Nancy Smithner, Ph.D.

Nancy Smithner, Ph.D. (she/her) / Clown, Comedy, and Improvisation

is a director and devisor with expertise in acting and directing styles, physical theatre techniques, clowning and the devising of original works. She has been teaching at Circle in the Square since 2006. She is a Clinical Professor in the Program in Educational Theatre at NYU where she teaches acting, directing, physical theatre, play theory, applied theatre and dramatic literature through a feminist lens. She has taught at many other venues such as the Berkshire Theatre Festival, MA; and Playwrights Horizons, Movement Research, and the Institute of Collaborative Education, NYC; and as a global scholar, she has taught at institutions in Australia, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, England, Ireland, Korea and Taiwan. She specializes in directing and the devising of original performance works and recent credits include Love and Information (Churchill), The Good Soul of Szechuan (Brecht), The Last Rat of Theresienstadt, an original work about the holocaust with Hilary Chaplain, Beyond the North Wind, a play for young audiences, Hear Them Roar, a devised theatre piece about women’s suffrage, School for Scandal (Sheridan), Tale of the Lost Formicans (Congdon), The Triangle Project, a devised site specific theatre piece about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Sonia Flew (Lopez), The Eumenides (Aeschylus), Mad Forest (Churchill), as well as many plays from the Shakespeare cannon. As an applied theatre practitioner, Smithner was a long-term member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit, performing for children in pediatric hospital settings, and she currently teaches physical theatre, acting and directing in medium and maximum security prisons.

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