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, as well as the Williamson Technique at the Actors Movement Studio and the Ensemble Studio Theatre Institute.  He recently took movement workshops with 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, Fat Chance Productions, and Punch’n’Pie Productions.  Locally, he has been seen on stage 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 recently directed the radio drama IN THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS BORN for the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh.  For Pitt Stages earlier in 2015, he directed the main stage production of DOG IN THE MANGER by Lope De Vega at the University of Pittsburgh and previously directed AGAMEMNON by Aeschylus, translated by Ted Hughes. He is directing the main stage production of the musical NINE this spring.

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.  He is currently developing several other film projects. His play BURNING BOTTICELLI premiered in the 8th Annual New York International Fringe Festival, and his play OBSCURA won the 2006 Charles Getchell Award and was a Princess Grace finalist. His comedy DOG PARK OR SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN MAGNUSON is published in Ten Ten-Minute Plays, Volume III and has been performed across the country after its premiere in Seattle, as well as in Perth, Morocco and Kopavagor, where it was translated into Icelandic.

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 to present at ATHE in Montreal, Canada. 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 Grotwoski). He teaches Acting I (fundamentals of acting) and has taught Acting III (Shakespeare and heightened text) as well as Theatre & Collaboration.

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 has also worked as a teaching artist for Pittsburgh Public Theater, the MGR Foundation Murals Project and the Neighborhood School for the Arts (Richmond, VA).

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