Movement, Guest Director
New York Campus
Heather's work in the theatre spans many areas. She began her career as a professional actress, and gradually her interests expanded to include a specialization in movement training for actors, directing, and playwriting. She continues to actively pursue all of these interests and is energized by the way these different disciplines overlap and fuel one another.
As a professional Equity actress Heather has toured internationally with the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at American Repertory Theatre/ Moscow Art Theatre at Harvard University (Phaedra 4.48 dir. by Robert Woodruff/ Mercedes Murphy, Rhinoceros, dir. by Roman Kozak) and nationally with Montana Repertory Theatre (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Trip To Bountiful - dir. Greg Johnson) Regional theatre credits include American Repertory Theatre's world premiere of Rinde Eckert's Highway Ulysses - dir. Robert Woodruff, and Children of Herakles - dir. Peter Sellars), North Carolina Shakespeare Festival (Othello, Twelfth Night), Sierra Repertory Theatre (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), A Contemporary Theatre's Cabaret Space (Jane Eyre, with Book It Theatre, Replay< Stoppard< Radio, with Boomer Classics, dir. Jeff Steitzer), Village Theatre (Eleanor, Play It By Heart, Carnival, Bells Are Ringing), Children's Theatre Company (Mel Marvin's world premiere of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Wind in the Willows, East of the Sun West of the Moon, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), among others.
In New York, Heather is a company member of the award winning Brooklyn based company East River Commedia as both an actor and movement specialist. (Innovative Theatre Awards: Best Play, Best Director in 2005 for Serenade and Philosopher Fox, movement specialist for Magnificent Cuckold, dir. Paul Bargetto) East River Commedia is currently in development of a new original piece, Automotive, which was a part of the Undergroundzero Festival (UGZ) at PS 122 this summer.
As a playwright, Heather also works closely with Theatre Trouve in New York, artistic director Mercedes Murphy. The development of Heather's original one woman show, Living With Betty, which premiered in Seattle in 1999 with Ursa Major Theatre, dir. John Longenbaugh, was expanded into a fully cast production as a part of the New York Fringe Festival in 2003, dir. Mercedes Murphy. This collaboration continues with an original play, Half Awake and Falling through the Sky, written by Mercedes Murphy and Heather Benton, which received it's first reading this summer also as part of UGZ at PS 122. Heather also teaches playwriting with children at the JCC Metrowest's Triple Threat Theatre Camp. Original plays with pre-existing music include (Lost... At Turtleback, Ghost Light, Camp Star, Sleepover Story, The House On the Hill, and Detention Day).
As a movement instructor/ specialist/ choreographer, in addition to numerous productions at The Academy (Emma, Ring Round the Moon, Trojan Women, Cloud Nine, Les Liason Dangereux,The Great Magoo, Stage Door etc...), Heather has also worked with Montclair State University (Arcadia, 1001), Kenyon College (Blood: Brother and Sisters), University of Montana's: The Colony, Rutgers University Summer Conservatory for High School Students, and East River Commedia's training program, The Flying Sandbox.
She has directed numerous productions at The Academy in both the Styles and Graduation series (Emma, Ring Round the Moon, Trojan Women, and Water Children) as well as an industry showcase for Actor's Without Borders and most recently La Chunga with Indigo Playground which received a site specific production at the Nuyorican Poets Caf�.
Theatre training and education includes an MFA in Acting from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at American Repertory Theatre/ Moscow Art Theatre at Harvard University. Studied with Robert Woodruff, artistic director of American Repertory Theatre 2002-2007, Scott Zigler (co-writer of A Practical Handbook for the Actor, Marcus Stern, Janos Szasz, Fitzmaurice Master Teacher: Nancy Houfek, Master Teachers from Moscow Art School: Yuri Yeremin, Roman Kozak, Andre Droznin, and Andre Shupkin, Master Classes with Anne Bogart's SITI Company (Viewpoints and Suzuki Training), Performing Apprentice with the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, BA in Theatre and English from University of Minnesota, University of Southern California BFA Acting Program, one year.