Our People


Nick Ishimaru - Artistic Director, Board Member

Nick Ishimaru was trained originally as a musical theatre performer and started exploring Japanese theatre while studying at Colorado State University (BA, 2005), where he directed a kabuki adaptation of MacBeth. He went on to study at San Francisco State University, (MA, 2009). His work explores a combination of Western and traditional Asian performance techniques for original creations, along with work in conventional musical theatre and Shakespeare.

In October 2016, he opened his debut as Theatre of Yugen’s Artistic Director, The Red Demon by Noda Hideki.  Previous directing work includes It Ain’t Me by Claire Rice (original), Land of Infants by Meghan O’Patry (original), and Kaguya (original adaptation).  Other recent production work includes A Minor Cycle by Greg Giovanni (original; actor and fight choreographer), This Lingering Life by Chiori Miyagawa (original; actor), and several traditional kyogen plays with the Theatre of Yugen (actor).


Melissa Ramirez - Rentals Manager and Technical Director

Mel began her time at Theatre of Yugen as a house technician, supporting renters and in-house production staff alike with her technical prowess.  A graduate from UC Berkeley, Mel has served in a variety of technical positions for companies across the Bay Area.


Gina Goldblatt - Office Manager

Gina's introduction to Theatre of Yugen was through a student at LIMINAL, the community writing space she runs in Oakland, who got a play they wrote in a class at her space, accepted into the Yugen in Action Series. Besides running LIMINAL, Gina is also an aerial silks performer, writer and dog-walker.


Sheila Berotti - Kyogen Outreach Coordinator

For the Theatre of Yugen, Sheila has collaborated on the development of the original ensemble pieces The Old Man and the Sea, Don Q, and with playwright Erik Ehn, The Cycle Plays. She was in the world-premiere of Ehn’s Dogsbody, directed by Dah Teatar’s Dijana Milosevic, at YBCA. Sheila played Candide in Jubilith Moore’s Candide, or Optimism (09), and performed in Cordelia, part of Ehn’s Soulographie at La Mama ETC in New York. Sheila directed Mr. YooWho’s Holiday in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, she was Koken for Yuriko Doi’s Mystical Abyss and enjoyed being a Darling (among other things) in A Minor Cycle: Five Little Plays in One Starry Night – consisting of 5 original plays and 6 musical interludes, created over a 2-year process. Sheila portrayed Carolyn Bryant in 2013’s Emmett Till, a river and co-curated “35(000) Expressions of Yugen,” an art exhibit installed at Z Space during the 2014 world-premiere performances of This Lingering Life, in which Sheila portrayed multiple roles.

Sheila has taught numerous workshops about Noh and Kyogen theatre and performs pieces from Theatre of Yugen’s Kyogen-in-English repertoire several times a year at festivals and in schools. Teaching engagements have included the SF French International School, Chattanooga’s Girls Preparatory School, Rosa Parks Elementary’s Japanese Bi-lingual, Bi-cultural Program and the University of CA, Berkeley.

Sheila has also served Theatre of Yugen's administration as Development Associate and from 2015-2017 as General Manager. Now living in Mendocino County, she remains on staff as the Kyogen Outreach Coordinator.



Matt Snelham, President, Board Member since 2014

Matthew Snelham is Director of engineering at Google, leading the organization responsible for planning, infrastructure investment, budgeting, and product efficiency behind some of Google’s major services, including Search, Maps, and Machine Learning.  Prior to Google, Matthew has worked with companies around the world designing and building leading-edge high performance computing systems, as well as co-founding two companies in the Bay Area.  Matthew hails from San Francisco.


Patrick York, Secretary, Board Member since 2016

Patrick York lives in San Francisco and is a top-producing Realtor with Coldwell Banker. When not in a suit, Patrick enjoys video and board games, going to the gym, and performing under his drag stage name- Cheron Dippity.


Gabrielle Gomez, Treasurer, Board Member since 2016

Gabrielle Gomez is a writer, editor, and attorney living in Northern California. She has written in and explored the forms of fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, and prose; her first play, “That Horrible In-Between Place,” was produced in 2008 at El Teatro de la Esperanza in San Francisco’s Mission District. Ms. Gomez has also been a freelance producer and director in the San Francisco Bay Area, and co-founded two theater companies: Ann Marie Productions and Panhandler’s Theatre Company. She earned Bachelors of Art in English and Drama from San Francisco State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Villanova University; Ms. Gomez was admitted to the California Bar in June 2014 and uses her background in the arts and her legal experience to assist artists in protecting their intellectual property. She is ecstatic to be a part of Theatre of Yugen's Board and to help continue its legacy of exceptional art.


Yuriko Doi Walker, Founder

Japanese-born and trained in the classical theater styles of Noh and Kyogen, Doi brought this heritage to the West in the 1960s, founding Theatre of Yugen in 1978. That troupe has proven to be the major beneficiary of Doi’s directorial resume’ of more than 30 productions. Her foundation in these arts began when she was a graduate student of Waseda University in Tokyo, where she studied with Kyogen master and National Living Treasure of Japan, Mansaku Nomura (Izumi School). She has also been influenced by the Noh practice of her aunt, Yuki Doi (Hosho School), and her studies with Noh principal actor Shiro Nomura (Kanze School). Developing her skills in both forms through continued study with Mansaku Nomura, his disciple Yukio Ishida, and Shiro Nomura, Doi has worked diligently to share these arts with an American audience and students.

The array of productions Doi has directed range from classics and adaptations to original works. She has taken for her inspiration theater throughout time, from around the world, directing plays that run in style and subject matter from Japanese and Greek mythology to 20th-century American, using movements from sources as diverse as flamenco and Native American dance. The classical Japanese plays Doi has directed include the Noh plays: Sotoba Komachi (1987); and the Kyogen plays: The Melon Thief/Uri Nusubito (1978), Sweet Poison/Busu (1980), The Magnificent Beard/Higeyagura (1981), The Sickle and Injured Pride/Uri Nusubito (1981), Three Handicaped Men/Sannin Katawa (1981), Owl Mountain Priest/Fukuro Yamabushi (1983), Parting of the Seasons/Setsubun (1985), Tug of War/Kubibiki (1987), Sumo Wrestling with a Mosquito (1987), The Persimmon Mountain Priest/Kaki Yamabushi (1996), Tied to a Pole/Bo Shibari (2002), Spring Water/Shimizu (2004)


Jock Walker, Board Member since 1978

Currently retired and building a large wooden sailboat but has served as the President of the Board of the Theatre of Yugen, President of Phacor Inc., a medical device company, President and R&D VP of Menlo Care Inc., a catheter company, and as an R&D manager at Raychem Corp.   Graduated from the University of Michigan with BSE and MSE in Mechanical Engineering.


Alex Sinclair, Board Member since 2016