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Dr. Cynthia Ashperger

Cynthia Ashperger's headshot

Dr. Cynthia Ashperger


Professor, Acting
Head of International and Special Projects


  • PHD Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
  • MA Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
  • BFA Acting


Extension: 556784

Office: AOB 921-57

Dr. Ashperger has over thirty five years of professional experience as an actor, director, producer and playwright. She has been a core Acting teacher at Performance at The Creative School since 1994 and was appointed Director of Acting Program from 2004 to 2019.

She received training in Stanislavski-based curriculum and a number of other methods as diverse as the American Method, Balinese Mask, Butoh dance and Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique. Her teaching philosophy has developed as a hybrid of Chekhov technique and other methods and she have disseminated the benefit of hybridization of a variety of methods in teaching in her book The Rhythm of Space and the Sound of Time: Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique in the 21st Century (Rodopi, 2007).

In the classroom, she emphasizes investigation. She aims to help the actor find creative freedom through many-leveled acting. She encourages the desire to transform, and the ability to think conceptually and abstractly. She is interested in helping students overcome their creative blocks and she researches and utilizes innovative methods within the traditional rehearsal process. She uses these methods in her directing work. She has directed forty productions and scene studies.

As a master teacher she has been invited to teach extensively nationally and internationally. She has also facilitated and raised funds for the Acting Program’s yearly “Croatia Trip”: a week-long intensive workshop offered in partnership between Michael Chekhov Europe and University of Zagreb (Croatia).

Her acting work has garnered two prestigious nominations for immigrant themed productions: Dora Award, Outstanding Performance for her role in Jordan Tannahill’s Feral Child in 2013, and Canadian Screen Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Igor Drljaca’s The Waiting Room in 2016.

She is a published author in both academic and creative disciplines. Most recently her musical comedy Foreign Tongue has been published in a collection of plays titled Scripting (Im)migration: New Canadian Plays.

She has been involved in new play development as an actor, director and writer with a number of Toronto’s theatre companies such as Native Earth, Volcano Theatre Company, Nightwood Theatre Company, Suburban Beast, 4th Line Theatre and her own

  • Acting methodology
  • Diversity
  • Theatre and Immigration
  • Language and identity
  • Creative process and overcoming creative blocks
  • New play development
  • International development

Foreign Tongue:

Language and Identity, Immigrant experience, New Canadian Plays

Year: 2012-2019

Role: Principal Investigator

Produced by: The Creative School, Ontario Arts Council, Go-Fund Me (external link) 


Who Killed Snow White:

New Canadian Play by Judith Thompson

Year: 2013-2019

Role: Actor

Produced by: Nightwood Theatre, 4th Line Theatre (external link) 


The Waiting Room:

Feature Film. Canadian Screen Award Nomination

Year: 2014-2016

Role: Actor

Produced by: Timelapse Pictures (external link) 


Feral Child:

New Canadian Play by Jordan Tannahill. Dora Award Nomination

Year: 2012-2013

Role: Actor

Produced by: Suburban Beast (external link) 


George Kaplan:

New French play by Frederik Sontag.

Year: 2014-2015

Role: Director

Produced by: PlayDrama Theatre (external link) 


The Routledge Companion to Michael Chekhov:

Michael Chekhov’s Five Guiding Principles and Theatre Practice Today: The Case of Tender Napalm by Phillip Ridley.

Year: 2012

Role: Co-Investigator


Ashperger, C. (2019). Foreword. In G. MacFarlane (Ed.), Fierce: five plays for high schools. Winnipeg: Scirocco Drama, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing.

Xenos, L & C. Ashperger (2019). Foreign Tongue. In Y. Meerzon (Ed.), Scripting (Im)migration. Toronto : Playwright’s Canada Press.


Ashperger C. (2017). Foreword. In J. Thompson, Hedda Gabler and Sirens: Elektra in Bosnia. (i-ii), Toronto: Playwright’s Canada Press.

Ashperger, C. (2015). Michael Chekhov’s Five Guiding Principles and Theatre Practice Today: The Case of Tender Napalm by Phillip Ridley. In Y. Meerzon and C. Autant-Matieu (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Michael Chekhov (1st ed., pp. 372-389). London and New York: Routledge.

Ashperger, C. (2012). Daughter of The Air: Three Acting Sessions and Nina Arsenault’s Imaginary Body. J. Rudakoff (Ed.) TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: Body of Work, Body of Art Bristol (pp 43-55). Bristol: Intellect Press.

Ashperger, C. (2008.) The Rhythm of Space and the Sound of Time: Michael Chekhov’s Acting Technique in the 21st century. Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi.

Ashperger, C. (2009). Chekhov’s Psychological Gesture in the Directing Process. In A. Migliarisi (Ed.), Stanislavski and Directing: Theory, Practice, Influence. (pp. 113-1290 Toronto: Legas.

Ashperger, C. (2015) Tongue Play: An Auto Etnography. Theatre Research Canada, (Fall 2015, Vol. 36.2.) Where? : Publisher?

Ashperger, C. (2003) Michael Chekhov International Conferences 2000-2002”. In Slavic Quarterly (Vol.4). Retrieved from (