Christine Walter, seated to the right, has been appointed the new Director of Education for the Los Altos Stage Company. She’s been a frequent performer on shows like ‘Steel Magnolias’ last summer. Walter’s first job after college was performing at the California Theater Center in Sunnyvale and running a conservatory. She also has Cindy Weisberg and Amanda Le Guen standing from her left, and sitting to her left is Michelle Skinner. (Photo by Richard Mayer)
Judging by her impressive theatrical background, the Los Altos Stage Company hired Christine Walter as the right person to help develop their youth programs as their new Director of Education.
Walter’s experience includes running the conservatory of the California Theater Center, a Sunnyvale-based company that closed in 2017 after 41 years. He also served as the education director of the Mountain He View’s Peninsula He Youth Theater. For the past 22 years, she has been a middle school drama teacher at Palo Alto’s Castilian School.
“After all that time in Castile, I was ready for a new challenge,” she says. It means I can continue to direct, act and write for.”
LASC Executive Artistic Director Gary Landis said: “She has had a long and successful career in arts education and is widely respected throughout the local arts and education community. We could not have asked for a more qualified person to plan our future growth.
Walter is already a familiar face to audiences at the Los Altos Stage Company (LASC). Over the past few years, she has appeared in LASC productions of ‘The Company’, ‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’, ‘Admissions’, ‘Steel Magnolia’ and ‘The Strange Case of Dogs at Night’.
In the latter production, Walter shared the stage with his son Max Mare, who played Christopher. She played his teacher. Walter’s husband, Chris Mare, is also an actor.
The couple met in 1996 and were cast in a production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ on an island in the middle of Lake Erie. Since then, the only time the two have worked together is her one time at the annual “Pair Slice” short play program at the Pair Theater in Mountain View.
Walter says Max was “genetically destined for acting” because his parents are actors. He has a bachelor’s degree in acting from Roosevelt University and will play Harold in his LASC production, Harold and Maude, which opens in April.
Chris Mahle plays frequently for the Palo Alto Players (he was recently seen in that company’s production of “The Play that Goes Wrong”), but he also has a day job: he teaches middle school drama in the Palo Alto Unified School District.
Walter graduated from Santa Clara University, majoring in theater with an emphasis on acting. While there, she appeared in many shows, with Tom Stoppard’s “On the Razzle” being her favorite, she says.
Her first job after college was at the California Theater Center, where she performed in her hometown of Sunnyvale, toured the Missoula Children’s Theater for a year, and performed Pinocchio with schoolchildren across the country.
She began writing plays when she was the Educational Director of the Peninsula Youth Theater. “I helped adapt children’s books, but they were hard to find, so I decided to try and write my own,” she recalls.
She is now proud to have published four adaptations from Samuel French (now Concord Theatricals).
Her new position at LASC is chock-full of ideas she wants to implement. “We want to create more classes for all ages during the school year, both after school and on weekends,” she says. “I also have an interest in teaching young students, internships on adult her shows, and starting a teen board of high school students interested in creating a community of teen her artists in Los Altos.
“It would be great if we could read to the library, sing at street fairs, or raise awareness for youth theater,” she adds.