SMU Meadows Theatre Professor Blake Hackler Receives Fulbright Scholars Grant For 2020-21
Actor, director and playwright Blake Hackler, associate professor of theatre at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholars grant to conduct teaching and research for four months in Romania. Hackler will work with the University of Craiova and The National Theatre-Marin Sorescu in the city of Craiova. The residency will tentatively begin in the spring of 2021, depending on the continued impact of COVID-19. His project, "Embodying Shakespeare: A 21st Century Approach to Classical Acting," will include teaching Shakespeare at the university and observing and working with actors at The National Theatre.
The two institutions have a close relationship, Hackler said, and the theatre is known for its bold, physical productions. "The Sorescu is also the producing institution for the acclaimed International Shakespeare Festival, which provides unparalleled access to work by many of the world's most acclaimed interpreters of Shakespeare," said Hackler. "The National Theatre actors, immersed in Russian physical theatre methodologies and exposed over the past decade to a variety of international Shakespearean performances, provide me with an indispensable laboratory to explore alternate theories about classical actor training outside of the American model." He is also exploring opportunities to conduct masterclasses at institutions in Bucharest and other cities in the country.
This is the second Fulbright award Hackler has received. In 2015, he was named a Fulbright Scholar to Bulgaria, where he conducted teaching and research in the capital city, Sofia. He was also awarded a prestigious MacDowell Fellowship in 2018.
Hackler joined the Meadows School faculty in fall 2011 and serves as head of acting. He also holds a teaching appointment at Yale University, where he earned an M.F.A. in acting.
As an actor, Hackler has appeared in productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the country, working with such acclaimed directors as Michael Mayer, Scott Ellis, Alex Timbers and Mike Alfreds. In New York, he worked with theatres including Playwrights Horizons, York Theatre, The Ohio, and Roundabout. In Dallas, he was just named a Brierley Resident Acting Company member of the Tony-winning Dallas Theater Center. He is also a company member at the nationally recognized Undermain Theatre, and he has appeared at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theater Center, Second Thought Theatre and Theatre Three.
He is a member of the esteemed BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Program and is an award-winning playwright whose works have been seen across the U.S. His recent play What We Were was a winner of the Ashland New Play Festival and a finalist for the O'Neill Playwriting Conference in 2018, and received its world premiere in 2019. His adaptation of Ibsen's Enemy of the People was named Best Play of 2018 by the Dallas Observer.
Hackler has directed for Theatre Three, Trinity Shakespeare, Second Thought Theatre and the Undermain, as well as numerous productions at SMU.