Central High School’s theatre department is home to one of the fastest growing theatre programs in California. With three full time theatre teachers, twenty course offerings, and multiple play productions each year, there’s something for everyone.
Sarah Pullen-Harris has been with Central Theatre since 2001, helping the program to grow from a handful of students and three class offerings to the dynamic force that it is today. She is grateful to share her love of the arts as a theatre teacher, and counts it amongst her biggest blessings that she’s able to do what she loves with awesome sauce theatre kids every day with her two exceptionally talented coworkers, Chris Berzac and Matt Bridges.
As a child, Sarah managed to be both painfully shy and ridiculously dramatic, performing in front of others in church and school play productions from a young age (her earliest stage experience involved singing about the virtues of a flashlight in her parents’ living room at the age of six, but that’s something she tries to forget because it really wasn’t her best work). After graduating from Roosevelt School of The Arts, she went on to Seattle Pacific University “to become a lawyer” before changing majors when she felt the pull of theatre reeling her back in. After receiving her BFA in both Theatre Arts and Communication, she earned her teaching credential from Fresno Pacific University.
While still in the teaching credential program, she was hired to teach several levels of theatre at San Joaquin Memorial before receiving the Governor's Teaching Fellowship Grant, which led to a chance encounter and eventual hire at Central. Since growing the theatre program in 2001, she hasn't looked back except to occasionally add to her workload by acting as an adjunct professor for Fresno Pacific's degree completion program, teaching creative drama to future elementary school teachers. It's at Central that she's found a home within the Industrial Theatre Company, having taught thousands of passionate theatre students west of the 99. Ms. Pullen currently teaches Theatre 1, 2, 3, 4 and Children's Theatre.
As a performer, Ms. Pullen's favorite roles have included everything from Madame Arcati (Blithe Spirit) and Neville (Mr. A’s Amazing Maze Plays), but she’s most at home in the director’s chair, loving everything about the rehearsal and performance process. Earlier directing credits include Little Shop of Horrors (twice), Godspell, Music Man and Bullshot Crummond, while more recent directing projects have been Blithe Spirit, Arsenic and Old Lace, Seussical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and many others--looking at the banners and posters in her classroom is a walk down a two decade long memory lane for her.
When not teaching, directing or traveling with Central's Children's Theatre program, Central’s shortest teacher ever can be found at her home with her theatre-fanatic husband and exceptionally dramatic daughter. She bakes in her spare time, and doesn’t understand people who “don’t like sweets.”
Ms. Pullen can be reached at email@example.com
Matthew Bridges graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in Theatre Education. While enrolled at Fresno State Matthew worked in the lighting booth as well as holding stage crew and costuming positions for multiple productions, acted in an award winning independent film, and performed as the mascot "TimeOut" in both 2007 and 2009 for nearly every sporting event held on campus as well in over 20 different states at away football games. Matthew earned his teaching credential from Fresno Pacific University and completed his student teaching through the HQST program at Roosevelt High School in both English and Theatre. Before and throughout college and graduate school, Mr. Bridges studied various styles of dance for 6 years including musical theatre, lyrical, and ballroom as well as spending two years involved with competitive ballroom dancing. He has choreographed for elementary and middle school productions, as well as Clovis High School's Dance Repatory program. The highlight of Matthew's dance background was performing live at the Christian Music Awards.
Mr. Bridges has been teaching Drama and directing shows at Central High School since the fall of 2012. His directing credits include: The Odd Couple, HONK!, The Nerd, A Year with Frog and Toad, Lost in Yonkers, and Ordinary Days. He also directed The Odd Couple and Star Spangled Girl as a special project through CSU Fresno at Clovis High School. Before Central High School, Mr. Bridges taught Theatre to young children for 2 years through the Clovis Summer Fun Program, and he also guest taught a co-curricular theatre class at Pinedale Elementary. Matthew has performed in over 35 productions, his favorite shows include Much Ado About Nothing and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and his favorite roles performed include Dream Curly (Oklahoma) and Albert (Bye Bye Birdie). He has also wrote a musical adaption of Romeo and Juliet for Rio Vista Middle School's Theatre Department.
Matthew Bridges currently teaches Theatre 1 and Theatre 2 at Central's West Arts Center and Introduction to Drama at Rio Vista Middle School. He also has been acting as emcee for the annual dance concert at Clovis High School every year since 2007, does voice-over work for Blue Peach Music, announces names at graduation ceremonies for both Central High School and Rio Vista Middle School, and has hosted the academic awards and employee of the year ceremony at Central High School.
Mr. Bridges can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris has been performing theatre since the 2nd grade, where he portrayed Paddington Bear for a raptusous class at Hayes Elementary in Livonia, Michigan. From that star studded performance, Chris lept to performing opportunities. He performed at Churchill High School, in the CAPA (creative and performing arts) program, in such plays as West Side Story, Oliver, The Lottery, Anything Goes, Voice of the Prairie, and Working.
It was under the tutelage of Ms. Gail Mack and Mr. Steven Kosinski that the performing bug solidified. Off to Central Michigan University he went, where he performed in The Country Wife, Revenge of the Space Panda’s, Travels with my Aunt and Syliva. He traveled to Chicago to refine his improv skills at the iO(formally Improv Olympic). There he trained under Susan Messing, TJ Jagadowski, John Lutz, Miles Stroth, Liz Allen, Jason Chin and others in the improv community. He also starred in Scooby-Doo Meets Happy Days, Scooby-Doo Meets The Facts of Life, A Song Time Ago(a Star Wars Parody) and Scooby-Doo Meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Chris also trained at Second City, the Annoyance as well as performed in Donny’s Skybox and the Playground theatre.
Chris moved to Fresno in 2012, where he got a teacher credential. Getting hired by Central Unified was the 5th best day of his life(his wedding, birth of Oliver, Birth of Thomas, Birth of Walter). He is the advisor for the Thespian Society on campus. He’s thrilled to be working here with such talented individuals like Matt Bridges and Sarah Pullen. Special thanks to Jessica Berzac for enduring me, she’s a very lovely human.
Mr. Berzac can be reached at email@example.com