Two recent graduates of the Bachelor of Fine Arts acting program in the West Virginia University School of Theatre and Dance—Vance Barber (2008) and Brian Edelman (2010)—are returning to the Creative Arts Center as guest artists in early April to work with theater students.

Vance Barber teaches film acting at New York University and is an acting coach based in New York as part of The Bob Krakower Private Coaching Team. In addition, he teaches and is an audition and script analysis coach at Stonestreet Studios, the film conservatory of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

His main focus in New York is on-camera audition technique. He visited the Creative Arts Center for a couple of days in March to present an “Acting for the Camera” workshop for seniors who will graduate this spring with a bachelor of fine arts degree in acting. He returned to the Creative Arts Center this week.

Brian Edelman currently lives in New York where he works as an actor and as a teacher of The Alexander Technique. He will also be a visiting artist at the Creative Arts Center during the week of April 7 where he will work with the acting graduate students, as well as the undergraduates. He is a certified instructor of The Alexander Technique, which has long been used by performing artists to enhance skills and stage presence, improve breathing, voice capacity, balance, coordination and flexibility and to prevent injury. The technique is also used by performing artists and teachers of the performing arts to reduce performance anxiety and promote inner calm.

Edelman will be introducing The Alexander Technique in a variety of WVU theater classes and especially to actors in the BFA program.

“The Alexander Technique is helpful for people from all walks of life, but it can be especially helpful for performers,” he said. “My hope is to give an introduction to the work, while providing tools the students can use to find freedom and ease on stage. They can apply this to the work they are doing in class and on stage as well as in their everyday lives. I am very excited to introduce this work, which has been invaluable to my life and career, to students at my old school.”

Barber said it is extremely rewarding to be able to return to WVU to work with the current students.

“Without question or hesitation—everything that is good in and about my life can be 100 percent attributed to the WVU College of Creative Arts,” he said. “I love teaching and I have been where these students are. I know what’s going on through their heads, I know what’s scaring them, I know these rooms, and I know the faculty. It’s a unique opportunity that also helps the student open up, feel encouraged, be honest and ultimately work more freely, which is so necessary for acting.

“The WVU BFA in Acting focuses mainly on theater training, and in my opinion it is the best undergraduate theater program in the country—hands down. And now WVU has an awesome opportunity compete with other colleges in the area of film acting and become even more appealing to potential acting students. My former acting teacher, WVU Theatre professor Jerry McGonigle, visits my class often in New York and we talk a lot about film acting, what works and what doesn’t, tricks and tips. It’s a remarkable and humbling thing to have that sort of relationship with him now.”

“We are happy that our alumni are coming back to share their experiences and knowledge with our current students,” said Assistant Professor of Acting Lee Blair, who directs the undergraduate acting program in the School of Theatre and Dance. “Since they have graduated within the past decade, they are closer in age to our current students and they also have that unique perspective in sharing their career experiences.”

See Vance Barber’s website:

See Brian Edelman’s website:



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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