Tonya Lynn

  • Richard E. Rauh Teaching Artist-in-Residence

Tonya Lynn is a proud alumna of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts (M.A. 2005) working professionally as a fight director, intimacy director, and educator.  She is recognized as a Fight Director and Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, with whom she has been active for nearly 20 years.  

Her professional fight direction highlights include Il Trovatore and Iphégenie en Tauride at Pittsburgh Opera, the world premiere of Storming Heaven at West Virginia Public Theatre, the original production Sword Play at Colonial Williamsburg, VA, the Pittsburgh premiere of She Kills Monsters at the August Wilson Cultural Center--a production which originated at the University of Pittsburgh--and 17 productions with Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks. Tonya is a co-founder of Brawling Bard Theater (a five-time award winner at the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival), and a company member with the New Renaissance Theatre Company specializing in unrehearsed cue-script Shakespeare performance.  

As a stage combat educator, Tonya has taught on the national level as an instructor at the National Stage Combat Workshops and at regional workshops in Minnesota, Florida, and Iowa.  She served as Coordinator for the 2023 Fight Choreographer Track of the New York City Summer Sling Workshop, which focuses on professional development for early- to mid-career professional fight directors.  She is the co-founder and Head Coordinator for the Allegheny Alley Fight, a stage combat workshop local to the Pittsburgh area, and has taught stage combat courses at several area universities in addition to the University of Pittsburgh: Point Park University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Community College of Allegheny County.  She has provided fight choreography for multiple productions at each of these institutions as well as Allegheny College, Slippery Rock University, Franciscan University, Marietta College, and Robert Morris University. Tonya also teaches ongoing weekly private classes in stage combat which are open to all skill levels.  

Tonya’s work as an Intimacy Director began while choreographing productions as a part of her graduate school studies, and supporting safe and communicative rehearsal processes has continued to be a touchstone of her work throughout her career.  Tonya began her formal training in Intimacy Direction and Choreography during the early days of its adoption as a recognized role in the theatre industry, when the work was being piloted at stage combat workshops in 2015-2017, and has been instructed by industry pioneers Tonia Sina, Alicia Rodis, Siobhan Christensen, Chelsea Pace, Laura Rickard, and many others.  She has logged hundreds of hours of training in the field across multiple organizations. Tonya partners her on-going cultural and professional development with thousands of hours of training in stage combat, over two decades of experience as a professional movement choreographer, and almost a decade of experience working in professional communication education in the health services industry. All of this background is incorporated into her artistic process and pedagogy, which gives her a unique ability to merge a consent-forward process with clear and concise movement direction and an artistically collaborative spirit in the rehearsal room and the classroom.

Education & Training

  • Fight Director and Certified Teacher, Society of American Fight Directors
  • Intimacy Direction training with Theatrical Intimacy Education and Intimacy Directors & Choreographers
  • M.A., Theatre Arts, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
  • B.S., Computer Science w/Minor in Theatrical Performance, Southeast Missouri State University, 2002
  • Adult CPR/First Aid and Mental Health First Aid