The Art of Acting since 1961


Bob Elross (Co-founder of Shelton Studios) performs with Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck in San Francisco and masters their first album in the Oakland Hills.


Jean Shelton (Co-founder of Shelton Studios) moves to New York, begins studying with Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof, signs with legendary talent agent Eileen Ford.


Ms. Shelton marries Broadway actor/director Wendell Phillips a Who’s Who in American Theater, a member of the Group Theatre, and teacher/member of the Actors Studio; a colleague of Stella Adler, Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, Clifford Odets, Orson Welles, and other contemporaries of the New York acting community.


Ms. Shelton studies with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, while performing in New York.


Mr. Elross, a member of the famed SF Actors Workshop, directs their seminal production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible to Mr. Miller’s delight. Rooms with aspiring comic Woody Allen in North Beach district of SF.


Ms. Shelton performs the World Premiere of Tennessee Williams play Hello from Bertha in New York for Tennessee Williams.


Mr. Elross returns to New York to act and direct in Theatre, Film, and Television including; The Fugitive Kind, Splendor in the Grass, The Hustler, and the television show Naked City and The Mortician. He begins directing/acting and teaching at the Actors Repertory Theatre.


Mr. Elross and Ms. Shelton come to San Francisco and found the 14th Street Arts Center with beatnik priest/author Pierre Delattre. This establishes the Shelton Studios on the west coast. Students include; Richard Brautigan, Bill Graham, and Howard Hesseman. First public reading of Trout Fishing in America. First producing job given to Bill Graham.


Traveling troupe is formed where they perform up and down the California central valley.


Playhouse Theatre Company founded in Berkeley. Danny Glover attends classes and performs. A Project of The Crucible is taken to inmates at San Quentin. Alumni found the One Act Theatre Company in San Francisco. Francis Ford Coppla attends classes. Ms. Shelton attends the Academy Awards with the Mario Puzo family for the Godfather. Harold Clurman and Stella Adler come to teach. Faculty members include: Broadway Director Jack Garfien and Broadway Actor/Director Wendell Phillips. Wendell Phillips establishes the Stage Group Theatre in San Francisco. Jean’s daughter, actress Wendy Phillips marries actor Scott Paulin.


Mr. Elross works with Sam Shepard at the Magic Theatre. Wendell Phillips’ Stage Group alumni Stanley Williams founds the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco.


Chris Phillips moves the Jean Shelton Actors Lab (Shelton Studios) to it’s current location at 533 Sutter St. establishing an independent theater community that has flourished for over 37 years.


Alumni Lisa Fruchtman wins an Oscar for The Right Stuff. Mr. Elross performs in Rob Nilssons independent feature Signal 7 to wide critical acclaim.


Alumni Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman win an Oscar for The Times of Harvey Milk. Stage Group alumni Linda Ayres-Frederick founds the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco.


Alumni and son of Wendell Phillips and Jean Shelton, Christian Phillips founds the Actors Theatre of San Francisco and produces, acts, and directs 125 plays in 25 years encouraging numerous acting talents including the exceptional Catherine Castellanos and building two theatres on the 2nd floor of 533 Sutter St.


Alumni Jim Wilson wins the Best Picture Oscar for Dances with Wolves.


Alumni and son of Bob Elross and Jean Shelton, Matt Shelton founds the Shelton Theater and builds two theatres on the lower level of 533 Sutter St.


Matt Shelton directs veteran Bay Area actors Luis Oropeza, Bill English, Paul Santiago, Catherine Castellanos, and Bruce Mackey in Edmond by David Mamet and Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss


Oleg Liptsin (Russian Avant-Garde Director/Actor) establishes artistic relationship with Matt Shelton and the Shelton Theater.


Filmmaker Terry Zwigoff attends classes.


Robert Elross, leading theatre director/actor/teacher and co-founder of the Shelton Studios and numerous theatres including the SF Actors Workshop and Playhouse Co. passes on.


Alumni Bill English and Susi Damilano found the Playhouse Theater Company in San Francisco.


Filmmaker Lourdes Portillo attends classes.


Jean Shelton returns to the stage after a 30 year absence in A Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote and receives critical praise from Horton Foote as he compares her performance to Broadway legend Laurette Taylor.


Matt Shelton establishes film program at Pier 26. Produces several films with filmmakers Joe Graham, Ben Gilbert, and Kindrid Parker.


Shelton Theater continues to produce theater with legendary set designer Steve Coleman.


Extraordinary production of A Streetcar Named Desire opens to wide critical acclaim and is nominated for 5 TBA awards.


Richard Ciccarone adapts Stephen Adly Guirgis play The Last Days of Judas Iscariot per Matt Shelton request and causes an uproar across the national theatre community.


Tommy Wiseau (alumni) and Greg Saestero (alumni) recreate the story of their film, The Room, with actor James Franco playing Tommy and actor Dave Franco playing Greg and Mealnie Griffith playing Jean Shelton in The Disaster Artist.


Will Marchetti directs Baby Doll by Tennessee Williams for the 25 year anniversary. Matt Shelton, Julie Dimas-Lockfeld, Joe Napoli, and Briana Walsh perform to critical praise.


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