• Zisan Ugurlu

    Associate Professor of Theater

    Office Location:

    Eugene Lang Building


    Zishan Ugurlu, a native of Istanbul, has been has been working in New York and abroad as a theater artist since 1995. She is a resident actress and director at La MaMa Theater. She played Carmen in an award-winning production of Robert Woodruff’s Godard-Distant and Right Grand Prix - at the Festival at Theatre in Paris and was featured in Dog Race, which won the Martin Scorsese Award. Zishan’s directing credits include Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare at Istanbul Municipality Theater, In the Storm of Pleasure by Daniel Benhamu (Won “Best Debut Solo Performance” at United Solo Festival 2014), The Surrender by Toni Bentley, The Judith of Shimoda by Bertolt Brecht, π-ROJECT based on The Persians by Aeschylus, Oysters, Orgasms, Obituaries by Raina von Waldenburg, which was nominated for New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, The Law of Remains by Reza Abdoh, Purge by Sofi Oksanen, The Realm of Darkness by Leo Tolstoy, Baghdadi Bath by Jawad Al Assadi, The Father by August Strindberg, Temptation by Vaclav Havel, Blood on a Cat’s Neck by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Request Programme by Franz Xavier Kroetz, The Last Supper by Lars Norén, Operetta by Witold Gombrowicz, Until the Next Whirl by Rumi, Watershed and Serious At All by T. Soper, Blood Wedding by Lorca, and Big Love by Charles L. Mee. Along with her work at Eugene Lang College, Zishan also worked with Rehabilitation for the Arts (RTA) teaching theater classes to inmates in at a maximum security prison in New York exploring the topic of reentry. She is the founding artistic director of Actors without Borders-ITONY, an ensemble-based theater company committed to introduce well known and highly regarded but rarely produced playwrights to American audiences. She is the recipient of prestigious Fox Foundation Fellowship, bestowed by Theater Communication Group.

    Zishan hopes to inspire students to “flirt with fear” in the attempts to make the invisible visible and uses Andrey Tarkovsky’s description of an artistic discovery as a mantra.

    “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.” - Andrey Tarkovsky

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

    Degrees Held:

    • 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”)

    Professional Affiliations:

    • Actors Equity
    • Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
    • 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 (2004 - 2011)

    Research Interests:

    • To explore the symbiotic relationship between the arts and sciences through the creation of a new theatrical vocabulary.
    • Neuroscience, architecture, film.


    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.
    • Fox Foundation Fellowship, Theater Communication Group (TCG)
    • Best Debut Solo Performance, The One Festival and United Solo festival at Theater Row