Our Mission

The Theater is a sacred place. It is a public forum where actors and audience gather to contemplate what it means to be human. Shakespeare and his contemporaries grappled with that question in some of the English language’s best poetry, leaving behind a canon of compelling stories with universal themes that provide invigorating challenge for actors and an awe-inspiring legacy for audiences.

Classical Actors Ensemble engages audiences by capturing the spirit in which the plays of the English Renaissance were originally performed – with immediacy, passion, and as popular entertainment. By demonstrating why these works of art are considered classic, we freshly prove their relevance in today’s world.


Meet Our Core Artists

Tom Conry


Timothy Daly


Lolly Foy


Jacob Hooper


André Johnson Jr.

Stage Manager

Joseph Papke

Artistic Director

Dietrich Poppen


Miranda Shunkwiler

Stage Manager

Alan Tilson


Joe Wiener


Our Core Values

The Classical Repertoire
We believe that Shakespeare is the greatest playwright of the English language. Nuanced characters, universal truths, and humanistic themes are abundant in English Renaissance dramas; despite this however, most of the non-Shakespearean plays of the 16th and 17th centuries are seldom-produced, or forgotten completely, robbing modern audiences of great stories and a rich theatrical tradition. Whereas our postmodern world tends to truncate and devalue spoken communication, CAE is committed to keeping the classical repertoire alive so that we may re-discover these stories and the power of the spoken word.

Company Development
We believe the ensemble theater company model benefits both the artists and the audience. Cultivating a core ensemble demands a greater long-term investment and responsibility from the artists for the caliber of work they produce and provides greater job security in a precarious field; it encourages audiences to become more connected to the work and growth of the ensemble and creates a positive sense of community. For these reasons, CAE is dedicated to maintaining a core acting ensemble, thereby creating an artistic home for classical actors living in the Twin Cities and nurturing a long-term relationship with our audience.

Theater as popular entertainment
We fear that theater has become a prohibitive art form; most actors can’t make a decent living performing theater and many potential audience members can’t afford ticket prices. CAE is committed to making its productions accessible to the public by offering affordable tickets, with a pricing option comparable to a movie ticket, thereby bringing back the idea of theater as popular entertainment, as it was in Shakespeare’s day, as well as keeping audiences diverse and ever-increasing.

The actor’s growth does not end after graduation from any training program, just as learning does not end after formal schooling. CAE is committed to continued training for its company members to hone our skills of interpreting and revitalizing these texts.  We are also committed to providing educational opportunities for young artists and audiences, to foster future generations.

Artistic Quality
We believe that by practicing the values outlined above, we will have delivered a quality theater experience to our audience in the most truthful, communicative, and generous atmosphere of social intercourse. We aim to be the Twin Cities’ finest classical repertoire company.