Robin Lynn Smith
John Billingsley
Mark Jenkins
George Lewis
Tony Pasqualini
Ben Rankin

History and Founders

History

In the summer of 1991, the Pasqualini-Smith Studio (est. 1986) and the Mark Jenkins Actors' Workshop (est. 1985), combined to form Freehold, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. 

The founders are professional actors and trustees whose credentials include recognized work on and off-Broadway, as well as in major films, television, and regional theatre.

In the years since 1991, Freehold has become an integral part of Seattle's thriving theatre community, having gained a reputation as the place for serious young artists to train and take the leap into performing and creating original work.

Founders

Robin Lynn Smith has worked for the past thirty years acting, directing, and teaching in Chicago, Boston, Seattle, and New York. She has directed Off-Broadway (Curse of the Starving Class at the Promenade Theatre) and at regional theaters and is presently directing Freehold’s Engaged Theatre program, which tours Shakespeare productions to prisons, projects, and juvenile detention centers. She served as an artist-in-residence with Dan Sullivan at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, where she directed several productions, including Marvin’s Room, Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune, City of Gold, and thedevelopmental workshop of Elizabeth Heffron’s New Patagonia.She has also directed in Seattle at the Empty Space Theatre, New City Theatre, On the Boards, ACT Theatre, and Seattle Children’s Theatre, and was an affiliate artist with Bartlett Sher at Intiman Theatre. At Freehold, she directed the award-winning laboratory investigations of The Seagull, An Altered Life by Elizabeth Heffron, Three Sisters, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, Cymbeline, Othello and Julius Caesar. She is the director of Freehold’s Engaged Theatre annual residency with the inmates at the Washington Correctional Center for Women. Robin has been a guest director and instructor at New York University/Tisch’s Graduate Acting Program and the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program and is presently on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts.

Ms. Smith is the 2008 recipient of The Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award and was recognized by Washington Corrections Center for Women with their Volunteer of the Year award in May 2009. Ms. Smith was also honored by Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, as a finalist for the Fichandler award. This Award recognizes directors and choreographers who are making a deep and extraordinary contribution to the region in which they live and practice by cultivating a distinct regional perspective while creating a significant body of work. 

John Billingsley has worked extensively in theatre, television and film. John graduated Bennington College, in Bennington, VT, where he studied theatre with Nicholas Martin and literature with Bernard Malamud. John’s theatre credits include Mauritius, Candide, David Mamet’s Bobby Gould in Hell, The Seagull, The Birthday Party, Great Expectations, 12th Night and Bitter Bierce, a one man show he produced about the life and times of Ambrose Bierce. In l990, John founded a Seattle based theatre company called Book-It Repertory Theatre, which was devoted to adapting fiction for the stage and which still flourishes in the Pacific Northwest. John was involved in some Seattle-based film and TV in the ‘80’s and moved to move Los Angeles in 1995 to pursue those mediums. Credits include Nip/Tuck, Cold Case, The Closer, The Ghost Whisperer, CSI, The West Wing, Six Feet Under, The X-Files, Judging Amy, and NYPD Blue.  In l999, Stephen Spielberg cast him as Prof. Miles Ballard in The Others. In 2000, Billingsley was cast as Dr. Phlox in Star Trek: Enterprise. His most recent TV credits include NCIS, The Mentalist, Outlaw, Scrubs, Leverage, Eli Stone, and Alan Ball’sTrue Blood, and 24. Films along the way include Out of Timeopposite Denzell Washington, American Summer, High Crimes, The Glass House, White Oleander, Born to be Wild, I Love You To Death, A Cinderella Story, 12 Dogs of Christmas, The Least of These, Sironia, Losing Control, and 2012. Billingsley has just completed filming a lead role in the film Trade of Innocents opposite Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino, and he has just started shooting an independent film, RedLine.

Mark Jenkins is a professor and the head of the University of Washington’s Professional Actor’s Training Program. He has been an actor for nearly thirty years, working in New York, Hollywood, and Seattle. He has appeared on and Off-Broadway, in dozens of television series including his own and several feature films, among them Apocalypse Now. He has played major roles at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman, Empty Space, and ACT. A lifetime member of the famed Actor’s Studio, he is a professor and the head of the University of Washington in the Professional Actor’s Training Program. He has collaborated with Russian Stanislavski master, Leonid Anisimov in Russia, Japan and the U.S. and with the Illkhom Theatre in Tashkent Uzbekistan. He was instrumental in bringing the Ilkhom Theatre Company to Seattle’s ACT Theatre and to  the UW in the spring of 2008 and returned to Ilkhom to work and teach in the summer of 2009. His McCarthy era play All Powers Necessary and Convenient has been produced by the School of Drama and was published by the University of Washington Press.

George Lewis has been working in the field of movement-based theatre for almost 40 years as an actor/ performer, director, creator of original work, teacher, and producer. He has performed and toured with Omnibus in Montreal, Theatre-Mime Mirage in Boston, and the Sykes Group and threeCompany in Seattle. As a director, he has created movement driven productions of, amongst others, Shakespeare, Moliere, Thornton Wilder, Irene Fornes, and James Thurber. His favorite acting roles include Trigorin in Chekhov’s The Seagull, Joseph in Romulus Linney’s When the Lord Came to Sand Mountain, and the talentless dancer/ would-be comedian in Saroyan’s The Time of your Life. He has been teaching acting and physical theatre skills, at acting studios, colleges, and universities across the U.S. and Canada. His own background includes three years of study in Corporeal Mime in Paris with Etienne Decroux, circus skills and physical comedy at the French National Circus School, and Meyerhold’s Biomechanics with Russian Master Teacher Gennadi Bogdanov, and Clown with Sue Morrison in Toronto. He divides his time between Seattle and Buenos Aires, where he teaches and has created/directed three original full-length clown performances.

Tony Pasqualini a veteran of thirty-five years in the theatre, Tony has performed in over a hundred plays on many stages around the country, including: The Arena Stage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, The Vinyard Theatre and Playwright’s Horizons. A member of the Pacific Resident Theatre in Los Angeles, where he’s played Tobias in A Delicate Balance, and Snyder in Saint Joan of the Slaughterhouses (an LA Weekly Award nominee), and Andrew in Loyalties. Tony has guest starred on dozens of televisions programs, including Cold Case, The Office, Without a Trace, Navy NCIS, West Wing, Frasier, CSI: NY, JAG, Boston Legal,and Law and Order, LA. As a playwright, his first two plays were produced at the Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle.Trains is an adaptation of John Cheever’s The Five-Forty-Eightand Raymond Carver’s The Train; and Winesburg, Ohio is an adaptation of Sherwood Anderson’s piece of the same name. His play, Estelle’s Son received a grant from the Seattle Arts Commission and has been work-shopped at Freehold in Seattle, and American Theatre of Actors in NYC. His most recent play, Loyalties, received readings for Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Winterfest and First Look Series; won the 2008 Ashland New Play Festival; and was subsequently at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Los Angeles. Tony’s play Birdbrain received a workshop production in March of 2011 at the Pacific Resident Theatre; and was a semifinalist for both the Writer’s Digest Playwriting Contest, and the O’Neill 2011 Theatre Conference.

Ben Rankin worked as an independent theater director and producer for 15 years. Ben was Freehold’s Managing Director for its first three years. His first production company staged theCollected Works of Billy the Kid, the chamber opera La Serva Padrona and Mamet’s American Buffalo. He founded Ardeo Theatre Project, an artist community in a 12th century castle in Poitiers, France. As Artistic Director of Pilgrim Center for the Arts, he initiated and hosted the first U.S. visit by Vladivostok’s Chamber Drama Theatre. As a real estate developer, independently and through his former company Live Historic, he has preserved and substantially renovated dozens of vintage buildings and homes in Seattle and elsewhere. He has served on various advisory boards and boards of trustees including ARCADE and New Century Theatre Company.