Gavy Kessler

Job: Theater Director
Education: B.S. Educational Theater, New York University, M.A. Performance Studies, New York University, Ph.D. Drama, University of California, Irvine

Imagining and co-creating different worlds empowers students to dream of their future while giving them the tools to build it, inhabit it, and share it.

I have worked as an actor, performance artist, playwright, director, and educator in New York City, Los Angeles, and Vermont. My training includes work with contemporary masters including world-renowned director JoAnn Akalaitis, and performance artist, Tim Miller. Before coming to Putney he taught at Temple University, Marlboro College, Neighborhood Schoolhouse and New England Youth Theater. I currently serves on the Board of Directors at Main Street Arts and I’ve been in numerous productions there—“The Secret Garden,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Chicago, ”Charles Henry’s Final Curtain,” “Equus,” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Theater at Putney is all about transformation and collaboration. 

The rehearsal room and the stage hold the power to transform individual perspectives and challenge modes of oppression. The process of embodying a character can be liberating as we try on new identities and exercise our ability to empathize with our characters, no matter how different they are from ourselves. 

Involvement in theater, both recreationally and professionally, holds incredible potential for youth. Imagining and co-creating different worlds empowers students to dream of their future while giving them the tools to build it, inhabit it, and share it. I strive to remind our students of these powerful concepts that lie beneath the surface of our work, while fostering an environment of joy, laughter, and support.

At Putney, we encourage collaboration between actors, designers, stage managers, and technicians to foster an environment in which ideas thrive and problems are solved creatively. For those students who work best independently, playwriting and solo performance offer chances to create deeply personal theater on their own. 

I find that our students balance an openness to new material with a critical lens that asks, “why is this important?” The theater is full of rich material, but the importance so often lies in the process. When we connect with each other and connect with the audience we participate in transforming the world in real time. 

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