Dennis Schebetta - Assistant Professor/Head of MFA Performance Pedagogy

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MFA, Virginia Commonwealth University

BA, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Dennis Schebetta is an actor, director, and writer in film and theater. He holds an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA in Theatre from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  He continued his professional training as an actor in New York City with William Esper, master teacher of the Meisner technique, in the two-year studio intensive program.  He has also studied physical theater with Sergei Ostrenko (Biomechanics, Grotowski), Synetic Theater and studied Shakespeare techniques in New York City with John Basil, Dakin Matthews, Kate Wilson, Miriam Silverman and Jesse Berger.

His off-off Broadway acting credits include Ensemble Studio Theater, Vital Theater, Pulse Ensemble Theater, Genesius Guild Theater, and Fat Chance Productions.  Locally, he has been seen in AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY at the Pittsburgh Playhouse (Voted best play of 2012 by the Post-Gazette), CAMINO for The Hiawatha Project, and SHINING CITY at Off the Wall Theater. He can also be seen in the films ABDUCTION, BLACK KERCHEIF, ROSES ARE RED, ALL-SIGHT and MONOGAHELA.

As a theatre director, he has directed productions off-off Broadway at theatres such as Ensemble Studio Theatre, 29th Street Rep, and Brass Tacks Theatre. He is currently developing the ensemble-based play SOLDIER SONG, which uses music, movement and text to explore the struggles of veterans. As a film director and award-winning writer, his short film MY DATE WITH ADAM, which he wrote and directed, premiered in the 2013 Three Rivers Film Festival and has been an official selection of several international film festivals, most recently winning Best Short Comedy in the High Desert International Film Festival and screening in New Filmmakers LA, New Filmmakers NYC, Boston Sci-Fi, Phoenix International Film Festival and the London Sci-Fi Film Festival.  His numerous plays have been produced and performed across the country, as well as internationally in Perth, Morocco and Kopavagor, Iceland.

At the University of Pittsburgh, Dennis is Head of the MFA Performance Pedagogy program, where he teaches and advises the MFA candidates who are studying and teaching performance-based classes. He is also affiliated with the University Center for International Studies and recently received a Hewlett grant and a Bowman grant to travel to Italy and to the UK to study physical theater and Shakespeare. His core graduate seminar for the MFA program is "Techniques in Performance Pedagogy" where graduate students research, create and practice performance-based teaching theories and exercises (ranging from Stanislavsky-based practitioners such as Meisner, Adler and Hagan to Lecoq, Chekhov, and Grotowski). He teaches Introduction to Performance, Acting I (fundamentals of acting), Acting II (character, ensemble), Acting III (Shakespeare and heightened text) and has taught advanced Meisner courses.

Previously, he has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Bellevue College, and Virginia Commonwealth University, and has also presented at national conferences such as the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), the Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC), Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), the Last Frontier Theater Conference, and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

He is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association and the Dramatists Guild of America.