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Belser Named Penn State Laureate for 2017-18

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Andy Belser

Andrew Belser, professor of movement, voice, and acting and director of the Arts & Design Research Incubator (ADRI) in the College of Arts and Architecture, has been named Penn State Laureate for 2017–18. As Laureate, he will tour the award-winning FaceAge exhibition—a multimedia video installation created from cross-generational conversations—throughout Pennsylvania, including community engagement, research, and curricular components intended to facilitate intergenerational connections.

“As a Laureate endeavor, FaceAge proposes intergenerational connection as a binding force for communities divided by income, class, and education, among other issues,” said Belser. “Because Pennsylvania demographics show growth in our aging population, a focus on cross-generational engagement is both timely and has potential to spawn meaningful interaction between Penn State and various communities.”

Belser is producer and director of FaceAge, whose partners include—in addition to the ADRI—the Center for Healthy Aging in the College of Health and Human Development and the Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence in the College of Nursing. According to Belser, the partners envision the FaceAge tour as a chance to demonstrate how compelling outcomes emerge from dynamic cross-disciplinary collaborations. “This Penn State Laureate tour is ideally timed to play a significant role in launching FaceAge toward national and international prominence, further broadcasting Penn State’s leadership as a progressive innovator in approaches to creative and research activity,” he said.

A Penn State faculty member since 2013, Belser previously served as chair and professor of theatre at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, from 2011 to 2013, and head of theatre at Juniata College from 1997 to 2011. He was the founding artistic director of The Gravity Project, a professional theatre company, international performance research center, and new work incubator. His teaching and professional directing career has centered on movement forms, voice/breath work, interdisciplinary theatre approaches, solo work, and most recently, on translating neuroscience for performers. His book, The Performer’s Field Guide to Applied Neuroscience, will be published by Routledge in 2018.

Belser has directed more than 75 theatre productions and maintains an active schedule of tutorials, master classes, and workshops guiding professional actors toward deeper work through an innovative synthesis of movement, breath, and voice work, along with attention to seeing, spatial perception, and aligning performance with situated cognition. He is a Master Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework® and is also a certified teacher of Open Source Forms® (Skinner Releasing heritage) and a certified teacher of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement®. 

According to Andrew Schulz, associate dean for research in the College of Arts and Architecture, Belser will be an “outstanding ambassador” for Penn State. “He is an outstanding communicator, both in front of large audiences and one-on-one, and will effectively carry out the Laureate mission ‘to bring greater visibility to the arts, the humanities, the honoree’s work, and the University.’”

For more information on FaceAge, visit faceage.org. For more information on the Penn State Laureate program, visit vpaa.psu.edu/penn-state-laureate.

More information in Penn State News story