Ugurlu, Zishan

Zishan Ugurlu
  • PhD, Theater Department of Ankara University (Thesis on “The Importance of the Play as a Cultural Concept”);
  • MFA, Directing (Thesis on Staging Concepts of “Raymond Queneau’s Excersises De Style”);
  • MFA, Acting, Columbia University, School of Arts, Theater; 
  • BA, Theater Department of Ankara University (Thesis on “Aziz Nesin: Plays and the Structuralism”)
Associate Professor, Theater

For me the creation of art is not an escape from life but a penetration into it.  Andrey Tarkovsky said, “An artistic discovery occurs each time as a new and unique image of the world, a hieroglyphic of absolute truth. It appears as revelation, as a momentary, passionate wish to grasp intuitively and at a stroke all the laws of this world-its beauty and ugliness, its compassion and cruelty, its infinity and its limitations.”  I strongly believe this and try to create a bridge between the self and the other.  My deep desire to connect and my belief in the profound transformational power of art are the driving forces behind my work.

Zishan Ugurlu discusses teaching and learning at Lang in a project made possible with a grant from Bringing Theory to Practice.   

Courses Taught:
  • Creating Solo Performances
  • Advanced Acting: Banned Plays
  • Intermediate Acting: Modern Plays
  • Ellis Island: Island of Hope, Island of Tears
  • Intermediate Directin 
Office Location:
Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts
65 West 11th Street, Room 069
New York, NY  10011
Office Hours:
Mon - Wed 12:00 - 2:00
Phone Number/Extension:
212-229-5100 x2069


Research Interests:

To more fully understand the relationship between art and science—to connect my past philosophical and scientific studies with my present artistic work.

To explore the implications of multiculturalism on art through collaboration with artists from across the globe: from Balinese performers to Turkish shadow puppeteers to Japanese haiku poets to Indian Kathakali dancers.

I am also extremely interested literature, sound art, fine art, film and architectural theories in relation to performance practices.

Professional Affiliations:
  • Actors Equity
  • Actor and Director-in-Residence at La MaMa E.T.C.
  • Artistic Director of Actors Without Borders-ITONY
  • Curator of The Gallery at Marmara-Manhattan
  • Artistic Director of Eugene Lang Productions
Recent Presentations/Exhibits:
  • Acting:
    2005, Medea in The Medea, directed by Jay Scheib
    2004, Helen of Troy in The Trojan Women, directed by Andrei Serban
    2003, Draupadi in Draupadi, directed by Ellen Stewart
    2002, One-Woman Show—Dario Fo’s Peasant’s Bible, directed by Ron Jenkins
    2000, Carmen in Godard-Distant and Right, directed by Robert Woodruff
  • Directing:
    2005, Request Programme by Franz Xaver Kroetz
    2004, The Last Supper by Lars Norèn
    2004, Big Love by Charles Mee
    2003, Blood Wedding by Frederico Lorca
Awards and Honors:
  • Martin Scorsese Award, for acting in the film Dog Race
  • Grand Marnier and W. Johnson Awards at the New York Film Festival, for acting in the film Dog Race.

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