Director/Actor Communication
An Investigation

Research Paper




What others say


The director/actor relationship is of prime importance in a production of collaboration. Stephen Heatley and Ann Penistan had spoke much about this relationship and decided that a closer look into how it is working may lead to better ways to train directors, and help professional directors.

The prime focus of our work is with the participation of interested professional and trainee directors on their relationship with actors. Our aim is to give both young and experienced directors the opportunity to explore their process, questions, and issues that they wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to delve into. These questions often expand beyond the director/actor relationship and have a vital place in developing and re-evaluating their process. 

Stephen and Ann wrote a research paper together for the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in May 2003. Their paper, "Exposing the Obvious" is an in depth look at the actor/director relationship based on conversations and interviews with professional actors and directors, and coaches in Canada, the United States and England. They presented it for the Association of Canadian Theatre Research.  Clicking on the link will take you to the abstract and the paper that they presented together. 

Who we are
Stephen Heatley

Director, Dramaturge, Actor, Playwright, Teacher

Stephen Heatley has worked in the professional theatre for over 30 years. His training includes a BA from Brock University, a diploma from the Canadian Mime School and an MFA in directing from the University of Alberta. During his 12-year tenure as Artistic Director of Theatre Network in Edmonton, he directed over 30 premiere productions. He spent five years as Associate Artistic Director of the Citadel Theatre and ran the company's Theatre School. He was also resident director for the Free Will Players from 1991-1996, directing outdoor productions of Shakespeare. Stephen has directed for companies from BC to Ontario and has been involved with new play development at the Saskatchewan Playwrights' Centre, the Banff PlayRites Colony, the Alberta Playwrights' Network and the Playwrights' Theatre Centre in Vancouver. He is currently on the faculty of the Theatre Program at the University of British Columbia where he works with actors, directors and playwrights. In October of 2003 he will direct a production of Carlo Goldoni's IL CAMPIELLO.

Ann Penistan

Alexander teacher, LearningMethodsô teacher

Ann worked for ten years as an Alexander Coach with the Stratford and Shaw Festival theatres in Canada. She studied voice at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London and from 1993-1997 was the Assistant Director for an Alexander Technique Training School in London. During this time a new way of working emerged transcending the Alexander Technique Approach and now called LearningMethodsô. Her 18 years of experience has consisted of workshops and private classes for actors, musicians and other artists in Canada, Europe and Londonís West End. Annís current work includes in-depth workshops and research on the fundamental relationship between the director and actor.

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