Phillip Zarrilli is the founding Artistic Director of The Llanarth Group. He is internationally known as a director and performer, and for training actors through a pre-performative/psychophysical process using Asian martial and mediation arts. Phillip is also widely known as an award winning author. He maintains a private studio in West Wales (Tyn-y-parc CVN Kalari/Studio) where he holds annual intensive psychophysical training, and rehearses productions with The Llanarth Group. He is also Emeritus Professor of Performance Practice, Dramat Department, at Exeter University, U.K. He regularly teaches and/or directs students of acting at the Norwegian Theatre Academy and Intercultural Theatre Institute (Singapore).
Phillip’s recent directorial work includes The Llanarth Group’s richard III redux OR Sara Beer [is/not] richard III which premiered 08 March, 2018 at Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff); Kaite O’Reilly’s And Suddenly I Disappear (an Unlimited commission with partners in Singapore, premiereing May 2018 in Singapore, touring to Southbank Centre and other UK venues September, 2018); …semblance…sequel…specter: Beckett’s Footfalls and Play, in association with The National Theatre Company (Costa Rica) and Collective Escenico Dragon (2017); world premiere of Kaite O’Reilly’s Cosy (Wales Millennium Centre, 2016); Kaite O’Reilly’s the 9 fridas with Mobius Strip (Taipei) on invitation at the Hong Kong Rep International Black Box Festival (2016; original production as Guest Director at Taipei Arts Festival in 2014); The Llanarth Group’s Told by the Wind on limited UK tour (2016; premiered 2010); Ota Shogo’s The Water Station for Nordland Teatre (Norway, 2015); and playing ‘the maids’—co-created by The Llanarth Group, Gaitkrash, and Theatre P’yut (2015).
Zarrilli conducts short-term/long-term residencies/workshops throughout the world including invitations from: with Vertebrae Theatre at the Shanghai Theatre Academy; Gardzienice Theatre Association (Poland); Helsinki Academy of the Arts (Finland); KNUA (Seoul, Korea); National Theatre of Greece; Athens/Epidavros Festival (Greece); Taipei Arts Festival; as part of BEYOND project with Emio Greco and Co (Netherlands), etc., as well as at many university professional actor-training programmes.
Phillip is also noted for his work with Indian dancers/choreographers. He collaborated with bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer Gitanjali Kolanad to create two major solo performances which have toured internationally–Walking Naked / The Flowering Tree –both premiered in Chennai and toured internationally to Mumbai, London, Seoul, Toronto, and other locations. With Artistic Director/Choreographer Stella Subbiah of Sankalpam, in the UK Phillip directed The Dance of the Drunkun Monk and …sweet…dry…bitter…plaintive, part of Corpo-realities 2. Both toured nationally in the UK and included performances at the London South Bank Centre or Laban Theatre in London.
Zarrilli is the first Westerner to have trained extensively in kalarippayattu,the Kerala India yoga-based martial art. He was the first non-Malayali to be awarded gurukkal (mastery) status in 1987 after living/training in Kerala for seven years.
As a scholar, Zarrilli has a long and distinguished record. Between 2010 and 2016 he was a Research Fellow at the International Research Centre, ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ at Freie Universitat, Berlin. He is currently completing a new sole-authored book,(toward) a phenomenology of acting for Routledge Press (London), and co-editing Intercultural Acting and Actor/Performer Training (Routledge Press).His sole authored book, Psychophysical Acting: an intercultural approach after Stanislavski (Routledge Press, 2009) received the 2010 Outstanding Book of the Year Award from ATHE—the major theatre organization in the US, and published in Mandarin translation by Bookman Press, Taipei (2014). His other books include When ‘the body becomes all eyes’ (Oxford University Press); Kathakali Dance-Drama: Where Gods and Demons Come to Play (Routledge Press); (editor)Acting Reconsidered (Routledge Press); (editor) Asian Martial Arts in Actor Training; (co-author) Indian Theatre: Traditions of Performance (University of Hawaii Press). Zarrilli’s essays have been published in numerous scholarly journals including TDR, Theatre Journal, Contemporary Theatre Review, Performance Research, among many others.
Before moving to the UK, Zarrilli was Director of the Asian/Experimental Theatre Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was Professor of Theatre & Drama, Folklore, and South Asian Studies. He has also taught at NYU, Northwestern University, University of Surrey, among others.