Joan Merwyn Physical Theater is currently performing a solo program in three parts, entitled SHIFTINGS. In conjunction, comprehensive residency packages are available, which include teaching all levels of physical theater to drama and dance students, communities and special populations. She is also touring her show for family audiences, cho?ces, which has received enthusiastic responses at schools, community centers, galleries and clinical settings.
Joan Merwyn is a Bessie Award winning, critically acclaimed performance artist and educator who has been creating and presenting original performances for over twenty-five years. Based in New York City, Joan has taught and performed throughout Europe, Canada and the U.S. with her solo performances and as a founding member of several experimental companies. Through stylized physical theater, acting, mime and new vaudeville, Joan Merwyn portrays a range of characters and archetypal conditions with entertaining abstraction, humor, and a flare for the absurd. Her powerful theatrical imagery is enhanced by her own innovative sound scores, which blend music, original text and sound effects. Her work is a weaving of visceral, theatrical imagery which explores social, cultural and personal themes.
Joan has had the opportunity to have trained and worked internationally with some of the greatest influences in contemporary physical theater. Her most important influences and teaching qualifications are from the techniques and theatrical philosophies of Etienne Decroux (France) and Jerzy Grotowski (Poland). Her approach is a unique integration of physical acting and experimental theater.
Joan Merwyn spent two years in Europe, touring and working with the international ensemble, Bremen Bilder Theater in Germany. She was one of only two Americans to be twice invited to perform as a soloist at the International Creative Festival of Mime in Wroclaw, Poland. Other European appearances include Munich International Theater Festival and Vienna Street Theater Festival. In Montreal, Joan spent two years performing her solo work and teaching in Montreal, also appearing at the Montreal International New Mime Festival. She founded The Studio for Mime and Experimental Theater in Providence, RI, where she was awarded an Individual Artist Choreography Fellowship from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She spent five years in the San Francisco area, co-creating numerous performance projects and touring as the critically acclaimed duo group Fools Unlimited. While in the Bay Area, Joan collaborated on many original productions including Make-a-Circus and Giraffe Theater with Leonard Pitt. She spent ten years touring the U.S. as a featured soloist and teacher at the company school in New York City with the NEA award-winning Margolis Brown Company (formerly Adaptors Movement Theater). Joan also performed with the company at the London Mime Festival and Movement Theater International. She appeared at both the Los Angeles Mime Festival and the New York Festival of New Mime with the Corporeal Mime Theater and toured the mid-west extensively.
In New York City, Joan formed her own group, Sound Image Theater, electrifying audiences with original, imagistic, physical theater productions at HERE Arts Center and numerous city venues. She has choreographed and/or directed original, large-scale theatrical, public television, opera and musical productions. She also appeared in several experimental films and Off-Broadway productions. Joan created and directed five, full-length physical theater productions with students during guest artist residencies at Manhattanville College. She holds an Eleanor Roosevelt Community Service Award for her theatrical work with homeless youth in New York City housing shelters. As a choreographer/director her work has been seen on international television, including The Tonight Show and Great Performances.