Mary Beth Easley
Artistic Director, Associate Professor,
Audition Technique and Scene Study
313 Whitehead Hall
MFA, Acting and Directing, University of Georgia
BFA, Missouri State University
Mary Beth Easley, the current Artistic Director of the Brooklyn College Theater, holds a dual MFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Georgia, where she studied under the mentorship of esteemed director and scholar, August Staub. She earned her BFA from Missouri State University. She is a recipient of the Charles Revson Directing Fellowship, which allowed her to study Shakespearean reinterpretation with A.J. Antoon, British comedy with Bryan Murray, George Bernard Shaw with Stephen Porter, and Samuel Beckett with Nagle Jackson.
Focusing on new play development, intercultural theatre expression, and outreach to under-represented urban and rural communities where she utilizes devised theatre as a means to deepen awareness and foment change, Ms. Easley has been directing plays, coaching, and teaching acting in New York City for many years. She has directed Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the Midwest. Her work has been featured at The Bushwick Starr, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Circle Rep, The Women’s Project, and LaMama ETC, among others. At Theater de la Jeune Lune, MN, she directed Krasang Tree, an intercultural chamber-opera, developed with Cambodian poet U Sam Oeur. She directed NYC premieres of Levy Lee Simon’s God, the Crackhouse and the Devil (LaMama) and Caseload (The Workshop Theatre). With Mr. Simon and composer-lyricist, Mark Bruckner, she created Same Train, a spoken-word musical, produced at Algonquin Theater in NYC and featured as a mainstage production at the 2011 National Black Theater Festival. In March 2012, she directed the NYC premiere of Jeffrey Sweet’s Court-Martial at Fort Devens for Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre, earning an Audelco Award for Best Direction of a Dramatic Production. In the Spring of 2014, she directed the premiere of William Burke’s The Food Was Terrible for the Bushwick Starr, which received a critic’s pick from Time Out New York.
Ms. Easley has received numerous commissions from colleges and producing organizations across the country to develop new work and direct contemporary plays. Highlights include: Her Mardi-Gras adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, commissioned by and performed at the University of Iowa for Arts to Enchant, an International Symposium on the Portrayal of Faeries in Shakespeare Through the 1950s; Krasang Tree an intercultural chamber opera based on the life and work of Cambodian poet, U Sam Ouer, which was performed by Khmer refugees, Bun Loueng and the New International Trio, and members of the new music group Zeitgeist at Theatre de la Jeune Lune in Minneapolis; Bodies in Evidence by Sandra Dietrick, featured at the Female Bodies of Knowledge Symposium at Temple University, 2002; Same Train, a spoken-word musical with book by Levy Lee Simon and music-lyrics by Mark Bruckner, which was produced by Algonquin Theatre and Two I’s Two T’s Productions in NYC, and featured in 2008 at the First Annual Celebrate the Word Festival in LA and in 2011 at the 11th Bi-ennial National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. She is currently working with Obie-award winning actor Russell Jones (Ruined) and Eric Cook from the Labyrinth Theatre on the development of a play focusing on post racism.
As an acting teacher, Mary Beth focuses on helping actors to develop an “independence of acting” through exercises and practices aimed at freeing the imagination, tuning the body, and deepening kinesthetic awareness. She has developed two courses for the Brooklyn College Theater Department: The Energized Self: Applied Kinetics and Analytic Techniques for the Actor; and Audition Techniques and the Business of Acting.She also leverages her extensive relationships with New York Agents and Casting Directors to inculcate her students in the practical aspects of thriving in the theatre business. Since 2005 she has directed Brooklyn College’s annual spring MFA Acting Showcase in NYC. Her private coaching clients have appeared on and off-Broadway, and in television and film, and have garnered numerous nominations and awards for their work in the field. In addition to CUNY–Brooklyn College, Ms. Easley has been on the faculties of the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting, the New American Theatre School, the Academy of Film and Television in Minneapolis, and the University of Iowa.