Marta Rainer

Senior Lecturer and Director of Theatre and Theatre Studies

As performer, teacher, director, and writer, I aim to strike a balance between irreverence, honor, gleeful failure, discipline, and fervor.

I aim to help my students gain a deep awareness of the technical components and practical application of theatrical performance craft -- while simultaneously marveling at the wonders of human behavior which drama seeks to explore. As in my own professional life, I strongly encourage in the inventive lives of my students a confident autonomy as creators who can envision a product, articulate their goals, and relish navigating the process towards its accomplishment. An educational investigation of theatre provides the unique incentive to understand, engage in and challenge the many iterations of this ritual. It foments a productive confrontation between a student’s need to surrender to the unknown and to simultaneously embrace self-discipline – an imbalance which, in fact, professionals of many vocations continue to address, thus making its coursework valuable to all.

The spectrum of my interests runs the gamut from Stanislavski to Viola Spolin to solo performance (much inspired by my own conservatory training with Mike Nichols, George Morrison and Paul Sills at New Actors Workshop) as well as documentary theatre and performance art (a natural extension of my work as founding ensemble member of the NY Neo-Futurists). But whatever the form of dramatic storytelling, and in whatever courses I may teach here at my alma mater, I keep at the root of it all the commitment to risk being embarrassed, bored, or – scarier – profoundly transformed by other humans, in real time. In experiencing both drama and the teaching of it alike, we must agree to gather in a room with the intention to tell each other stories; this is the most basic and beautiful beginning to each theatrical endeavor. So please - come play!

My solo works have been produced nationally, internationally and Off-Broadway, I've had works of fiction, non-fiction and drama published, I have won awards both for acting and performance art, and have learned from some of the titans of our artistic era...but first and foremost, I should fess up to you that I have a cameo in a viral College Humor video. (You'd have hunted it down eventually.)

I hike, and take macro shots of flowers. I bake bread and will force you to eat it. I miss the Tatra mountains, and in movement class I sometimes play Old School Polish pop to quell my longing for the Motherland (Ojczyzno moja!). I owe much to the Wellesley College Russian department. My brother got me a personalized autograph from Sir Tom Jones and I wept with joy. I road trip like a champ with my hunky, talented and inspiring husband Paul. Looking forward to meeting you!


  • B.A., Wellesley College
  • M.A., Antioch University