Bertha C. Ferdman
Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts
Phone: +1 (212) 220-8000;ext=5340
Ferdman was born and raised in Puerto Rico to Argentinian parents and now calls Brooklyn home. Her research specialties are in contemporary performance and curating practices, in particular immersive, participatory, and site based performance, as well as urban dramaturgies. She is interested in live art practices that engage spectators in challenging preconceived notions of what theatre is and can be, as well as in interdisciplinary performance historiographies.
Her book, Off Sites: Contemporary Performance beyond Site-Specific (SIU Press, 2018), won the honorable mention for ATHE’s best book award. Off Sites rethinks current definitions of site-specific performance, a genre of theatre that adopts spaces outside of traditional theatre buildings and uses the experience of space, place, and situation as an integral component to the structure and content of a theatrical work. Contextualizing site-specific practices in both visual and performing arts discourses, the book traces the evolution of the term from an experimental staging practice to an engaged situational event.
Bertie’s essays have appeared in PAJ, Theater, Performance Research, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, TDR, HowlRound, and TCG. She is co-editor of a special issue of Theater titled Performance Curators, as well as editor of a special section of PAJ on Urban Dramaturgies. Along with Jovana Stokic, she is co-editor of Critical Companion to Performance Art, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press. She is also at work on a collaborative research project with Peter Eckersall titled Curating Dramaturgies. She has presented her research in various conferences, festivals, and universities including American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR), International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Festival Internacional de Artes Escdnicas de Bahia (FIAC), University of Montreal, School of Visual Arts (SVA), and Martin E. Segal Theatre at The Graduate Center.
She has held numerous fellowships to support her research, among them: ASTR Research Fellowship Award; CUNY Collaborative Research Opportunity Grant; BMCC Faculty Fellowship; PSC-CUNY grants; CUNY Writing Fellowship; The Mellon School of Performance Research at Harvard University led by Martin Puchner; The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at The Graduate Center led by David Harvey; a Magnet Fellowship, as well as a Chateaubriand Fellowship.
Before coming to BMCC, she curated many international events and exchanges at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center including two Site-Specific Performance Symposia with Frank Hentschker and Gulgun Kayim; the U.S. premiere of Rodrigo Garcia Accidens; Staging Presence with Marianne Weems and Nick Kaye; and Urban Performance with Maud Le Floch and the late Neil Smith. She was a co-curator of mars2bklyn, a performance and arts exchange platform between Marseille and Brooklyn. For over six years, she was Artistic co-Director of Ex.Pgirl, a physical theatre company with whom she created Ablution, Waving Hello, 10 Plates, and Paris Syndrome, commissioned by HERE Arts Center. Ex.Pgirl won the Franklin Furnace award, were two-time HERE artists in residence, and received grants from NYSCA, DCA, and LMCC, among others.
Bertie is a graduate of Yale University, holds a Masters in Performance Studies from New York University’Âs Tisch School of the Arts, and earned her PhD from The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is a graduate of the Lecoq School of Physical Theatre in Paris.
Theatre (except Technical & Design), Performance Studies
- B.A. Yale University, Theatre Studies,1996
- Lecoq School of Physical Theatre, ,1997
- M.A. New York University, Performance Studies,1999
- Ph.D. The Graduate Center, CUNY, Theatre Studies,2010
- The aim of this course is to develop effective skills in speech communication. The student examines how to generate topics and organized ideas, masters elements of audience psychology and practices techniques of speech presentation in a public forum. All elements of speech production and presentation are considered.
- The collaborative nature of the theatrical event will be explored in readings, presentations, play attendance, papers and creative projects. Contributions of the playwright, actor, director, designer, architect, critic, producer and audience will be investigated through selected periods, genres, theatre spaces and styles of production. The student's potential roles and responsibilities in creating theatre will be emphasized.
- This survey course will look at major trends and directions in Latin American theatre by drawing on plays and performance ensembles of the mid-twentieth century to the present. We will look at the work of some of the most influential playwrights, directors, and ensembles as they grapple with their political, national, and cultural contexts, and discuss these artists? dual commitment to social conscience and artistic expression. We will read manifestoes and plays by many of Latin America?s major playwrights and performing artists, as well as critical writing by scholars and historians. We will also engage with documentary films and videos of performances.
Prerequisite: SPE 100 or THE 100 or LAT 100
- A survey of theatre of the world from its ritual origins to Jacobean England. Major periods explored through reading and viewing significant plays, studying the sociological forces that led to different theatrical forms, theatre architecture, methods of production, playwrights and the relevance of these plays and theatrical forms today.
Prerequisite: THE 100 and ENG 201 or ENG 121
Research and Projects
Co-editor, along with Jovana Stokic, of Critical Companion to Performance (forthcoming in 2019)
Co-Pi, along with Peter Eckersall, of research project investigating how dramaturgy and curating practices are interrelating in contemporary art practice
- Off Sites: Contemporary Performance beyond Site-Specific2018, SIU Press
- “Urban Dramaturgy: The Global Art Project of JR.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 34, no. 3 (2012): 12-26.2012, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, MIT Press
- Urgent Realities at Festival d’Avignon 2012: Ten Billion and The Animals and the Children Took to the Streets 2013, Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts
- A New Journey through Other Spaces: Contemporary Performance beyond Site-Specific2013, Theater 43.2, Duke University Press
- “Performance and the City,” Interview with Gulgun Kayim2015, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 37.2 (2015): 42-49.
- From Content to Context: The Emergence of the Performance Curator2014, Theater 44.2, Duke University Press
- The Work of Art is a Parasite, an interview with Lola Arias2014, Theater Magazine: Duke University Press
- Sleeping Our Way to Consciousness: Jim Findlay’s Dream of the Red Chamber2015, TDR/The Drama Review, 59.2
- “Off the Grid: New York City Landmark Performance.” 2015, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 37.2 (May 2015): 13-29.
- “Role Inversion: The Curator Takes the Stage”2014, PAJ: Journal of Performance and Art 36.1 (2014): 53-58.
- Trespass Theatre, Interview with Jeff Stark, HowlRound2014, Theater Commons, Emerson University, December 18, 2014.
- “Careful of Fireworks,ÂÂ Interview with Helen Cole”2014, Theater 44.2, May 2014, 63-71.
- “Reverberating Acts.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 33, no. 3 (2011): 72-81.2011, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, MIT Press
Honors, Awards and Affiliations
- MAGNET Dissertation Award
- Franklin Furnace Award for Performance Art
- BMCC Faculty Award