Blessed Unrest is an award-winning physical theatre ensemble that has been devising plays in New York City and touring internationally for over seventeen years. We also teach our physical theatre and devising methods to students and organizations in workshops and residencies.
Photo by Vida Tayebati
Theatre Artists and Students
Grounded in Viewpoints, our work is physical, rigorous, and empowering. We challenge and inspire students to be proactive theatre makers with a heightened awareness of the ensemble. We give them creative tools applicable to every process, from the traditional to the experimental. Workshops are tailored to the skills and needs of each group. We offer:
High Schools and Universities
- one-day workshops and lecture demonstrations
- one- and two-week intensives
- semester-long classes at schools in the NYC area
- devising intensives, in which original devised pieces are created with students
- full-company residencies, in which we teach workshops to students while our ensemble creates and presents new work
- guest direction of productions by Artistic Director Jessica Burr
- one-on-one monologue coaching
- group workshops for individual artists or existing ensembles
- movement coaching and direction for productions
Corporations and Non-Theatre Professionals
We bring our methods to teams working together on any task across the corporate world, and individuals preparing for presentations. No theatre experience necessary! Workshops are tailored to the needs and interests of each group. We offer:
- seminars in collaboration, team-building, and creative problem-solving
- workshops in presence and confidence in public speaking and presentations
- ongoing classes to foster communication and collaboration, or to focus on a particular issue or challenge
- one-on-one sessions to enhance physical and vocal presence, and to build confidence when entering any room
- coaching for presentations and speeches
Stephens College, photo by King’s Things Photography
We have taught at Prishtina University (Kosovo), Texas Tech University, Eastern New Mexico University, Centenary College (NJ), Stephens College (MO), and at Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festivals. We have led many workshops in New York for visiting groups including from UNICEF, Cyprus Falls High School (Texas), and Seoul Institute of the Arts (Korea).
Photo by Vida Tayebati
If you would like to discuss bringing Blessed Unrest to your school or organization, please contact us at 646‑238‑0829 or
Photo by Vida Tayebati
The two-week immersive physical theatre training developed by Blessed Unrest stands among the most essential and effective training for young theatre artists I have encountered in over 25 years of college and university teaching. Under the guidance of the brilliant team of Jessica Burr and Matt Opatrny, the visionaries behind Blessed Unrest, students are challenged to create an original, company-driven devised physical theatre piece while being introduced to cutting edge movement modalities, and a variety of story-telling techniques. What emerges in performance is an electrifying synthesis of theatre, dance, movement, music, original text, and design – a journey which not only inspired our students, but changed the creative trajectory of our program as well. Highest recommendation!
Blessed Unrest indeed. They have brought our students training in everything from playwriting to devised theatre, from movement to intention, from creation to dissection. They do exactly what the title of their innovative theatre company suggests—inspire the sort of unrest that serves as a catalyst, encouraging students to explore how their inner psyche interacts with their physical presence. They are truly “blessed” in how far they take our students in only a few days.
Hired to help kick off WildWind Performance Laboratory, a month long intensive in June, Jessica and Matt were instrumental in finding how to best reach students, to push them hard without pushing them away, and to foster growth in a challenging but safe environment. Innovators in theory and practice, Blessed Unrest will shake your educational foundation to the core, and then help rebuild it, better and stronger than it was before.
NYU’s College of Global Public Health offers a unique course called Behavioral Communications Strategies for Epidemics that brings behavior change communications specialists working in high-risk areas around the world together with graduate students to design innovative communications strategies. Blessed Unrest ran a workshop for the course recently on how to use collaboration and theatrical tools to communicate sensitive messages to vulnerable communities. The workshop was a big success with the class, especially due to the professional and thoughtful program that Blessed Unrest put together, and a number of the final proposals reflected what students learned from the team. I have no doubt that it resulted in better public health options for many people.