• Meet MFA Cohort IV: Tristan Schaffer-Goldman, Nike Redding and Justine Hince

    by  • August 22, 2015 • MFA in Physical Theatre Program, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    As we prepare for MFA Cohort IV’s arrival this week, we’ve asked them to share a little about themselves. This is the first of the series of introductions that will happen over the next month. We begin in no particular order:



    Tristan Schaffer-Goldman

    Where are you from?

    I was born in NYC and raised in Westchester. I graduated from Skidmore College in 2011 with a BS in Theater.

    What does “Physical Theatre” mean to you?

    Though it takes various forms, I believe the term “Physical Theatre” refers to a universal performance language, one that can be understand by anyone, anywhere. It is theatre that relies less on verbal language (which obviously varies widely), and more on the body and voice to convey emotion or tell a story to the audience. To me, it is theatre in its most primal form.

    What was the audition process like?

    I definitely had more fun at this audition than any others, mainly because it felt like I couldn’t really make a mistake. In addition to the monologues that I was forced to do ad nauseam during the grad school audition process, I brought in a work in progress that I was able to workshop in the room. The freedom to explore is one of the greatest aspects of this program, and I was getting a glimpse of it during the audition, which was really inspiring.

    What was your decision process that led you to choose the Accademia’s MFA in Physical Theatre?

    Firstly, I felt at my most creative during my semester at the Accademia. The 4 months I had there completely changed me as an artist and as an individual, so I could only imagine what 2.5 years would do! Secondly, so many actors apply to or attend grad schools for the showcases and to get a leg up in the industry. I could’ve gone that way, I had gotten into Brown and NYU and was extremely tempted by their names and connections alone, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted to get away from the industry altogether and reinvent myself, figure out the kind of work I wanted to create, and return a self-sufficient artist. Rather than spending the rest of life hoping someone gives me my big break, I wanted to learn to create my own. I knew the only place I could get that was the Accademia.



    Nike Redding

    Where are you from?  

    I grew up in Louisville, KY, then for my first year of college I moved to Boulder, CO and attended the Naropa University. There I studied poetry, visual art, and religious studies but ultimately decided that Naropa lacked the resources I needed and the upper class air in Boulder left me feeling cynical and loving Marx. So I transferred to the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA on the pretext that I would be studying animation and media. Unsurprisingly, animation is tedious, solitary work and I quickly realized that live-action filmmaking was much more suited to my constitution. I also started working in the university theatre scene shop, which gave me access to tools for building props and sets for my own work. Senior year I made a feature film on 16mm, titled “Welcome, O Life” about cycles in psychology and archetypes and tarot and such things. It’s available for free online for those curious : Welcome O Life. I moved to New Orleans after I graduated and have been pursuing more performative work ever since. I like juggling several different projects at one time, acting in one thing while making props for another, doing costumes for this, and dancing in that. The theatre scene in New Orleans is wonderful for its openness and focus on experimentation.

    What was your decision process that led you to choose the Accademia’s MFA in Physical Theatre?

    Hard to say, really. Honestly, it was a pretty personal process based on following my intuition. There weren’t other programs I was looking at too intensively because it seemed like everything was already clicking with the Accademia. I’ve had a preoccupation with Italy for a long time, mostly from my love of Federico Fellini’s work, so the decision to pursue physical theatre in the first place led me fairly naturally to the Accademia. I will say that the Octavio Paz quote on the website made a good first impression of the scope and, let’s say aritistic-spiritual dimension of the MFA program.

    What are your expectations for living in another country for 2-plus years?

    I’m trying to withhold my expectations! Right now my mind is very open; I’m excited for this adventure and to discover an unknown (to me) universe of sights, smells, dreams, desires, and inspiration. It will be my first time outside of the states but, other than my hometown, I haven’t really lived in any place much longer than three years so I feel emotionally prepared. I’m excited because I think that 2 years is really just enough time to settle in and soak in and get an honest experience that goes on beyond the reflections of tourism. I really hate the feeling of being a tourist, of spectating when I want to participate, so for me this is the best way that I could imagine going abroad.

    What are your plans for after you complete the program?

    How do you expect the training and experience from the Accademia’s MFA in Physical Theatre to complement this? I would love to found a travelling performance group of some kind and to alternate between that and living in various cities for a production at a time. Ultimately my goals are to act for a decade, direct for a decade, and produce for a decade, writing throughout. I say that fully understanding that it serves as more a motivation in stereotype than a realistic expectation of how I’ll divide my time as I age but, it’s something. I believe it goes without saying that having an MFA and the experience of the program will be an eternal touchstone, if not a foundation of extreme importance, for these goals. I also understand the importance of giving back knowledge and I know that I will be using the knowledge I gain at the Accademia to conduct workshops and training sessions to further an appreciation of physical theatre once I’m back state-side.



    Justine Hince

    Where are you from?

    I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Then I moved to San Diego to go to UC San Diego for university where I received a BA in Theatre and minors in French Language Studies and European Studies.

    How did you hear about the Accademia’s MFA in Physical Theatre?

    I found the Accademia at URTA in Chicago.

    What was the audition process like?

    The audition process for ADA was unlike any other audition I had for grad school. Most of my other auditions were solo and I never got to interact with another actor. I was so pleased to collaborate with other actors during my second audition for ADA. While I found the process to be very challenging, it was also incredibly rewarding.

    Looking ahead to beginning the MFA program, what are you most excited about? 

    I’m excited to meet everyone and to learn from everyone’s unique backgrounds and passions. I can’t wait to be in a safe, encouraging learning environment that fosters growth and challenges us to be better. 

    What advice do you have for someone who’s considering applying for the Accademia’s MFA?

    Have an open mind! Be open to new adventures and going out of your comfort zone. Do your homework on what it is you really want out of an MFA program and be willing to confront those needs head on.


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