Tanya Gerstle

Distinguished Visiting Fellow

In May-June 2012, CModS, in partnership with the department of Theatre, Film and Television (TFTV), is delighted to welcome back to York as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Tanya Gerstle (University of Melbourne).

Tanya is a high-profile actor trainer at the Victorian College of the Arts, as well as an actor, director, performance maker and teaching artist who has worked in many performance contexts over the past 30 years.


During Tanya’s six week residency, co-funded by the Higher Education Academy project ‘Performing Classical and Modern Play-texts’, run by Professor Mary Luckhurst (TFTV), Tanya will be involved in a diverse array of activities, including workshops on improvisation technique, general acting classes, presentations about her work and one-to-one conversations with interdisciplinary students interested in dramatic literature, theatre, acting and directing. For the Centre for Modern Studies, Tanya will also be offering a unique, informal, experimental, and interdisciplinary ‘black-box’ workshop, exploring issues of affect and embodiment, especially designed for Modern humanities students at York.


Tanya trained as an actor in Europe and Australia and has performed in mainstream touring work as well as being a member of several performance ensembles. During the 1980s, Tanya was based in Amsterdam, performing and making her own work, touring it in England, Italy and The Netherlands, as well as directing and teaching at The Oxford School of Drama, and Studio Wokalno Actorskie, Poland. In New York, Tanya subsequently collaborated with Lawrence ‘Butch’ Morris, an improvisational Jazz conductor, and began her evolving research into improvisational performance structures and their application to performance making and training. After returning to Sydney in 1990, she continued making new works with multi-lingual, physical performers for companies such as Urban Theatre Projects and Sidetrack Performance Group, where she was Company Manager in 1993-4. During the 1990s, Tanya also taught acting and performance making at the Universities of New South Wales, Western Sydney, Newcastle, NIDA, and Penn State. Tanya was Co-Artistic Director of The Actors Centre in Sydney from 1996 to 1998 and was appointed a Con-joint Fellow of Newcastle University in 1998. In 2011, she was appointed International Consultant for the project ‘Performing Classical and Modern Play-texts’, which involves the comparative investigation of international performance training. Tanya is currently the Artistic Director of OpticNerve, a performance/research company, which was nominated in 2009 for four Greenroom Awards including Best Director for Tanya’s production of Five Kinds of Silence by Shelagh Stephenson.