Michelle Haner
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About Michelle Haner


Passionate about international education and the connections between arts, education and social justice, Michelle leads several programs at the French-American International School of San Francisco.

As the Artistic Director of the school's theater program, Back à Dos, she oversees a well-established company that integrates the talents of over 120 student-artists every year.  As the school's Urban Engagement Coordinator, she leads an internship program, curates a salon-speaker series, develops community partnerships and organizes school-wide days of service.

Committed to excellence and innovation for the arts in the international school setting, Michelle has served two 3-year terms as Head of the Arts Department at the French-American International School and completed her PTC "Certificate in International School Leadership"in 2019.


Michelle also speaks and leads workshops related to arts education and community building in the wider professional arena. She spoke on international arts collaborations at conferences organized by Innovate School (Brazil) and the Network of Ensemble Theater (NET). She lead "The Art & Science of Collaboration" workshop at the National Association of Independent School's 2019 annual conference, Re-imagining Independent Schools.

Within her own school community, she has led workshops on effective public speaking,  "White Privilege",  "Theater of the Oppressed", and "Nurturing Empathy through the Performing Arts", as seen in this TEDx talk: "The Empathy Hack."


Committed to international exchange and collaboration, Michelle has also led large-scale projects bringing together local and international artists, educators and citizens. Favorite projects developed with Moïse Touré and the French company, Les Inachevés, include Awaiting Dawn and The Portrait Project.  She has translated the works of a number of leading contemporary French playwrights including Fabrice Melquiot, Leonore Confino and Nathalie Fillion. In 2021, she directed Ann Carson's Antigonick, as one part of a larger collaboration with colleagues in Sri Lanka and Colombia, exploring the themes and figure of Antigone.


Michelle is also an experienced, highly trained professional theater maker. After completing her BA in Social Studies at Harvard (where she was active in the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club), she turned full-time to theater.

She studied at l'Ecole Jacques LeCoq, the Sorbonne (MA) and UCLA (MFA). She was a co-founder of Barcelona's Bantam Theater Company, and has been a member of the The Open Fist Theater company, the Classical Theater Lab, Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA and San Francisco’s foolsFURY theater company.

With Steve Morgan Haskell, she leads Blue Monkey Works, a company dedicated to "exploring life on earth through investigation, collaboration and creation."


While it has been some years since Michelle left Los Angeles (where much of her professional work was in film & TV), you still catch her in re-runs of CSI, Deadwood, Dragnet or check-out a few clips in "DEMO".  In Hollywood, her "niche" was tough, working class characters, as seen in projects with Justin Francis (The Way Down and Modest Mouse's Little Motel music video).

While Michelle thoroughly enjoyed her years in LA, her focus today is on her Berkeley-based family and live theater, international collaboration and arts education in the Bay Area and beyond.

Michelle’s IMDB Listing