Andrew Belser is Chair of Theatre at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Artistic Director of The Gravity Project. He was previously Head of Theatre at Juniata College. Belser’s career as a director and teacher has centered on movement forms, voice/breath work, and interdisciplinary approaches to theatre. He partnered with over 15 other professionals in the founding of The Gravity Project, a professional theatre company, center for performance research, and incubator for new work by innovative international artists. In the Gravity context, Belser has organized many professional training retreats, in which choreographers, actors, movement teachers, voice teachers, composers, directors and designers gather at a retreat center to research new cross-disciplinary approaches to training and creative process. Belser also invited and hosted Stephanie Skura for the inaugural two-year certification process of Open Source Releasing. Belser also partnered with prominent international artists in Contact Improvisation to initiate plans for CI36, a CI gathering that drew over 400 artists.
Belser has a particular interest in mentoring the inter-disciplinary solo work with professional artists. Most recently, he has directed LA-based film actress Michelle Krusiec’s Made in Taiwan, with New York runs at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and at The 13th Street Theatre as part of the Asian Theatre Festival. He is currently at work with incoming President of ATHE on his solo work and will be presenting with Doan at ATHE this summer on innovative approaches to using academic settings as laboratories for professionals to devise new work among students, which is a keystone of Belser’s work with The Gravity Project.
One of Belser’s primary interests as an arts leader is in fostering innovations for academic teachers, leaders, and administrators to imagine and create contexts for professionals to engage deeply in durable professional/academic partnerships. Belser works with Catherine Fitzmaurice as a lead teacher/evaluator in the two-year certification program for Fitzmaurice Voicework. Belser’s work as a final evaluator of solo performances and teaching sessions in the NY and LA certification programs for Fitzmaurice Voicework has placed him at a nexus for both teachers and professional performers who are devising solo work. He is also a certified Open Source Releasing teacher. Andrew Belser is the 2003 recipient of the Carnegie Pennsylvania Professor of the Year Award.
Andrew Belser's most recent work with The Gravity Project was writing and directing TGP’s newest work Return, an homage to a rural American childhood fusing film and live performance with shadow puppets. Belser directed the premiere of Russell Davis’ Crispin, an adaptation of Avi’s Newbury Award-winning novel, in a co-production between TGP and People’s Light and Theatre in Philadelphia. Nine Gates (TGP creation), a movement meditation of contemporary poetry based on poet Jane Hirshfield’s book of essays Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry; enrico4 (TGP creation) , a jazz-infused, fashion/runway event inspired by Pirandello’s Henry IV; Standing Stone, a puppet/movement piece about a sense of place; HE, a clown-filled, multi-language tango tragedy; The Body of Mystery, a movement landscape of Judeo-Christian myth; Songs and Lives, a music/performance piece featuring the live playing by The Audubon Quartet; and The Sympathetic Weight of Bones, a meditation on love co-conceived with Whit MacLaughlin. His directing career has included premieres of Russell Davis’s The Second Death of Priscilla and The Wild Goose Circus, Leslie Lee’s The Ninth Wave, and John Mighton’s The Little Years. A few of the scripts Belser has directed include: Wedekind’s Spring’s Awakening, Ionesco’s Exit the King and The Bald Soprano, Frisch’s The Firebugs, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.