David Bridel to Head MFA Acting Program at the USC School of Dramatic Arts

September 3, 2014

CONTACT: Delphine Vasko 213/821-4050 dvasko@usc.edu

SEPT. 3, 2014 — Since its inception, the new Master of Fine Arts in Acting program at the USC School of Dramatic Arts has received wide acclaim under the leadership of professor Andrew J. Robinson.

Recently, when Robinson decided to step down from administration to devote more time to his stage and screen career (he’ll still teach at USC Dramatic Arts), the school turned to David Bridel, an associate professor of theatre practice and associate dean of global initiatives, to head the MFA program.

Bridel is extraordinarily multi-faceted. He’s a director, choreographer, playwright, librettist, performer and teacher of acting, movement and clown. As the Los Angeles Times wrote of him: “Bridel is the real thing, one of the most inventive, scholarly, and vastly challenging voices on the current theatrical scene.”

School of Dramatic Arts Dean Madeline Puzo described Bridel as “a wonderful colleague. He is a graceful, generous and strong artistic leader, and I am confident our MFA in Acting program will thrive under his watch. Since joining our faculty, I have been impressed with the wisdom, clarity and gentle firmness of his teaching, as well as his artistry as a director and performer in his work outside of the school.”

She also expressed gratitude for Andrew Robinson’s contributions. “Andy created and shepherded this program,” Puzo said. “He knew the only way it could succeed would be if the faculty functioned as an ensemble. And that is what he has created, an ensemble of world-class teachers. I am so proud of what he has built.”

Bridel, one of the world-class teachers referenced by the dean, has had his work in all of his disciplines seen on professional stages in Los Angeles, in New York City at the BMI Musical Workshop and Bound for Broadway series, and at international venues including TEDx Beijing and opera houses in Paris, Vienna, Munich, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Santiago and Madrid. He has published two plays, I Gelosi and Sublimity, and his solo performance in the latter won the Best Satire Award at the 2013 United Solo Festival in New York.

Bridel is the author of a book, Clowns: In Conversation with Modern Masters, which will be published in 2015/16 by Routledge. His adaptation of Doctor Faustus, directed by USC Dramatic Arts colleague Andre Belgrader, is slated for Classic Stage Company in New York in 2015.

Bridel, whose appointment began this semester, said he is “honored to assume the directorship of a program founded on the vision and leadership” of Robinson.

“The School of Dramatic Arts MFA in Acting is one of the most competitive programs of its kind in the United States,” Bridel said. “It is also one of the most compelling, imaginative and fertile creative laboratories that I know. Not only does the program examine, with passionate rigor, the physical, psychological and emotional principles of acting, it also provides countless opportunities for students and collaborating faculty to manifest their creativity via a dizzying array of projects.”

Bridel mentioned stage acting, video/film acting, voice-over work, comedy, mask work and stage combat as a few of the “ever-evolving artistic combinations and possibilities that galvanize extraordinary achievements in every member of our community on a daily basis.”

About the USC School of Dramatic Arts MFA in Acting:

The MFA in Acting is a progressive three-year course of study that fuses two strands of actor-training: the classical conservatory-style that attunes the voice, body and the intellect to the demands of text and performance; and an innovative physical approach that draws upon the work of artists of the past 50 years.

Working with a faculty of accomplished professionals with extensive experience in theatre, film and television, the program enjoys a close-knit, intimate scale that fosters individual attention. Students develop their craft and their vision as artists, and also gain the knowledge, skills, flexibility, experience and confidence to work in any medium, form or technology.

The program nurtures artists who do not merely adapt to changes in fashion, technology or the ‘industry,’ but will lead, create and innovate. While the curriculum and faculty honor the uniqueness of every person, the program envisions a self-motivated, collaborative and flexible actor working with purpose to make choices based on her or his personal imagery, and having the craft to execute those choices with clear and decisive actions. In the spring of the third year, industry showcases are held in Los Angeles and New York for casting directors, agents and managers.