Past Labs

Andrew Belser Workshop


"But there is another kind of seeing that involves a letting go. . . When I see this way I see truly. As Thoreau says, I return to my senses."

--Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

How can your imagination become so powerful that you transform a stage or film set into your own rich, working environment?

How can you become one of those actors who 'changes the space' through your work?

How can you become free from self-consciousness and distraction in cold reads and auditions?

Learn to build images and work with space as reliable partners for auditions and all acting work. This workshop will explore how to see imagery in our work, how seeing forms and shapes our breath and text, and how relying on seeing with spatial accuracy, fluidity, and energetic fullness can immediately free and deepen our acting. This work is particularly useful for helping performers find trust in ‘doing less’ while paradoxically filling the frame with much nuance, intensity, and depth.

Each participant should bring a 1 - 1 1/2 minute monologue to work on during the weekend. Through exercises, Andy will initiate this practice of imagination work, i.e. seeing, stimulation, sensation, kinesthetic and breath response with individual actors. He will work with each student to help locate their own personal patterns as related to seeing, the breath and physicality. All levels are welcome.


Seeing with the whole self.

Developing the practice of seeing as a source of stimulation, and an important engine for action, character, and desire. Working from the understanding that we see with our brain/body (the whole self), we practice seeing first with the eyes, and expand to seeing with the ears, the kinesthetic or 'felt' self, and energy centers. Learn to engage more of you in seeing.

Image as stimulation: responding from the active image-ination.

Learning to deeply engage with imagery in our bodies, merging with images, and allowing responses in our breathing, emotion, thinking, and perception. This work opens new directions in text that we might not otherwise find.

Multi-directional space.

Expanding the practice of seeing from/through the body into the entire space in specific directions. Creating maps of the spaces and directions of seeing images in ways that render a monologue or text into reliable physical environment. As we learn a capacity to express ourselves multi-directionally, our work gains depth, bringing the unseen and specificity into our work. We learn to sense the directional energies alive in resonant spaces between our selves and others/things/images/events.


9/11 7PM-10PM
9/12 10-1PM, 2-5PM
9/13 10-1PM, 2-5PM


About Andrew Belser

Andrew Belser is a Professor of movement, voice and acting in the MFA Performance program at Penn State University. He was the founding Artistic Director of The Gravity Project, a professional theatre company, international performance research center, and new work incubator. Belser’s teaching and professional directing career has centered on movement forms, voice/breath work, interdisciplinary theatre approaches, and solo work. He has directed over 75 theatre productions and maintains an active schedule of tutorials, master classes, and workshops guiding professional actors toward deeper work through an innovative synthesis of: movement, breath, and voice work; attention to seeing, spatial perception, and aligning performance with situated cognition; and sourcing work from active energy centers.

Andy is a Master Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework® and is also a certified teacher of Open Source Forms® (Skinner Releasing heritage) and a certified teacher of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement®. Andy has extensive experience with other movement forms, including: Contact Improvisation, Lecoq, and Butoh. He was a Doris Duke Fellow in the Amherst Wilder Foundation’s Shannon Leadership Program, and he has served on the selection team for the Fulbright International Senior Specialist program. Belser was awarded the 2003 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year award by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Andy is Director of the Arts and Design Research Incubator at Penn State, a studio where artists and designers join with scientists, writers, philosophers and others to research and create artistic projects for national/international venues. He is the producer/director of Face.Age, a multi-media installation and documentary film, exploring aging questions in cross-generational interactions. His current research interests include neurosensory perception and the integration of neurophysiology into actor training, and he is working on a book focusing on linking this research with creative practice.