Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt

Nancy Smithner

Clinical Music Associate Professor of Educational Theatre

Music and Performing Arts Professions

212-998-5250

Nancy Smithner is a performer, teacher and director. She has been teaching Physical Theatre, Acting, Mime and Directing for the Program in Educational Theatre since 1986. She has also taught at many other venues such as Tisch School of the Arts; Playwrights Horizons, Circle in the Square Theatre School, School for Movement Research, the New York Dance Intensive, the Berkshire Theatre Festival and Soongsil University in Seoul, Korea.

Recent directing credits include The Eumenides by Aeschylus, Mad Forest by Caryl Churchill, (m)body: Provocative Acts, an original performance work on cultural interpretations of the body, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Godspell. Her company, The Ensemble of Movement Theatre, performs original works, most recently "...suddenly there came a tapping...", a retelling of Poe's The Raven at the Storytelling Series at the Provincetown Playhouse. Since 2003 she also curated, and directed three productions of "Voices of Women," original works by women on culture and identity.

Dr. Smithner chaired the 2009 forum in the Program in Educational Theatre, "Theatre Pedagogy: Teaching the Art Form." She received the Steinhardt Teaching Excellence Award in 2005. Smithner has been a member of the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit since 1989, performing for children in pediatric settings, and giving workshops on clowning and physical comedy. For Steinhardt, she is the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions. For the Program in Educational Theare, she oversees the placement of student teachers in public and private schools throughout the city.

Courses

Advanced Directing

​Advanced Directing​ is an examination of advanced techniques of directing through the practical directing of scenes, exploration of rehearsal tools for work with actors, and the creation of original staging formats. Innovative directing techniques will be explored, including a study of Naturalism, Realism, Viewpoints, Rasa Boxes, and Expressionistic and Brechtian devices. Students will work towards developing their own directorial voice and performance aesthetics through​ practical and​ dynamic use of the theatre space.
Course #
MPAET-GE 2098
Units
3
Term
Spring, Summer
Faculty

Professors

Nancy Smithner ,
Department

Directing

Elements of play scripts are analyzed and dramatized. Students cast and rehearse members of of the acting classes in brief scenes performed at workshop meetings on Friday afternoons. Class assignments included.
Course #
MPAET-UE 1081
Units
3 - 4
Term
Fall
Faculty

Professors

Nancy Smithner ,
Department

Drama in Education I

Relationships of theories of dramatic art to general educational principles; present practices and potential of education drama at all levels of instruction. Uses of theatre and drama in education from the Greeks to present day. The history and philosophy of drama in education as they relate to a variety of classroom strategies, including the use of new technologies. The impact of human developmental processes, such as culture, personal safety, and nutrition on learning through theatre and drama. Individualizing instruction to prepare students with special needs for their highest levels of achievement.
Course #
MPAET-GE 2193
Units
3
Term
Fall, Summer
Faculty

Professors

Nancy Smithner ,
Department

Physical Theatre Improvisation

Physical Theatre is the study of physical, vocal & improvisational exercises designed to free the creative imagination & develop performance skills. Through the layering of words, sound & movement, students will hone the essential ingredients & tools of the performer's craft.Focus will be on vocal & movement techniques exploring atmosphere, imagery, gesture, isolation, abstraction,
timing, rhythm, spatial awareness, character development, mime, body graphics, viewpoints, & the theories of Yakim, Delsarte & Laban. The creation of original material will also be studied.
Course #
MPAET-GE 2113
Units
3
Term
Fall, Spring, Summer
Faculty

Professors

Nancy Smithner ,
Department