Joan Schirle

Founding Artistic Director

Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre

PO Box 305
Blue Lake, CA 95525
United States
(707) 668-5663 x 11
(707) 668-5253


Joan Schirle is the Founding Artistic Director of Dell'Arte International and served as director of the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre from 2002 - 2011. She is an actor, playwright, director, deviser and teacher, whose acting work was recognized with a 2006 Fox Foundation/TCG Resident Actor Fellowship for professional development. In 2004 she was honored at the 16th Cairo International Experimental Theatre Festival as a leader in the field of experimental theatre. Joan designed the curriculum for DAI’s accredited MFA in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre, now in its eighth year, and continues to direct DAI's annual Bali program. She is a senior teacher of the FM Alexander Technique; her teaching work includes movement, mask performance, commedia dell'arte, voice and physical acting. She has devoted her research to the work of the actor as mover/creator. Joan has taught in MFA programs at Yale, UCSD, University of Missouri Kansas City, as well as for the artists of Cirque du Soleil. She has directed productions at San Diego Rep, the Alley in Houston, Bloomsburg Ensemble, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Touchstone Ensemble, Colorado University/Boulder and Dell'Arte; her solo show, "Second Skin," has been seen in many US and international cities. In Fall, 2012 she was invited to teach physical acting at the Beijing Dance Academy in China. She is a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), VASTA, and TCG. In 2013 she played the twins, Antiphola of Ephesus and Syracuse in "The Comedy of Errors" at the Mad River Festival, and in 2014 developed a new movement theatre work, "Elisabeth's Book," adapted from a Holocaust memoir. In 2016 her newest play, "The Big Thirst," was produced by the Mad River Festival; the feature film, "Mary Jane: A Musical Potumentary" in which she plays the title role, was released; she began an international collaboration with artist Marit Benthe Norheim. Joan was part of TCG's 50th anniversary series of short videos of 50 US theatre artists: Photo: Robin Robin

Movement Specialties:

Alexander Technique

Alignment/Release Work

Body Language

Clowning and Circus

Commedia dell'Arte


Devised Theatre



Movement for Singers

Movement for the Actor

Physical Characterization

Physical Theatre

Self Use

Solo Performance


Blog Posts by Joan:

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