Amy Guterson – Founder and Director - (Creativity and the Arts, Improv, Acting)
The Tzohar Seminary for Chassidus and the Arts reflects Mrs. Amy Guterson’s vision to create a haven for young women who are creatively gifted; a place to study Chassidus intensively and train as artists who will use their G-d given gifts to bring light to the world. As a practicing artist, as a director and nurturer of others’ talent, and as a teacher of acting and improvisation, Mrs. Guterson knows full well that those who are blessed with G-d given talent need to create and give through those talents. She believes that creative expression is a way of living B’Tselem Elokim, and that the creative process itself is a spiritual, G-dly one.
Mrs. Guterson grew up in New York and received her BA from Stern College, Yeshiva University with a major in Theatre and a minor in Fine Arts. She went on to earn her graduate level degree in acting from The New Actors Workshop where she studied with director Mike Nichols and improvisation specialist Paul Sills. She also studied with acclaimed actress and teacher Uta Hagen at the Berghof Studio in NY. Amy was a member of Actor’s Equity, and performed in classical, Yiddish and Jewish theatre Off- Broadway.
After marrying and moving to Pittsburgh, especially for the wonderful Chabad community, Amy co-founded the Kol Isha Theatre group which consisted of Jewish women from across the spectrum of Judaism. As Artistic Director for the group, she taught acting and improvisation and directed play development for most of the group’s original productions and workshops (based on issues of Jewish womanhood and Jewish unity/disunity). She has also written and directed some of the group’s full length plays, trigger scenes and workshops.
Mrs. Guterson wrote, directed and produced the award winning film “Becoming Rachel”, which premiered at the Pittsburgh Jewish/Israeli Film Festival and was screened at festivals across the country and Israel, where it won first prize.
For sixteen years, she has been a member of Pittsburgh Playback Theatre , a therapeutic form of theatre which “plays back” its audience’s stories and feelings through improvisation. She has conceived , directed and edited many creative, narrative videos for Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, as well as taught acting and directed numerous theatrical productions for the Yeshiva Girls’ High School. Mrs. Guterson has taught and directed for Yeshiva Schools, Hillel Academy and the Torah Academy in South Africa. She is a board member for ATARA- the Arts and Torah Association for Religious Artists, and has taught master acting and play development classes at their conferences.
Aside from theatre and film, Amy has studied fine arts, dance, voice, playwriting and screenwriting. Understanding the path of the talented, creative, young woman devoted to living a Chassidic Torah life, Mrs. Guterson looks forward to nurturing each student, helping her to grow as an artist and as a Shlucha through her G-d given gifts.