Zishan Ugurlu, a native of Istanbul, has been working
in New York and abroad as a theater artist since 1995.

She is a resident actress and director at La MaMa Theater.



Zishan Ugurlu, a native of Istanbul, has been working
in New York and abroad as a theater artist since 1995.

She is a resident actress and director at La MaMa Theater.

She was awarded the Grand Prix at the Festival at Theatre in Paris for her role as Carmen in Robert Wooduff’s, Godard-Distant and Right. She also received the Martin Scorsese Award for her role inDog Race. Zishan’s directing credits include In the Storm of Pleasure by Daniel Benhamu, The Surrender by Toni Bentley, The Judith of Shimoda by Bertolt Brecht, π-ROJECT based on The Persians by Aeschylus, Oysters, Orgasms, Obituaries by Raina von Waldenburg, which was nominated for New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, The Law of Remains by Reza Abdoh, Purge by Sofi Oksanen, The Realm of Darkness by Leo Tolstoy, Baghdadi Bath by Jawad Al Assadi,The Father by August Strindberg, Temptation by Vaclav Havel, Blood on a Cat’s Neck by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Request Programme by Franz Xavier Kroetz, The Last Supper by Lars Norén, Operetta by Witold Gombrowicz, Until the Next Whirl by Rumi, Watershed and Serious At All by T. Soper, Blood Wedding by Lorca, and Big Love by Charles L. Mee. Along with her work at Eugene Lang College, Zishan also works with Rehabilitation for the Arts (RTA) teaching theater classes to inmates in at a maximum security prison in New York exploring the topic of reentry. She is the founding artistic director of Actors without Borders-ITONY, an ensemble-based theater company committed to introduce well known and highly regarded but rarely produced playwrights to American Audiences. She is the recipient of prestigious Fox Foundation Fellowship, bestowed by Theater Communication Group. 

Zishan hopes to inspire students to “flirt with fear” in the attempts to make the invisible visible and uses Andrey Tarkovsky’s description of an artistic discovery as a mantra.

“An artistic discovery occurs each time as a new and unique image of the world, a hieroglyphic of absolute truth. It appears as revelation, as a momentary, passionate wish to grasp intuitively and at a stroke all the laws of this world-its beauty and ugliness, its compassion and cruelty, its infinity and its limitations.” - Andrey Tarkovsky

Zishan Ugurlu discusses teaching and learning at Lang in a project made possible with a grant from Bringing Theory to Practice.



   2004-Present     Associate Professor of Theater Program in Arts - Tenured
                                                    Eugene Lang College The New School University for Liberal Arts - NY

                    2008-2011            Lecturer
                                                 Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, NY – Medium Security

                                         2013                     Lecturer
                                                                      Sing Sing Correctional Facility, NY – Maximum Security

                                         2014                     Lecturer and Workshop Leader for the formerly incarcerated
                                                                      Rehabilitation Through The Arts

                                         2005-2008         Lecturer in Continuing Education (Part Time)                                                                                                                  Columbia University Summer School (Summer 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

                                         2003-2004       Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance Department (Tenure Track)                 Trinity College, Hartford, CT                    
                                        2002-2003       Assistant Professor of Theater Department                                                                             Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT                 

                                        1987-1989           Guest Lecturer in Theater Department                                                                                             Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, Turkey                     





MFA Acting           
Columbia University School of the Arts, New York. Completed the Master of Fine Arts Program under the supervision of Andrei Serban (Acting), Nikolaus and Ursula Wolcz (Acting and Movement), Anne Bogart (Suzuki, View Point), Kristin Linklater (Voice, Linklater Technique), Robert Woodruff, Bartlett Sher (Directing),
Arnold Aronson (Theater History), Eduardo Machado (Playwriting) (Graduated Spring 2000).                                                                                                      

Theater Department of Ankara University, Turkey. Dissertation: "The Importance of the Play as a Cultural Concept" Supervised by Prof. Dr. Sevda Sener and Prof. Dr. Metin And.       

MFA Directing        
Theater Department of Istanbul Mimar Sinan University. Thesis on "Staging Concepts of Raymond Queneau's Excersises De Style" Supervised by Prof. Dr. Cevat Capan.

Theater Department of Ankara University, Turkey. Thesis on "Aziz Nesin's Plays and Structuralism" Supervised by
Prof. Dr. Aysegul Yuksel