Social Awareness

Ethical Courage

True Imagination

Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project is, at its core, a performing arts initiative:

a project–a process–rather than a traditional company. Founded in 2007, Wisdom Tooth seeks to facilitate a dynamic union between Indy's provocative, emerging artists and the established theatre community; i.e. reckless imagination with applied care. In doing so, we strive to change the paradigm of theatre as "event" into a theatre of shared "experience," an encounter between performer and audience with a deep narrative investment which is transformative rather than merely "consumptive." A flashpoint for the theatre of the 21st century.

We believe only imagination can prepare us for the future; without it, today and all our tomorrows are merely mnemonic devices for our past. Imagination, realized through a creative process, is the truest path to our future. We recognize the role of critical thinking skills as an important component of any well-rounded perspective. However, we believe the development of imagination and creativity is often under-valued, or worse, left to chance. Creating is God's full time job, and if we are to be participants in that, in becoming fully realized and authentic as individuals and as a culture, imagination must be a primary component of our civic life in this century.

Our mission is both educational and social, and includes; a) making theatre a redemptive force in the local community b) the promotion of new works and classics c) the creation of training labs that are committed to the interplay between critical thinking and play, and most importantly d) a company where all kindred, creative hearts can call home. We are committed to creating a place of process that can become a home for all artists, not just "our company," and a turning-point for what the performing arts are to become.

These goals, as are all Wisdom Tooth's programming, are guided by the three anchoring principles found within our mission statement: social awareness, ethical courage and true imagination.

Resident of
IndyFringe Basile Theatre

719 E. St. Clair Street Indianapolis, IN 46202Box office: 317-522-8099 • Contact us via email

Our Teaching Artists

Wisdom Tooth's producing partners are both Artists and Teachers and they each bring their own special set of skills and knowledge, combining experiences spanning across the country and across generations. All of our Teaching Artists are available for private coaching.

Ronn Johnstone

All About Ronn

Originally from sunny Southern California, Ronnie studied and worked in professional theatre and film in many capacities. For eight years, he was Company Manager of Creation Studies Inc., a California based touring company that focused on issues of faith and social reform. He also worked as a freelance actor, director and lighting designer, and extensively coached actors for university and professional auditions in the Los Angeles area.

In 1991 he moved to New York to pursue graduate studies. Upon the completion of his course work, Ronnie began his second career: teaching. He was Chair of Theatre Arts in Anderson University from 1995 to 2014. In 2007 with Alumni SuzAnne Mathai (MFA Theatre Management, California State University, Long Beach; former Education Director for Long Beach Opera), he co-founded Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project, creating one of the only undergraduate institutions in the country with a model professional company attached to it.

Ronnie is well versed in most of the extant techniques that emerged from Stanislavski's Method (Miesner, Hagen, Adler, Strassberg, etc.), and as such is one of the few acting teachers who knows the lingo from various "schools." The list of Ronnie's mentor's reads like a who's who of American theatre; he studied Improvisation with Paul Sill and Sheldon Patinkin (founders of Second City in Chicago and recognized as the fathers of modern American improve); Viewpoints with Tina Landau & Guy Adkins (founder and ensemble member in the development of the Viewpoints style); Studied the Grotowski Method under Mark Magarian (member of the Polish Lab theatre for three years); Theatre Theory under Dr. Marvin Carlson (recognized as one of the worlds leading semioticians, and America's leading Theatre theorist); Theatre History under Judith Milhouse (one of the world's leading authorities on Restoration theatre); American Popular Entertainment under Brooks McNamara (leading authority on American Popular Entertainment); and Ensemble company structure at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago.I've not been as interested in the number of letters I can collect after my name as I am in finding the leading scholars and practitioners–and growing from those encounters.

Ronnie's acting career spans over three decades; with a resume including such diverse roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Bob Crachett in A Christmas Carol, Mordichi Weiss in A Shayna Maidel, and Lenny in Of Mice and Men. Since coming to Indiana, Ronnie has worked at The Phoenix, ERT, TOTS, Comedy Sportz, The Bonderman Festival with IRT, Arden, AUP and Indy Fringe.

Aside from teaching and performing, Ronnie was president of the board for the Arden Theatre Company, an Indianapolis based Production Company that promotes the work of young Indiana playwrights. As a director, Ronnie has over 30 productions to his credit, ranging from Shakespeare to original and experimental works. He directed the world premiere of Lisa Railsback's Stone Girls Dreaming and the Indiana premier of Lisa Loomer's Living Out.

He is currently Producing Artistic Director of Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project.

What're People Saying About Ronn?

If I was in a training program, I would hope I'd be lucky enough to be in one with Ronn. Bryan Fonseca – Founder and Artistic Director, The Phoenix Theatre
Ronn, you have taught me so much. Not only about the Art but about being a good human. I will continue to break the rules, but only because you taught me that that is okay, and you taught me how to be brave. Kait Burtch
Ronn understands how theatre can transforms people's souls. This work wasn't just about being an actor, a director, a stage manager, or even a lighting designer. It was about connecting to the human experience in the most tender and vulnerable of ways. Nicole Morris
I am deeply thankful for what I learned from Ronn and constantly astounded by the places that I find to use the skills and knowledge (and even a bit of wisdom) I picked up a decade ago. Rachel Engelbrecht
I learned more about myself though improv games than I thought possible and gained insight and skills that continue to help me to this day in all facets of life. Trust in others and in yourself, the ability to "go-with-the-flow," thinking for yourself, originality, responsibility are all things that are valuable regardless of what path one chooses in life. In fact, I still firmly believe Ronn’s improv training should be a required course for everyone. Melissa Kae Fronckowiak
Ronn made grad school a bit disappointing, as I wasn't learning as much as fast as I had with him. Kenny Burgin – Theatre BA '99, MFA '02, Professional Actor, NYC
Ronn is an inspiration not only because of his passion for the craft, but because he continues to train himself, he practices what he preaches, and thoroughly prepares students for the joy and pain of the acting life. Holly Laurent – Theatre BA '96, Principal Actor/Writer Second City
Discovery, play, and truth are things I learned from Ronn. He helped me realize and reiterated the beauty of just being honest and being myself. I will take that with me the rest of my life. Alicia Bush – Theatre Education BA '10, Masters in Educational Theatre, London's Royal College of Speech and Drama
Grad school is awesome, but Ronn was one of the best teachers, mentors, colleague and friend I could have ever asked for. He gave me more than sound training, he gave me direction. That direction is what I now do with my life. Sarah White – BA Theatre '12, current second year MFA student in scenic design, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Ronn Johnstone has created a terrific legacy of folks on and off the stage. Matt Socey

Amy Hayes

All About Amy

Since she was a young child, Amy Hayes has been performing for live audiences, singing on radio jingles, and recording in the studio. She studied acting at Interlochen Center for the Arts, received her B.A. in Theatre and English from Vanderbilt University, and her MFA in Acting from the University of Nebraska. She continues to study at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA and dance any chance she gets.

Favorite roles include Lady Macbeth, Toinette in Moliere's Imaginary Invalid, Frosine in The Miser, Zerbinetta in Scapin, Lucia in A Shayna Maidel, Maria and Olivia in Twelfth Night, Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy, Maria in The Sound of Music, Guildenstern in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Cecily in The Importance of Being Ernest, Gretchen in the Midwest Premier of Chris White's Rhythms at The Phoenix Theatre, and Mrs. Erlene in Lady Windermere's Fan. She also wrote and performed a one woman show called Atomic Pomegranate. Most recently, she played Jasmine in the premier of Chris White's Thaw at Indyfringe, Hermione in The Winter's Tale at Indyfringe for IndyShakes, directed by Richard J. Roberts. She played in No Exit Performance Group's Middletown, and Gertrude in AUP's Hamlet, as well as playing Mrs. Samuelson in the television pilot The Celebrant with Rae Dawn Chong. She also shot the film Reparation due out in 2015. She also played Mama in Wisdom's Tooth's Distratcted, by Lisa Loomer.

Amy has been directing for twenty years, including Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Romulus Linney's Sand Mountain, and Twelfth Night for IndyShakes, which she founded at Indyfringe. She will directed Jason and (Medea) for IndyShakes and Wisdom Tooth in June, 2015. Her movement show ART, which she created, debuted at Indyfringe Festival 2014.

Amy completed Teacher Training at the January Month-Long Intensive at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

This Wisdom Tooth season, she will be directing Michael Jacob's romantic comedy Impressionism and acting in IndyShakes' The Merry Wives of Windsor, featuring Claire Wilcher and directed by Bill Simmons.

Amy has recorded two music CD's (Some Things Never Change and Hidden Graces) both for Spring House. Her book A Collection of Wednesdays was published in 2010 by Zondervan Press.

She has been teaching acting and Shakespeare courses at DePauw and other universities for twenty years. For five years, she directed the Spring Spectacle of Shakespeare at DePauw University, a festival that teaches university students to do outrageous and courageous Shakespeare productions with teenagers. She lives with her husband and three children.

Read an interview with Amy about her thoughts on Shakespeare.

More press on Amy from the IndyStar.

Teaching artist views Indy as fertile ground for actor training - Amy discusses Wisdom Tooth with

What're People Saying About Amy?

Amy Hayes will be one of the best mentors and teachers you will have in your life. She's completely dedicated to the success and growth of her students over time. And she knows her Shakespeare. Emily Terrell–MFA Actor, Chicago
I have had the pleasure of working with Amy Hayes twice. Each time I am amazed by her talent, her beauty both inside and out and, most impressive, her immaculate dedication to her art. She is a force of nature and I feel as if I am one of the lucky few to have been side by side with her on stage and on camera. She is luminous. I love her, admire her, respect her. Rae Dawn Chong
Watching Amy Hayes onstage is to discover why acting is–and always has been–the art form of our humanity. Watching her teach is to stumble upon a master class in being a human being. Kevin G. Coleman–Co-Founder and Director of Education Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA
Working with Amy Hayes was a dream. I was new to theater and she ushered me into a communal, familial atmosphere that has yet to be matched anywhere. Amy teased the grandest nuance out of me, and gave me the space and freedom to explore on my own. There are plays and playwrights I cannot pick up without thinking of her and her wonderful, wonderful, wonderful SELF. Never have I breakfasted, lunched, or dined with a creative adult so giving and emotionally resonant. Amy is an open flame. She's warmth and sincerity and heart without limit. She's fearless. She's mighty. That's all I have to say about Amy Hayes. Alex Thompson–Actor, Director, Filmmaker–Chicago (Irene & Marie, Calumet)
Amy has been an amazing mentor and educator to me. She has the ability to inspire all of her students to believe in themselves and create the best work possible. On top of that, Amy knows her Shakespeare backwards and forwards. Laura Durham–Casting Assistant, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
A friend once told me that magic is theatre and theatre is magic. Blessed are those who make that magic. Amy Hayes is an artist who makes such magic in every facet of her life. Amy is one of those rare individuals who genuinely loves her profession and she is someone you can truly count on. She is not only brilliant, an exceptionally gifted artist and professor, but she inspires others to work hard for their goals, and ultimately, their happiness. Throughout my studies as a student involved in theatre she gave me the assurance, resources, and confidence to believe in my ability to achieve exactly what I want to pursue in this life. Amy goes out of her way to help her students and includes everyone, because she sees peoples' potential. Her awareness and intuition inspires me even still. Amy is unique because she takes the time to listen to her students and notices talents and qualities that they themselves may not notice, as I have experienced first hand. I consider myself lucky to have met Amy Hayes. She has been the grounded source of light and friendship when I've needed it most. Amy believed in my abilities when I had doubts. And for that reason I pushed myself to be my best. Amy teaches in a way that brings her students together. There is a level of respect created among the students as well as respect for the vulnerability that this craft exposes. Amy creates an open and safe space for her students in a way where strangers grow to becoming friends formed from a foundation of trust. Kate Kendrick–MFA Acting student, East 15 Acting School, London

Callie Hartz

All About Callie

Callie Hartz is an Indiana native who has been acting since childhood and began with Young Actors Theatre under Charlotte Kauffman. She quickly segued into television on Fox 59 kids club as afternoon co-host.

She moved to Los Angeles at 19 to study theatre and film. After receiving her BFA in theatre she moved to Vancouver, BC and attended Vancouver Film School where she worked on many blockbuster films as an actor and in production and pre-production. She then moved to NYC where she was on the house improv team at the Laugh Factory Times Square, produced three off-Broadway productions and worked at the SoHo playhouse as the assistant artistic director.

She has been on Comedy Central and toured with the "Just for Laughs" comedy tour with Todd Barry and Rendell, the honey badger. She has collaborated with Julliard and NYU on several projects and worked for the Perry-Mansfield School of Performing Arts. You can also hear her voice in several anime cartoons and on Nintendo games, including My Little Pony, Major-Minor, and The Legend of Zelda.

Upon her return to Indiana, she began working for the "Bob and Tom Show" as both an actor and as their first and only female writer. She also taught acting at Anderson University and now teaches at IUPUI and for the Indiana Repertory Theater. She performs regularly as an actor and comedian locally and nationally.

Callie directed the first communication studies production on IUPUI campus in over 20 years and is about to start the second.

What're People Saying About Callie?

Callie takes a practical approach to acting and theatre. She is well-vetted in the industry and applies her knowledge and experience to the classroom. Callie gives you the tools to succeed in acting, and shows you how you can apply them to every day life. Kayla Duerson
Callie Hartz is a resourceful, knowledgeable, and supportive instructor. She goes above and beyond to help her students succeed. She has a knack for helping a wide range of students depending on their needs. I, personally, have benefited from Ms. Hartz's instruction more times than I can count. Kait Burch

Other Company Members

Rob Johansen

All About Rob

Rob is an Actor/Director/Fight Choreographer/Yoga and Tai Chi Instructor.

In his 20 years in professional theatre, Rob has appeared in 42 productions at the Indiana Repertory Theatre as well as 18 production at the Brown County Playhouse. Additionally, he has also appeared in Four One-Man shows in his career: Underneath the Lintel, After Paul McCartney, Don't Forget Winona, and The Cole Porter Radio Hour, which Rob also wrote.

Rob is a founding member of ShadowApe Theatre Company, a professional theatre troop in Indianapolis. And more recently a performance and project development member of Wisdom Tooth.

With an M.F.A., Acting from Indiana University and a B.A. Wilkes University, Rob has been a guest artist and lecturer at Indiana University Bloomington, as well as teaching acting in the department of Theater and Drama at IUPUI.

In addition to being an Actor, Director and University instructor, Rob is a certified Fight Choreographer, and Yoga/Tai Chi Instructor.