The Faculty

Stephen WanghSTEPHEN WANGH is a playwright, director, and teacher of acting.  He studied with Jerzy Grotowski in 1967. For 20 years Steve taught acting in the Experimental Theatre Wing at NYU. Then, for seven years he was Guest Faculty at the MFA Theater: Contemporary Performance program at Naropa University where he taught physical acting and pedagogy.  This year he has been teaching in Nepal, Singapore and Thailand. He is Arts Professor Emeritus at NYU.

Steve is the author of 15 plays, and was one of the writers of The People’s Temple (Glickman award: Best play in the Bay Area, 2005).  He was Associate Writer for The Laramie Project (Emmy nomination 2002), and dramaturge of Moisés Kaufman’s Gross Indecency, the three trials of Oscar Wilde.

He is the author of two books: An Acrobat of the Heart, a physical approach to acting inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski (Vintage, Random House, 2000), and, The Heart of Teaching: Empowering Students in the Performing Arts, (Routledge, 2012).

Erica FaeERICA FAE brings stories of powerful, radical women from history to stage & screen. Her first feature film (as writer/director) To Keep the Light is a narrative inspired by true stories of women lighthouse keepers in the 1860’s. It screened in over 20 festivals and was awarded the prestigious FIPRESCI prize (Int’l Critics Prize) at the Internationales Filmfestival Mannheim-Heidelberg, two Best Narrative Feature awards (Ojai Film Festival and Port Townsend Film Festival), Best Emerging Filmmaker prize (St. Louis International Film Festival’s New Filmmaker Forum), and two Best Cinematography awards (Woods Hole & Las Vegas).

Fae’s shorts have won Best Short and Best Actress prizes, and her play (co-written with Jill A. Samuels), Take What Is Yours was on suffragist Alice Paul, and was a Critics’ Pick in The New York Times and Backstage. As actor, she’s had recurring roles on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Doll & Em, and has performed in numerous films & theatre productions (among them Synecdoche New York, Little ChildrenThe Savages and work with Martha Clarke). She is co-founder of a theatre company “anecdota”, which was just awarded a two-year Archive Residency at IRT/The New OHIO.

Fae is in development on her second feature film, which was invited to participate in the inaugural Finance Lab of the Mayor’s Office of NYC; and she also teaches Physical Acting at Yale School of Drama and The New School for Drama’s MFA Programs, and Directing Actors at Columbia’s MFA Film Program.

Wendy vanden HeuvelWENDY VANDEN HEUVEL currently works as an actress, teacher, and producer in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. She has taught at New York University’s Experimental Theater Wing, Fordham University, A.C.T., The Barrow Group, and at Our Little Roses Orphanage in Honduras.

In 1991 she was a member of Jerzy Grotowski’s Objective Drama Project at Irvine University. She has worked as an actor in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and regionally, some acting credits include: Resurrection Blues by Arthur Miller (Guthrie Theater), Beckett Shorts directed by Joseph Chaikin, Mud (Magic Theater), A Movie Star has to Star in Black and White (Signature Theater), and Sex in a Coma directed by Lee Breuer. She has worked with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Rising Phoenix Repertory both as an actress and a producer and is a member of The Lake Lucille Chekhov Project created by Melissa Kievman and Brian Mertes.

Wendy is curretly in post production with The Chekhov Film Project –The Seagull, and acting in three commissions of original plays by female playwrights produced with Rising Phoenix Repertory. She is the Director of piece by piece productions, and can be seen in the soon to be released films , Burn Country with James Franco and Melissa Leo, and Under The Silver Lake with Andrew Garfield. In 2012 she was awarded the TBG Outstanding Contribution to Theater Award and is a member of The 52nd Street Project.

Raina von WaldenburgRAÏNA VON WALDENBURG (teacher, actor, director and writer) recently moved to Vancouver after having been full-time faculty at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she taught a physical approach to acting based on the work of Jerzy Grotowski at the Experimental Theatre Wing for 17 years. She is currently faculty at the University of Fraser Valley’s Theatre Department. For thirty years Raïna has been teaching international workshops in Physical Acting, Embodied Presence, and Devising; she has served as mentor, facilitator, and dramaturg on numerous projects.

Raïna received her MFA in creative writing from Goddard College, and her BFA in acting from New York University where she trained under Stephen Wangh, and Ryszard Cieslak, Grotowski’s principal actor and protégée. Raïna served as research assistant and editor for Stephen Wangh’s book An Acrobat of the Heart: A physical approach to acting inspired by the work of Jerzy Grotowski.

The recipient of the 2011 Distracted Globe grant, Raïna produced her one-woman show Oysters Orgasms Obituaries at La MaMa E.T.C. in NYC for which she received the 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award nomination for “Outstanding Solo Performance” and the 2014 Persephone Award for "Innovative Teaching and Performance".

Raïna performed at various venues in NYC for the past two decades with innovative companies such as Witness Relocation and Actors Without Borders. She has worked closely with director Zishan Ugurlu as principal actor in productions at La MaMa E.T.C. that include Oysters Orgasms Obituaries, The Father, Request Programme, The Last Supper, and Enescu and Youth.  Raïna is currently performing her solo show My Friend Andrea in Vancouver. She is also a published poet, visual artist and mother.

Producer

Chris NicholsCHRIS NICHOLS is a theatre director/producer and multimedia web/graphic artist. He has conceived and directed thirteen original works for the theatre, each exploring sociopolitical themes through the deconstruction of classic texts and forms. Creations include: DystopiaThe Trial of KARCANA: Cycle of the FoolIconShadow of the Invisible ManUbu 2000, and Tamatebako {the box}. Chis is one of the founding members of Synaesthetic Theatre.

Chris has created multimedia presentations for New York University, The Public Theater, and Chamber Music America, to name a few. Through Synaesthetic Theatre, Chris has produced workshops for Stephen Wangh, Erica Fae, Wendell Beavers, Jonathan Hart Makwaia, Saskia Hegt, and others. He has taught workshops ranging from Viewpoints to Grotowski-based physical acting to collaborative piece making. Chris is the father of two young boys.