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Heather Benton is the Program Coordinator for the B.F.A. Acting Program in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University and an Assistant Professor. She specializes in a multi-technique approach to acting and teaches the foundational acting sequence in the Sophomore year of the BFA Acting Program consisting of Stanislavski and Practical Aesthetics techniques, as well the final acting course in the curriculum Senior year which integrates multiple approaches in a Capstone Project. Benton also specializes in Movement training for the actor (Yoga, Pilates, Droznin Body Work, Viewpoints and Suzuki training) teaching several movement courses in the BFA Acting curriculum and working as a movement coach/ choreographer on productions in the department season. Benton directs for the department season and frequently creates original devised theatre with MSU students through various courses and special projects in the department.
Co-Head of the New Works Initiative (NWI) an Artist-in-Residence program and developmental platform in the Department of Theatre and Dance in Montclair State University’s College of the Arts. NWI’s mission is to bring together established and emerging playwrights, composers, choreographers, theatre-makers, and professional directors with MSU theatre students to explore adventurous theatrical works.
Program Director of the Devised Theatre Project of the Americas, a program created in partnership with the Universidad Mayor in Santiago Chile to create a bi-lingual devised theatre piece over the course of a three-semesters which includes faculty/ student exchanges in the US and Chile and funded in part by a U.S. Department of State Partners of the Americas Capacity Building Grant for U.S. Undergraduate Study Abroad.
Directing credits at MSU: *Upcoming WEDDING BAND by Alice Childress, Alexander Kasser Theatre (2018); IPHIGENIA AT AULIS by Euripides, Alexander Kasser Theatre (2016); WINTERTIME by Chuck Mee, L. Howard Fox Theatre (2014).
Devised theatre credits at MSU: SENTIENCE, SEX, LOVE AND INFORMATION with text by Caryl Churchill, Diane Ackerman, Christian Weber, personal interviews and MSU students, Senior Capstone Project (2017); EL ENCUENTRO, co-created with Professor Debbie Saivetz and Leonor Lopehandia and Gabriel Diaz of the Universidad Mayor (2017, Santiago, Chile).
Acting & Movement Coaching/ Choreography credits at MSU: MAD FOREST by Caryl Churchill, TWELFTH NIGHT by William Shakespeare, PUNK ROCK by Simon Stephens, THE DRUNKEN CITY by Adam Bock, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE adapted by Simon Reade from the novel by Jane Austen, THE PERSIANS by Aeschylus, THE WINTER'S TALE by William Shakespeare, CLYBOURNE PARK by Bruce Norris, MIDDLETOWN by Will Eno, THE BIG MEAl by Frank LeBlanc, EQUUS by Peter Schaffer, CLOUD NINE by Caryl Churchill, ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare, PENANCE: GHOST OF DON JUAN by Molly Rice, GRAPES OF WRATH adapted from John Steinbeck’s novel by Frank Galati, 1001 by Jason Grote, ARCADIA by Tom Stoppard.
Professor Benton specializes in a multi-approach technique to acting training and physical and devised theatre. Acting specializations include Stanislavski, Practical Aesthetics and Viewpoints training. Movement specializations include Yoga, Pilates, Droznin Body Work, Grotowski and Suzuki training.