The Theater and Performance Program trains well-rounded theater makers who study the history, theory, and contemporary practice of theater and performance; hone their technical abilities as writers, performers, and directors; and create their own productions and performances under the mentorship of master artists and teachers. Students are encouraged to explore the intersection of theater and performance with dance, music, the visual arts, film, and literature, as well as with the sciences and humanities. They work side by side with a faculty of leading professional theater and performance artists; in addition, a wide range of visiting artists from this country and abroad bring a global perspective of cutting-edge theater and performance to the Bard campus.
Director of Theater & Performance
Miriam Felton-DanskyDirector of Theater & Performance
B.A., Barnard College; M.F.A., D.F.A., Yale University. Research and teaching interests include performance in the digital age; the contemporary and historical avant-gardes; and political theater and performance. She is a contributing editor of Theater, where she served as guest co-editor of special issues "Digital Feelings" (2016), “Digital Dramaturgies” (2012), and "Censorship and Contemporary Theater" (2008). Her essays and articles have appeared in Theatre Journal, TDR, PAJ, and Theater, as well as The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater (2015). She has been a theater critic for the Village Voice since 2009. Awards received include a Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Research Fellowship, Yale Dissertation Fellowship, and Theater magazine fellowships. At Bard since 2012.
Visiting Playwright in Theater & Performance
Brooke BermanVisiting Playwright in Theater & Performance
Brooke Berman is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker and memoirist whose work has been produced and published across the US and abroad. Originally trained as an actor and solo performer in the experimental theater, Brooke began performing her own work on the Lower East Side of Manhattan before receiving formal training in playwriting from the Juilliard School and Maria Irene Fornes. Her play Hunting and Gathering,which premiered at Primary Stages, directed by Leigh Silverman, was named one of the Ten Best of 2008 by New York Magazine. She is currently developing her play 1300 LAFAYETTE EAST with Leigh Silverman and is in pre-production for her feature POLLY FREED, based on her play OUT OF THE WATER.
Brooke’s plays have been produced and developed across the US at theaters including: Primary Stages, The 2nd Stage, Steppenwolf, The Play Company, Soho Rep, Williamstown Theater Festival, Naked Angels, MCC, New Dramatists, New Georges, The Womens Project, The Humana Festival, and The Bay Area Playwrights Foundation. In the UK, her work has been developed at The Royal Court Theatre, The National Theatre Studio and Pentabus. Her plays are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Playscripts, Backstage Books and Smith & Kraus.
As a filmmaker, Brooke wrote and directed the short film, UGGS FOR GAZA. UGGS premiered at the Aspen International ShortsFest where it won an Audience Special Recognition award and later played festivals including Toronto and Santa Fe. ALL SAINTS DAY, a short film she wrote, directed by Will Frears, won Best Narrative Short at the Savannah Film Festival and played at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008. She adapted her play SMASHING for Natalie Portman and has written features for The Mark Gordon Company, Vox Films, Red Crown, and Fugitive Films.
Brooke’s memoir, No Place Like Home, published by Random House, was called “Highbrow/Brilliant” by New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix. The book made Elle.com’s “Top Ten Summer Reads,” LA Magazine’s summer reading roundup and the EW piece “If You Like GIRLS, You’ll Love …”
Brooke is the recipient of a Berilla Kerr Award, a Helen Merrill Award, two Francesca Primus Awards, two LeCompte du Nuoy awards and a commissioning grant from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. She was a resident playwright at New Dramatists, where she served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, earned a Calloway Award, and developed countless plays. She has received support for her work from the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo and commissions from Arielle Tepper Productions and CTC in Minneapolis.
Brooke attended Barnard College and is a graduate of The Juilliard School. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, PEN and an alumna of the MCC Playwrights Coalition and New Dramatists. As a teacher, she was a guest artist in the New York City public school system through MCC Theater, and has taught at ESPA, Eugene Lang College, UCSB, Fordham University and Barnard College as well as privately through the “24 With 5 Teaching Collective” which she co-created at New Dramatists. She spent five years as the Director of the Playwrights Unit for MCC Theater’s Youth Company, a free after-school program for NYC youth. She has mentored with the Young Storytellers Foundation in Los Angeles and Young Playwrights in New York.
Distinguished Artist in Residence in Theater & Performance;
Tania El KhouryDistinguished Artist in Residence in Theater & Performance;
Director, OSUN Center for Human Rights & the Arts. Tania El Khoury is a distinguished artist in residence in Theater & Performance and the director of the OSUN Center for Human Rights & the Arts at Bard. She is a live artist whose work focuses on audience interactivity and is concerned with the political potential of such encounters. Tania’s work has been translated to multiple languages and shown in 32 countries across six continents. She is the recipient of the Soros Art fellowship and the Bessies Award for Outstanding Production 2019, the International Live Art Prize 2017, the Total Theatre Innovation Award, and the Arches Brick Award 2011. Tania is associated with Forest Fringe in the UK and is the co-founder of Dictaphone Group, a research and performance collective in Beirut creating site-specific performances that question our relationship to the city and its public space. Her PhD thesis in Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London, was funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council and was supervised by both the Geography and Drama departments. In 2019, she co-curated the 2019 edition of the Live Arts Bard Biennial at the Fisher Center; Where No Wall Remains: an international festival about borders included nine newly commissioned projects by artists from the Middle East and the Americas.
Jack Ferver is a New York based writer, choreographer, and director. His genre defying performances, which have been called “so extreme that they sometimes look and feel like exorcisms” (The New Yorker), explore the tragicomedy of the human psyche. Ferver’s “darkly humorous” (The New York Times) works interrogate and indict an array of psychological and socio-political issues, particularly in the realms of sexual orientation, gender, and power struggles. His visionary direction blurs boundaries between fantastic theatrics and stark naturalism, character and self, humor and horror.
Ferver’s works have been presented in New York City at the New Museum; The Kitchen; The French Institute Alliance Française, as part of Crossing the Line; Abrons Arts Center; Gibney Dance; Performance Space 122; the Museum of Arts and Design, as part of Performa 11; Danspace Project; and Dixon Place. Domestically and internationally, Ferver has been presented by the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College (NY); American Dance Institute (MD); Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (IL); Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (OR); the Institute of Contemporary Art at MECA (ME); the Institute of Contemporary Art (MA); Diverse Works in collaboration with the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston (TX); and Théâtre de Vanves (France).
His work has been critically acclaimed in The New York Times, La Monde, Artforum, The New Yorker, Time Out NY, Modern Painters, The Financial Times, The Village Voice, and ArtsJournal. Ferver has received residencies and fellowships from the Maggie Allesee National Center of Choreography at Florida State (2012); Baryshnikov Arts Center (2013); the Watermill Center (2014); the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art (2014); and Live Arts Bard, the commissioning and residency program of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College (2014); and Abrons Art Center (2014-2015). He is a 2016 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant.
He teaches at Bard College and is guest faculty at NYU. He has also taught at SUNY Purchase, and has set choreography at The Juilliard School. As an actor he has appeared in numerous films and television series, including an upcoming series for HBO. He and actress Parker Posey have a new media content project to be released in 2017.
Professor in the Arts
Neil GaimanProfessor in the Arts
Neil Gaiman is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. His work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages. His most recent adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Laneis a #1 New York TimesBestseller; other adult works include Neverwhere, Stardust, Anansi Boys,and Good Omens(with Terry Pratchett); the award-winning Sandmanseries of graphic novels; and the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. His novels for younger readers include Coralineand The Graveyard Book, which was awarded the Newbery Medal, the highest honor given children’s literature, as well as the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book and the Hugo Award for Best Novel. The awarding of the 2010 UK Carnegie Medal makes Gaiman the first author ever to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal with the same book. His most recent book, Fortunately, the Milk(“the funniest work of literature since Catcher in the Milk”) has been on bestseller lists since publication, and a recent reading and performance of the entire book sold out Central Hall in Westminster. His work has been adapted for film, television, and radio, including Stardust(2007), directed by Matthew Vaughan, and the animated feature film Coraline(2009), which secured a BAFTA nomination for Best Animated Film and was nominated for an Oscar in the same category. In March 2013, BBC Radio broadcast a new six-episode production of Neverwhere, with a star-studded cast that includes James McAvoy, David Harewood, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Romola Garai. Gaiman has written and directed for film and television, and his 2011 episode of Doctor Who, “The Doctor’s Wife,” caused The Times(London) to describe him as “a hero” and won the Hugo, Ray Bradbury, and SFX awards. Make Good Art, the text of a commencement speech Gaiman delivered at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, was published in a volume designed by renowned artist Chip Kidd; his recent speech in support of libraries and reading will be published as a book in 2014. More than 1.8 million people follow him on Twitter. Born in Hampshire, he currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, the rock star Amanda Palmer, with whom he sometimes performs.
Lynn originated the role of Hannah Gabriel in renown playwright Richard Nelson’s three-play cycle,THE GABRIELS: Election Year in The Life of One Familyat The Public Theater in New York City. Lynn performed in the full cycle of THE GABRIELS: Election Year in the Life of One Familyat The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., as well the 2017 international tour through Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, England and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. B.A., Middlebury College; M.F.A., New York University; Acting includes principle roles in the following Off-Broadway New York theaters: Lincoln Center Theater, The Public Theater (Several, Richard III, 2012), Irish Repertory Theatre, Classic Stage Company (Tony Kushner’s The Illusion), Circle Repertory Company, as well as numerous workshops at HERE, The Culture Project, and The Public Theater. Regionally, Lynn has performed plays at Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Stage & Film; Member of In The Continuum; film: Hamlet; television: Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU. Cofounder, TrueNorth Theater Project. Also studied at Moscow Arts Theater School. At Bard since 2000.
Artistic Director of the Fisher Center at Bard
Gideon LesterArtistic Director of the Fisher Center at Bard
Gideon Lester is Artistic Director of the Fisher Center at Bard and Senior Curator at the Open Society University Network’s Center for the Arts and Human Rights. A festival director, creative producer, and dramaturg, he has collaborated with and commissioned a broad range of American and international artists across disciplines, including Romeo Castellucci, Justin Vivian Bond, Brice Marden, Sarah Michelson, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Claudia Rankine, Kaija Saariaho, and Anna Deavere Smith. Recent and current projects include Where No Wall Remains, an international festival on borders (co-curated with Tania El Khoury); Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma! (Tony award); Pam Tanowitz’s Four Quartets; Ronald K. Brown and Meshell Ndegeocello’s Grace and Mercy; Ashley Tata’s Mad Forest, and Peter Sellars’ upcoming “This body is so impermanent…” He founded and directs Live Arts Bard, the Fisher Center’s residency and commissioning program. He was previously co-curator of Crossing the Line Festival, and Acting Artistic Director at the American Repertory Theatre. He was director of Bard’s undergraduate Theater & Performance Program from 2012-2020, and has previously held faculty positions at Columbia and Harvard. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, and a diploma in dramaturgy from Harvard’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training, where he was a Fulbright and Frank Knox scholar.
M.F.A., CUNY Brooklyn College. Playwright and dramaturg. Plays produced Off-Broadway and nationally. Seven plays published in various anthologies. Playwriting fellowships: New York Foundation for the Arts, Van Lier, McNight. Recipient: Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, Rockefeller Bellagio Residency,Critic Beinecke Playwright-in-Residence at Yale School of Drama, Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production Fund (twice), Asian Cultural Council Fellowship. Resident playwright, New Dramatists. Coartistic director, Crossing Jamaica Avenue, a New York–based theater company; board member, ART/N.Y. At Bard since 1999.
Visiting Artist in Theater & Performance
Lindsey J. L. RockettVisiting Artist in Theater & Performance
B.F.A. Marymount Manhattan College, M.F.A. ART/MXAT at Harvard University. An NYC based actor, singer, teaching-artist and corporate coach, Lindsey’s performance credits include everything from off-Broadway, international and immersive theater to commercial voice-over. Professionally, she has had the pleasure of working with Sarah Benson, Neil Gaiman, The Lisps and Enthuse Theatre. Current projects include: CATLADY a storytelling piece exploring the theme of toxic masculinity. Liberatore is a certified yoga instructor (500 RYT YogaWorks), Roll Model ® Method body worker and anatomy teacher. She leads mindfulness meditation courses for companies all over the US and is a devoted student of Buddhism. Lindsey teaches from the perspective that curiosity and courageous self-exploration will yield a pathway to clear communication, uncluttered creative impulse and interconnectedness.
Visiting Artist in Theater & Performance
Emilio RojasVisiting Artist in Theater & Performance
Emilio Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily with the body in performance, using video, photography, installation, public interventions and sculpture. He holds an MFA in Performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in Film from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada. As a queer latinx immigrant with indigenous heritage, it is essential to his practice to engage in the postcolonial ethical imperative to uncover, investigate, and make visible and audible undervalued or disparaged sites of knowledge, narratives, and individuals. He utilizes his body in a political and critical way, as an instrument to unearth removed traumas, embodied forms of decolonization, migration and poetics of space. His research based practice is heavily influenced by queer and feminist archives, border politics, botanical colonialism, and defaced monuments. Besides his artistic practice, he is also a translator, community activist, yoga teacher, and anti-oppression facilitator with queer, migrant and refugee youth.
His work has been exhibited in exhibitions and festivals in the US, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Austria, England, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Colombia, and Australia, as well as institutions like The Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Ex-Teresa Arte Actual Museum and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, The Vancouver Art Gallery, The Surrey Art Gallery, The DePaul Art Museum, and The Botin Foundation. He is represented by Jose de la Fuente in Spain, and Gallleriapiu in Italy.
B.A., University of Pennsylvania; M.F.A., New York University. Work produced at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Dance Theater Workshop, Home for Contemporary Theater and Art, Theater for the New City, and Public Theater (workshop), all New York; Flynn Theater, Burlington; Berkshire Theatre Festival; A Contemporary Theater, Seattle; Institut International de la Marionnette, Charleville-Mézi ères, France; Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh; Wits Theater, Johannesburg; and at Juilliard Drama Division, NYU Graduate Acting Program, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory, others. Associate artistic director, DearKnows Theater Company (1989–91). Recipient: National Endowment for the Arts Director Fellowship Award; Fox Foundation Fellowship Award. Has taught in Juilliard Drama Division, Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film at SUNY Purchase, Fordham University Theater Program, and at Colorado College and University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. At Bard since 2005.
Visiting Artist in Theater & Performance
Ashley TataVisiting Artist in Theater & Performance
Ashley Tata makes multi-media works of theater, contemporary opera, performance, cyberformance, live music and immersive experiences. These have been presented in venues and festivals throughout the US and internationally including Theatre for a New Audience, LA Opera, Austin Opera, The Miller Theater, National Sawdust, EMPAC, BPAC, The Crossing the Line Festival, the Holland Festival, The Prelude Festival, The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and the Fisher Center at Bard. Tata's work has been called “fervently inventive,” by Ben Brantley in the New York Times, “extraordinarily powerful” by the LA Times and a notable production of the decade by Alex Ross of the New Yorker. Since the pandemic-induced theatrical shut down, Tata has continued to make, directing a live cyberformance of Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest which transferred from Bard College’s Fisher Center, Off-Broadway to TFANA, a Zoom-accessed Virtual Nightclub and dance party called The Boot with Beth Morrison Projects, a music video for rock band Sylvan Esso which aired on Colbert’s YouTube Covid channel, a physically-distanced adherent, landscape-integrating adaptation of John Luther Adams’s Ten Thousand Birds with ensemble Alarm Will Sound at PS21 in Chatham, NY and a multimedia live-streaming event from National Sawdust to mark the release of the quarantine-created album Con Alma with Paola Prestini and Magos Herrera and broadcast to Canal 22 in Mexico and WNET All-Arts. Tata also works in the realm of immersive entertainment, escape rooms and advertising and was the Creative Director of Immersive Escape Productions devising environmental, multi-platform, immersive escape rooms, created an experience for musician St. Vincent tailored for the drop of her album, Masseduction and led the team that was awarded a gold medal in Medical, Marketing & Media awards in 2018 for an immersive escape experience tailored for the release of a cholesterol-reducing drug for Amgen. Tata has earned an MFA in directing at Columbia University and has taught, guest taught or been a guest artist at Columbia University, Mannes School of Music, Harvard University, MIT, Marymount Manhattan College, Colgate College, Bard College and LIU Post. Member of the Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors’ Lab, the recipient of the Lotos Foundation's Emerging Artist Award in Arts and Sciences and a winner of the 2017 Robert L. B. Tobin Director/Designer grant. Tata is currently in residence at 153 Coffey a multi-disciplinary warehouse space in Red Hook, Brooklyn and one of the inaugural members of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s residency cohort. www.tatatime.live ig/twitter: @tatatime_
Visiting Artist in Theater & Performance
Geoff SobelleVisiting Artist in Theater & Performance
Geoff Sobelle is a theatre artist dedicated to the “sublime ridiculous.” He is the co-artistic director of rainpan 43, a renegade absurdist outfit devoted to creating original actor-driven performance works. Using illusion, film and out-dated mechanics, R43 creates surreal, poetic pieces that look for humanity where you least expect it and find grace where no one is looking. R43’s shows include: all wear bowlers (Innovative Theatre Award, Drama Desk nomination), Amnesia Curiosa, machines machines machines machines machines machines machines (OBIE award – design), and Elephant Room (commissioned by Center Theatre Group). His independent work includes Flesh and Blood & Fish and Fowl and The Object Lesson (commissioned by Lincoln Center 3). He has been a company member of Philadelphia’s Pig Iron Theatre Company since 2001. Pig Iron works include: Gentlemen Volunteers, Mission to Mercury, Shut Eye, James Joyce is Dead and so is Paris, Hell Meets Henry Halfway, Chekhov Lizardbrain and Welcome to Yuba City. All of his work to date has premiered at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival before touring nationally and internationally. As a teacher, Geoff has led workshops all over the world in devised theatre creation, physical approach to character, clown and “jeu.” He is a core teacher at the Pig Iron school in Philadelphia (APT) and is on faculty at Bard College. His work has been supported by the Independence Foundation, the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, the Wyncote Foundation, US Arts International, the Princeton Atelier and the New England Foundation for the Arts. He is a 2006 Pew Fellow and is a 2009 Creative Capital grantee. He is a graduate of Stanford University, and trained in physical theatre at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France.
Visiting Artist in Theater & Performancensun@bard.edu
Nilaja SunVisiting Artist in Theater & Performancensun@bard.edu
Nilaja Sun is an actor, playwright and teaching artist most known for her Obie award winning solo piece "No Child…" which had its initial one year off Broadway run at the Barrow Street Theatre and was recently revived there in an extended run. For her creation and performance of "No Child..." and its subsequent national tour, Nilaja garnered 21 awards including: an Obie Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards including the John Gassner Playwriting Award for Outstanding New American Play, a Theatre World Award, the Helen Hayes Award, two NAACP Theatre Awards, and was awarded the soloNOVA Award for Artist of the Year by terraNOVA Collective. “No Child…” is published and has been licensed out to over 50 theatres nationally since 2008. She has also been seen on 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, Unforgettable, Louie, The International, and Rubicon and is creating a new solo piece commissioned by Epic Theatre Ensemble. A native of the Lower East Side, she is a Princess Grace Award winner, and has worked proudly as a teaching artist in New York City for 15 years.
B.A. Wesleyan University, M.A. Smith College. Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Voice & Vision Theater, a New York City based Theater Company that develops and produces new plays and performance works by women. Jean has developed and directed many new works for V&V including Chiori Miyagawa’s I Have Been to Hiroshima Mon Amour, which was produced in 2009 at The Ohio Theater, The Good Life, a one-woman show by Yeardley Smith at The Culture Project (NYC), Ana Traina’s In Audela (The Culture Project), Dulcitius by medieval playwright Hrotswitha of Gandersheim at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the Cloisters, Maricela de la Luz Lights the World by Jose Rivera at the Connelly Theater and Wendy Kesselman’s The Black Monk. Other directing credits include Colette Burson’s A Dry and Thirsty Land at HERE Arts Center, The Notebook by Wendy Kesselman at Boston’s Wheelock Theater, Hans in Luck by librettist Margie Duffield and composer Dan Ashkenaze at BRIC (Brooklyn) and new works at New York Stage & Film Company, Manhattan Class Company, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) and the Mabou Mines/Suite. She was Associate Director of the 1998 Broadway revival of The Diary of Anne Frank, and Twelve Dreams at Lincoln Center Theater, both directed by James Lapine, and is a member of New York Theatre Workshop’s “Usual Suspects,” The League of Professional Theater Women and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society; and is an alum of Lincoln Center Theater’s Director’s Lab. In 2008 she received the Lucille Lortel Women’s Visionary Award from the League of Professional Theater Women. She has been on the faculty of the Bard College Theater and Performance Program since 2000.