Blake Hackler, assistant professor of theatre at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholars Grant to conduct teaching and research in Bulgaria. Hackler will be in residence at New Bulgarian University in the capital city of Sofia from January through June, 2015, where he will teach and direct theatre, focusing on physical acting techniques. He will also observe and work with the Sfumato Theatre Laboratory, an internationally recognized theatre based in Sofia that produces highly physical interpretations of classic plays.
“My research and performance interests explore the ongoing disembodiment of the ‘actor-in-training’ as a result of deepening reliance on technology,” said Hackler. “Eastern Bloc theatre-makers, both pre- and post-Glasnost, have constantly pushed the boundaries of what the physical body can and should be capable of representing. It will be invaluable to spend time training and observing both the students and actors of Bulgaria and learning from them.”
Hackler joined the Meadows School faculty in fall 2011 and teaches four courses, including acting for both sophomores and first-year graduate students; theatre games and improvisation for graduate students; and “Acting in Song” for students pursuing the new minor in musical theatre. He also holds a teaching appointment at Yale University.
As an actor, Hackler has appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country, working with such acclaimed directors as Michael Mayer, Scott Ellis, Alex Timbers and Mike Alfreds. In New York, he worked with theatres including Playwrights Horizons, York Theatre, The Ohio, and Roundabout, as well as creating the role of Moritz Stiefel in the original New York workshop of the Tony-award winning musical Spring Awakening. In Dallas, he is a company member at the nationally recognized Undermain Theatre, and has also appeared at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Second Thought Theatre and Theatre Three. He is currently the acting coach for comedian Lisa Lampanelli as she prepares her one-woman show, Skinny Bitch, for a Broadway run.
His musical The Boss in the Satin Kimono premiered at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival to great acclaim and some vilification. Other New York productions of his work include The Lady in Red – EndTime Productions, Mother Courage of Westchester – NYTE, Mariposa and the Pearl Necklace, and the musicals Barry Horowitz and The Wasp Woman, both written with Phillip Chernyak. He is a lifetime member of the esteemed BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop and was the 2009 recipient of the Harrington Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre Writing as well as a Dramatist Guild Intensive recipient. He is currently a member of the Dallas Theater Center’s playwriting unit, made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, where he is developing two new plays, Space Where My Body... and The Newport Ladies Society.
Hackler has taught at Roosevelt University, AMDA, the National Theatre Workshop for the Handicapped, and through the Kennedy Center as an Artist-in-Residence. He also has studied with the SITI Company and its artistic director Anne Bogart and is a member of AEA and AFTRA. He received his M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.
About the Fulbright Program
Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Under its umbrella, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program offers opportunities for American scholars, artists and professionals to conduct research, lecture and/or consult with other scholars and institutions abroad. The U.S. Scholar Program provides approximately 800 grants per year; grants are available in over 125 countries worldwide. For more information, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright.