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Brian Byrnes is an Associate Professor (Movement for Actors, Stage Combat, Directing) at the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance where he teaches on the graduate and undergraduate levels and directs for the main stage productions. In Spring 2006, Brian was honored to be the recipient of the University of Houston “Teaching Excellence Award in the Performing/Visual Arts, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences”.
He holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts (with honors) from the University of Iowa, and a M.F.A. in Acting (with an additional emphasis in Directing) from the University of Pittsburgh.
In 1992 and 1995, Brian was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, Department of Theatre Arts. In 2003, Brian was pleased to create an annual “Physical Performance Scholarship” for the University of Iowa, Department of Theatre Arts. The scholarship is based on good academic standing and awarded to an undergraduate student who demonstrates talent in the art of physical performance and who is a supportive contributor within an ensemble. Brian has also served as a faculty member with Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has served as a faculty member and guest artist with numerous other colleges, institutes and training programs across the country.
As an actor, he has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Off-Broadway, regional theatres, Shakespeare festivals, television and commercials. Acting work in Houston includes Stages Repertory Theatre (“Jack & Jill”, “The Pavilion”, “Recent Tragic Events”) and the Alley Theatre (“Little Shop of Horrors”). He is a member of AEA and AFTRA. Brian also works as a director and has written several plays that have been professionally produced.
As a fight director, New York and Regional credits include the Lincoln Center, Lucille Lortel Theatre, John Housman Theatre, Westbeth Theatre, Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre, New American Theatre, Iowa Summer Repertory, Tulsa Opera, San Antonio Opera, Dallas Theatre Center and many other companies around the country. In Houston, his fight directing includes the Alley Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, Stages Repertory Theatre, Theatre Under The Stars, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Houston Ballet, The Ensemble Theatre, as well as other area theatres. Brian has also worked with animation companies as a “motion capture” fight director and performer including Retro Studios/Nintendo in the United States, and Starbreeze in Sweden.
He currently serves as Vice President of the Society of American Fight Directors, and his SAFD credentials include Fight Director and Certified Teacher of Stage Combat Arts. In 2000, he was honored with the title of SAFD Fight Master in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the art form and service to the SAFD. He serves as an official adjudicator for the SAFD Skills Proficiency Tests, which are conducted at universities and colleges both nationally and internationally. Brian has twice served (2001 and 2004) as an official adjudicator/judge for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) “Henry Marshall Prize Fights” with other judges including John Barton, Henry Goodman, Malcolm Ranson and Richard Bradshaw. He regularly teaches Movement, Stage Combat, and Acting at regional, national, and international workshops, conferences, and seminars. Other membership includes ATME (Association of Theatre Movement Educators).