Michelle Haner
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About Michelle Haner


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

As the school's Urban Engagement Coordinator, she leads internships, partnerships, days of service, and a salon-speaker series.

As the Artistic Director of the Back à Dos company, she oversees a 4-show season integrating the talents of four teaching-artists, guest artists and over 120 student-artists every year. 

Committed to excellence and innovation for the arts in the international school setting, Michelle has served two 3-year terms as Head of Creative & Performing Arts at the French-American International School.

She completed her "Certificate in International School Leadership", at the PTC in 2019. 


Michelle also speaks and leads workshops related to arts education and community building in the wider professional arena.

She has been an invited speaker on international arts collaborations at conferences organized by Innovate School (Brazil) and the Network of Ensemble Theater (NET). She led "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 as well as "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. For example, far-reaching projects developed with Moïse Touré and Les Inachevés include Awaiting Dawn and The Portrait Project

In 2021, she spearheaded an international collaboration with colleagues in Sri Lanka and Colombia, exploring the themes and figure of Antigone with students, teachers and local artists. 

Fluent in Spanish and French, Michelle has translated the works of a number of leading contemporary French playwrights including Fabrice Melquiot, Leonore Confino and Nathalie Fillion.


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, you still catch her in re-runs of CSI, Deadwood and Dragnet.  In Hollywood, her "niche" was tough, working class characters, as seen in projects with independent film-makers like Justin Francis (ex. The Way Down and Modest Mouse's Little Motel music video, which has been seen by over 4 million worldwide).

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