Steven Westdahl

Actor, Writer, Improv, etc.

2000 Alumni

Biography

Theater & Film Studies and English, 2000
Oakland, CA
Free-lance actor, writer, director, improvisor, improv coach, live-event host, and voice-over talent

Since Emory

Steven remained based out of Atlanta for 12 years and worked professionally as an actor, playwright, writer, improvisor, director, and designer [in addition, the occasional barista and bartender]. He co-founded and managed his own production company, Collective Works, in Atlanta for 3 years, creating shows like The Wide Open Beaver Festival, The Invisible College, and several multimedia memorial services [for writers like Robert Anton Wilson and Hunter S. Thompson]. His short play, Play, was the opening piece in 30 Below, the show that launched Out Of Hand, and Steven collaborated with that company several more times as both actor and playwright on productions like Big Love and The SHOW!  He worked in Atlanta with TE [as a professional hire], Alliance, Dad’s Garage, Seven Stages, PushPush, Horizon, Twinhead, Synchronicity, The Center for Puppetry Arts, and others as well as Turner/Cartoon Network/Adult Swim. He travelled for work in places like Indonesia [Bali National Arts Festival], Russia [Teatr Koleso], Amsterdam [IJ Festival], Ireland [Yeats Summer School in Sligo], Scotland [Edinburgh Fringe Festival], Chicago [The Second City], Austin [New Movement Improv Theater]. He directed several weeks of Atlanta’s 365 Plays/Days as well as producing/directing/acting in The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett…, Atlanta’s final offering during the Year of Beckett.

Back in CA since May 2011. Currently works as CA-based free-lance actor, writer, director, improvisor, improv coach, live-event host, and voice-over talent with a regular part-time gig with Bay Area Arts Marketing [BAAM] at the Berkeley Repertory Theater’s fund-raising and subscription sales call-room. Getting ready to launch a new production company, Terminus Theater [based upon the one I designed for Pat Miller’s Theater Management class at Emory].

Current activities

Steven hosts the monthly live WRITE CLUB SF event and co-hosts the weekly podcast of the same name. He also hosts quarter-annual Air Sex competitions in SF [as well as being the semi-retired 2010 National Air Sex Champion]. Coaches the 60 Minotaurs improv team [formerly 50 Centaurs] in the improv format, The Guest, based upon the mockumentaries of Christopher Guest.

Currently under contract with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, understudying several roles in Henry V and playing Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream tour through April 2013.

Highlights at Emory

Worked with TE [including TE/Starving Artist summertime co-productions], former artistic director of Starving Artists [‘99-‘00], co-creator of Theater In Your Face festival, 4 year member of Rathskellar [‘96-‘00], worked with Ad Hoc [including the infamous production of Hair], helped to retire WMRE, helped to launch Emory Television [with a sketch comedy show, The Shepherds], Furry Curry winner [Best Actor ‘00]

Working with Nobel Prize-winner Wole Soyinka, SITI Company training, Kenny Raskin and the New Millennium Clown festival, 3 years of the Black Rose Theater, all of the many Brave New Works, our trip to the Humana Festival, participating in the simulated classroom hiring process of John Ammerman and then playing a clown scene in Measure For Measure with him that same year. The Emory Issues Troupe [‘95] got me on Emory’s payroll for a year while we toured a show to local high schools and I spent my entire time at Emory with a student/staff status.

I began working as an actor at the age of 9. Coming from CA to GA the summer before my senior year of high school, I ended up at Emory almost by accident. I arrived talented and reckless. I left skilled and trained. Finding an undergrad program embedded within an Equity production company [or vice versa] was the best possible experience for me. I was working professionally [paid by an Equity house] in Atlanta by the summer between my freshman and sophomore year [Dream Boy, Seven Stages]. My professors, whither in a classroom, a rehearsal room, or on a stage, were and remain my trusted and admired peers.

If you can make it through your time at Theater Emory without ever angering Robert Schultz or any other stage management representative, you will have learned incredibly valuable lessons of behavior and attitude.

In retrospect

The great thing about being a working theater artist is, no matter what type of subject you pursue, any and all moments of learning makes you a more well-rounded human. While at Emory, I studied physics, astronomy, sociology, anthropology, biology, chemistry, studio arts, martial arts, philosophy, religion, and incredible courses in humanities on subjects like Comic Books and American Culture in addition to my Theatre/Film and English degree courses. All of that and more are available to you.