arts. A number of acclaimed productions were mounted at Phoenix Theatre, including: The Three Sisters, winner of the Cleveland Critics' Circle Award for Best Professional Production, Marsha Norman's brilliant and powerful play Getting Out, Whose Life is it Anyway, The Ruling Class, Cyrano De Bergerac, Our Town, Bus Stop, Ashes and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

After a 5 year stint as an actor, director and teacher with the Cleveland Play House (1984-1988), under the Artistic Leadership of Richard Oberlin and Will Rhys, Fulton created, along with Director/Actor Andrew May and Managing Director, William Meckler, The Cleveland Theatre Company. CTC was operated under a Small Professional Theatre Contract (SPTC) and was dedicated to the production of classic plays performed by the regional artists of Northeast Ohio. Ultimately the company, with happy collaboration with Professor of Theatre and associate director Wayne S. Turney, formed an alliance with The Factory Theatre at Cleveland State University.  Here, Mr. Fulton directed Shakespeare's Hamlet, Marsha Norman's 'night Mother, Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, his own adaptation from a literal translation of Chekhovs' Uncle Vanya, and others. In addition to directing, he acted in King Lear, Man and Superman, Uncle Vanya and Lee Blessing's Two Rooms, directed by Evie McElroy.

Tom served for five years as chairman of the Actor's Equity Liaison Committee for the Northeast Ohio Region and during his tenure as chairman in the 1980's, he was part of the negotiation team that worked with the New York Equity office to develop a number of new Equity Contracts that nurtured a rebirth of professional theatre opportunities in our community, among them - The Small Professional Theatre Contract and The Members Project Code. He, along with John Orlock of Case Western Reserve University co-founded the Professional Alliance of Cleveland Theatres (PACT) in the early 1990's.

Tom's interest in theatre began by watching his father and mother perform in a community theatre they helped found - The Kenston Players.  Then as a 15 year old actor with the Heights Youth Theatre and the WKYC TV East Ohio Fairy Tale Theatre, directed by Jerry Leonard. His senior year in High School, he attended Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, Michigan and went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Professional Acting from Southern Methodist University. Among the theatre artists with whom Tom has studied are:

  • Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz),
  • Morris Carnovski (a member of the Group Theatre),
  • Arthur Lessac (author of the Use and Training of the Human Voice),
  • Kristin Linklater (author of "Freeing the Natural Voice"),
  • Vivian Vance ("Ethel" on "I Love Lucy") ,
  • Alvina Krause (one of the legendary acting teachers for more than a generation of American performers)
  • Adrian Hall (artistic director of Trinity Square Repertory Theatre,
  • Morton DaCosta (director of the movie "Auntie Mame"),
  • Joe Chaikin (founder of the Open Theatre),
  • Zelda Fichandler (artistic director of Arena Stage in Washington DC)
  • Joe Anthony (director of The Rainmaker on Broadway),
  • Tina Packard (artistic director of Shakespeare and Company in Massachusetts),
  • Jack Clay (Clay's teachers included Lee Strasberg, Martha Graham and Eric Hawkins. Among his best known students are Kathy Bates, Powers Boothe, Patricia Richardson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Beth Henley - all classmates of Fulton)
  • Burnett Hobgood (Founder SMU theatre Department, Head of University of Illinois Theatre Department at Champaign)
  • Joan Potter (member of The Actor's Studio, and his acting teacher for 5 years). 

Mr Fulton holds a BFA from Southern Methodist University in Acting, Directing and Teaching Theatre. a Professional Teaching Licence for Career Technical Schools and a Master of Education from Kent State University.

As a professional actor, he has performed or directed at Shakespeare and Company (Lennox Massachusetts), Playhouse Square Foundation, The Cleveland Orchestra (where he performed with the Stratford Shakespeare Company and The Cleveland Orchestra in Tom Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favor at the Blossom Music Festival), The Cleveland Play House (a company member for 5 years), The Cleveland Actor's Theatre Company, Center Repertory Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Cleveland Theatre Company, The Actor's Summit, The Halle Theatre, and (for three years) as Artistic Director of Cain Park Summer Theatre.

In 2002, Mr Fulton directed the professional Equity premier of The Interview at the Halle Theatre. And in 1989, directed the Cleveland Premier of Ron Wilson's The Last Days of Route 66 at Wayne Turney's Cleveland Actors' Theatre Company at the Hanna Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio.  In April 2002, he played George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Tartuffe in Moliere's Tartuffe at Neil Thackaberry's Actor's Summit Theatre in Hudson, Ohio.  Recently, Tom played Don Quixote in Man of LaMancha. under the direction of Fred Sternfeld, at the Halle Theatre, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (also directed by Sternfeld) at Cain Park Summer Theatre.  In January of 2004, Tom directed an acclaimed production of Chekhov's The Seagull at the Beck Center for the Arts. Then, in the fall of 2005, Tom took on the role of Emile de Becque in South Pacific for the JCC's Arts and Culture Program at the Performing Arts Center at Tri-C Eastern Campus.

Mr. Fulton served for 7 years as Executive Director of The Fairmount Center for the Arts, where he founded, along with artistic Director Fred Sternfeld, The Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory (FPAC), which grew to become a highly successful summer youth program, year-round youth theatre and part time professional theatre under Mr. Sternfeld's direction. It has now morphed into HBTI (Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute) under the direction of Bibi Katz Weinberg.

Since taking the directorship of the Academy for the Performing Arts, Tom developed the robust classical curriculum of the Academy, with a concentration of Stanislavski technique and Acting Shakespeare - and has overseen the growth of the program from 23 students (2008-2009) to 85 students in its 9th year 2016-2017). 

At the Academy, he has directed 

  • Arthur Miller's THE CRUCIBLE,
  • Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM,
  • Anton Chekhov's THE THREE SISTERS
  • Shakespeare's MACBETH
  • Anton Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD
  • Schonberg, Alain Boublil & Natel LES MISERABLE'S
  • Newley and Bricusse's THE ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT. . .
    Kander & Ebb's CABARE
  • Howard Richardson's THE DARK OF THE MOON
  • Leonard Bernstein's WEST SIDE STORY (with associate director Mitchell Fields)
  • Jones & Schmidt's THE FANTASTICKS
  • Marsha Norman's THE SECRET GARDEN
  • Leigh & Dorian's MAN OF LAMANCHA (2016)
  • Tennessee Williams' NIGHT OF THE IGUANA (2017)

As of August 2016

Recent Roles as an Actor

As Captain Shotover in Heartbreak HouseTevye

As Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof
As George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
As Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha
As Tartuffe in Moliere's Tartuffe
As Emile De Becque in South Pacific
As Lear in Shakespeare's King Lear

Chagrin Falls Performing Arts Academy - 400 East Washington St.  - Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022   440-715-4004