Cynthia Croot - Assistant Professor/Head of Performance
1617 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
MFA - Directing, Columbia University
Cynthia Croot is a director, writer and humanitarian activist, and serves as Assistant Professor and Head of Performance at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her MFA in Directing from Columbia University under the tutelage of Anne Bogart, Robert Woodruff, Andrei Serban, and Kristin Linklater. U.S. directing credits include: John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves and Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar (Perseverance Theatre, Juneau); Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (Colorado Shakespeare Festival); Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and the company-created chamber musical The Millay Sisters (Stonington Opera House) as well as productions in NYC at PS122, HERE, Town Hall, The Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, Symphony Space, and the Guggenheim Museum. During her time as a 2007-2009 Fellow of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors, Croot toured the US interviewing Artistic Directors from Maine to California, and assisted Mark Russell on the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theatre, NYC.
Croot is also Resident Director of the NYC-based theatre company Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant, with whom she has staged experimental audience-immersive and site-specific work in NYC as well as at the Cleveland Public Theatre, OH; The Motherlodge Festival, Louisville, KY; North American Culture Lab, NY; and American Repertory Theatre’s "Club Oberon" in Cambridge, MA. Croot’s direction helped earn Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant a “Top-Ten 2012 Performance” accolade for their devised production The Secret Social from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and two 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Awards for their work at the Irondale Ensemble Theatre, NY.
Among her international credits, Croot toured Suzan-Lori Park’s Venus in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, during the historic moment of Sara Baartman's repatriation and burial. Her benefit U.S. stagings of VENUS at the Public Theater and Gatehouse (NYC) featured Tim Robbins, Joe Morton, Jayne Houdyshell, Arliss Howard and Kathleen Chalfant. In 2008 she received a TCG/ITI grant for travel to Croatia for another incarnation of the Venus Project: using it as a lens to examine the sex trafficking industry in Eastern Europe. In 2004/5 she represented U.S. artists on a five-person delegation to Damascus University, Syria. This exchange, originally organized by the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University and the U.S. State Department, helped shape her ongoing commitment to forging cross-cultural understanding through innovative use of the arts and media. Croot has been a guest speaker at the Fadjr International Theatre Festival in Tehran and collaborated with colleagues in Austria, Brazil and Argentina. Recently, she was invited to join ArtUp's Sites of Passage – a collaborative activist-art project involving colleagues from the US, Israel and Palestine - interrogating the concepts of borders and nations. Her work with Sites of Passage will culminate in a 2014 group show at the Mattress Factory, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Karen J. Gilmer
Lecturer - Costume Design
Karen Gilmer is a teacher and costume designer. In 2009 Ms. Gilmer won the African American Council of the Arts Award for Best Costume Design for Pittsburgh Playwrights production of August Wilsons SEVEN GUITARS.