A forge is a workshop for a blacksmith. Forges are full of hard work, consistency, and craftsmanship. It's not easy molding metal. Hammering away at a skill isn't for those who give up easily. The Forge is for those who chase dreams, make careers out of thin air, and smirk in the faces of those who said they couldn't.
If you're looking for a school that will pat you on the head and tell you good job, whether you're getting better or not, we're not for you. We are here to train the actors and filmmakers who are ready to do the hard work, stay consistent, and fight to be better at their craft day after day.
OWNER + DIRECTOR + TEACHER
Sarah Clark is a Chicago-based filmmaker and a proud member of the Casting Society of America. She’s the owner and casting director of Compass Casting, the founder of The Forge and the lead producer at Plain White Mug.
Sarah feels fortunate to have worked with directors like Terrence Malick, John Wells, Nick Cassavetes and many more during her 13-year career. With thousands of auditions under her belt on national commercials to indie films, music videos to print shoots, she’s seen it all in the casting office.
Her career started by scrubbing toilets at the casting office she came up through. She still scrubs toilets, she just does it at the studio she owns. When she’s not casting or teaching she’s working as an award-wining director and an Emmy-nominated producer.
TEACHER + COACH
Chandra Michaels is an award winning actor and producer based in Chicago, Illinois.
A member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, some of her recent television credits include; Chicago Med, Katy Keene, the EMMY winning The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and the CW’s Dynasty. She’s set to appear in Amazon Studio’s Utopia in early 2021. Besides her television work Chandra has booked numerous national and regional commercials, industrials, web series and independent short and feature films. She’s also performed locally on improv stages throughout the Chicago area.
She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, two kids and the family mutt.
Brenna DiStasio is a Co-Founder and Governing Ensemble member of The Story Theatre where she works as a producer, in casting, and new play development. She holds her BFA in Acting from the University of Arizona. Film and television credits include Night Sky (Amazon/Legendary), Chicago Med (NBC), Christmas...Again?! (Disney Channel), and The Proposal (Indie). Commercial credits include Humira, Frigo Cheese, AAA, Carmex, Modelo Chelada, and Ace Hardware. She has worked with Northlight Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Rasaka Theatre, and Arizona Theatre Company, among others. Some of her favorite shows include How I Learned to Drive, The Book of Will, Julius Caesar, Uncle Vanya, Other Desert Cities, and Lend Me a Tenor. Brenna is represented by Gray Talent Group.
A proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Maura has enjoyed working on television in the role of Stats on the USA comedy series SIRENS, in guest roles on NBC’s CHICAGO MED, CHICAGO FIRE and CHICAGO JUSTICE, Comedy Central's SOUTH SIDE, Adult Swim's JOE PERA TALKS WITH YOU, ABC’s MIND GAMES, and opposite Kelsey Grammer on BOSS on the Starz Network. She appears in a lead role in NO RESOLUTION, the debut feature film written and directed by Cursive and The Good Life front man Tim Kasher.
Maura has enjoyed many roles on stage as well at Steppenwolf, Rivendell, Theatre Wit, The Gift, and Court Theatres. She is represented by Gray Talent Group and Artists First Management.
Mara has worked professionally as an actress, casting director and teacher. She is best known for casting the series Gilmore Girls (with partner Jami Rudofsky) and years of pilots that never saw the light of day.
In 2008 she started an actor's collective which offered eclectic acting and writing class content to professional actors and featured industry professionals (James Gunn, Danny Strong, Wendi McClendon-Covey) guesting and leading some classes. Some of Mara's collective members include Jerrika Hinton, Katie Lowes, Elizabeth Chomko and Sean Gunn.
In 2017 she became an adjunct faculty member in the BFA Acting For Film and Television Department at the performing arts college Hussian College In Studio (formerly known as Studio School).
Additionally, three of her short plays have been produced by Collaboraction Theatre's Sketchbook Series. Mara splits her time between Los Angeles and Chicago.
STUDIO MANAGER + COACH
Eve is originally from Colorado, graduated with her BFA in Actor Training from The Hartt School in Connecticut, and is now a casting associate at Compass Casting, freelance screenwriter, and studio manager at The Forge.
Her history and education in performance make her an understanding and encouraging presence at the studio, where she aims to make every artist feel at ease.
When not in the office, Eve can be found over-consuming cheesy horror movies, playing video games or making a really good cup of coffee.