Please see 2012 Workshops for specific descriptions and articulations of how I am currently working.
Eliza Ladd is a performer, writer, director, choreographer, and composer offering workshops, residencies and training in the art of theater, creative process, and contemplative practice. In these forms players and participants — including professional actors, beginning practitioners, young and old explorers — have the opportunity to encounter and develop trust in creative impulse and instinct, cultivate a free and whole instrument — body, voice and mind, and participate in ensemble practice. In the theatrical field we play with structures for improvisation and composition, devise and discover multi sensory and poetic theatrical languages, and carry these image seeds into the creation and performance of original and or scripted play.
Eliza holds an MFA in Theater: Contemporary Performance from Naropa University and a BA in Comparative Religion from Harvard University. She is a certified Body Dynamics™ educator (movement for actors) and is a trained percussionist, sculptor, actor and singer as well as being a facilitator of ensemble theater making. Eliza is currently teaching The Function of Theater at Kingsborough Community College, Acting at Marymount Manhattan College, and Ensemble Body Practice at the Terry Schreiber Acting Conservatory. In addition to teaching theater Eliza facilitates Professional Development for teachers, engineers and other corporate professionals at Think Build Live Success, Best Effect, Bank Street College, The Cooper Union and through Young Audiences NY.
Statement of Pedagogy
Drawing on a wide range of training I offer workshops and residencies in theater, movement, percussion, and song. My teaching encourages ensemble development, free expression, and the creation of original material. My work is focused on unearthing, developing, and playing with presence — in the body, in relationship with others, and, in the theatrical space. Through a practice of play, improvisation, reflection, and composition, my intention as a teacher is to is to encourage and develop the capacity of individuals and groups to experience and express truth, to improvise and compose with imagination, and to create transformative performance.
Ever since my first teaching job when I was asked to teach critical thinking skills to people who didn’t read well, I realized that teaching gives me the opportunity to be a translator and a bridge maker. I incorporate multiple styles of learning and communication into my work in Arts and Education, as a Curriculum Developer, and also as a Theater Maker. I embrace a cross discipline approach allowing one medium or language to spark or inspire expression in another.
I find this movement amidst and between forms –the development of the flexibility, capacity, and skill to engage whatever best communicates, and the ability to respond in the moment– to be a way of bridging the distance or gap that can exist between actor and audience or teacher and student. Bridging this distance through experiential exchange is what I find to be most compelling about the theatrical space and the learning space, both places of meeting.
In the meeting ground, text can be source for theatrical expression or vice-versa. Body, voice, sound, word, object, image are all jumping off and landing places. I have found in public schools, at college training programs, and in directing ensemble theater, that in order to unleash intuitive authentic expression and to communicate idea, beauty, and wisdom, it is fruitful to be open to whatever means necessary.
Whatever the environment, I usually bring these principles: First, free the instrument. Second, explore the imagination. Third, glean the jewels, clarify the content, and compose the art. Then, circle back around.
- MFA in Theater: Contemporary Performance, Naropa University (training in the practice and pedagogy of Grotowski (psycho-physical acting), Roy Hart Voice, Moment Work, Viewpoints, Suzuki, Red Square, Developmental Movement, Body Mind Centering, Butoh, and numerous other forms of devising original work)
- BA in Comparative Religion, Harvard University
- Certified Body Dynamics™ teacher since 1997. (Body Dynamics™ is a form of movement for actors rooted in Bioenergetics and designed to free the physical, vocal, and emotional instrument)
- Certified Teacher of Trish Arnold Movement Work from Shakespeare & Company since 2002
- Teacher of Improvisation, Creative Movement, Percussion, Song, Live Sound Action, Ensemble Development, Composition, and Devised Theater
- Teacher of Arts and Education and Curriculum Development
- Certified Teacher of Professional Development for Teachers by Young Audiences 2004
- Teacher of Professional Development for Educators, Engineers, and other professionals
In addition to the above material, I also offer ensemble training and workshops in:
Devising Work / Developing Theatrical Language
Sound and Movement
Sound, Movement, and Text
Drum / Journey
Evolution through Sound and Movement
Red Square / Contemplative Theatrical Practice
Making Theater from the Surrounding Environment