Portrait of Dr Eric  Hetzler Dr Eric Hetzler

eric.hetzler@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471148


Eric Hetzler received his BA in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MFA in Performance from the University of Georgia. He began his professional acting career at the age of 12 when he cast by the world-renowned Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. Since that beginning, he has performed in more than 100 stage, screen, and other media productions. In 1999, after a national search, he was hired as Executive Director of the Central Minnesota Children’s Theatre. During his tenure there, he produced or directed more than two dozen shows for the company and others around the region. In 2004, he moved to the UK to pursue a PhD in Drama at the University of Exeter. He completed this in 2007. He continued teaching at Exeter until accepting this position at Huddersfield. Eric has continued to act in his time here, having performed Richard III, Polonius in Hamlet and Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII. In 2007 he performed in Pericles as part of the Summer in the Dell series in Stratford upon Avon. Most recently, he played Alsemero in The Changeling.

Outside of the theatre, Eric enjoys sailing and cooking.

Research and Scholarship

The primary thrust of Dr. Hetzler’s research is investigating the experience of performance through the use of questionnaires and interviews of performers. His most recent work, entitled The Actor’s Experience was an online survey of more than 300 stage-based actors which was supported by more than 35 hours of interviews compiled into a documentary film. He is most interested in how performers describe the experience of performing; specifically looking at the role of emotion, awareness and multiple consciousness, and the relation the actor has to the role/character. This work has produced an article entitle “Actors and Emotion in Performance” published in the journal, Studies in Theatre and Performance. He also presented a paper at the 3rd International Conference on Consciousness in Theatre, Literature and the Arts entitled “Actor Awareness in Performance”.

His interest in the experience of performing has led him to explore performer training and theory, with a particular emphasis on efficacy and economic impact. He is particularly interested in mass publication actor training books and their affect on young actors. He is also examining historical actor training, in particular, the work of Francois Delsarte.

As a practitioner, Eric is interested in the actor’s energy and awareness. He has spent the last several years exploring personal energy and its manipulation. This derives from Stanislavski’s ideas about radiation and Chekhov’s atmospheres.

Recently, Dr. Hetzler has begun an exploration of Susanna Bloch’s ALBA Emoting patterns which were developed as a training method for actors. He is quite interested in investigating this emotion-based training technique.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Hetzler, E (2012) ‘Actor Self vs. Character Self An Empirical ExplorationJournal for Artistic Research , 2012 (2). ISSN 2235-0225

Hetzler, E (2012) ‘Actor awareness in performance: an examination of actor descriptions from the survey of the actor's experience and William Archer's masks or facesConsciousness, Literature and the Arts . ISSN 1470-5648


Hetzler, E (2010) ‘The actor's awareness: an empirical examination from the survey of the actor's experience’. In: Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts 2009. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 46-65. ISBN 1445816493


Hetzler, E (2007) ‘Actors and Emotion in PerformanceStudies in Theatre and Performance , 28 (1), pp. 59-78. ISSN 1468-2761

Research Degree Supervision

I am very interested in supervising postgraduate students with interests in the following areas:

  • Actor Training and Pedagogy
  • Awareness/Consciousness in Performance
  • Performativity
  • Psychological and/or Psychophysical Actor Training
  • Empirical Performance Research