April Daras

  • April DarasAssistant Professor

    Acting

    Stage Voice

    Applied Theater


    MFA, Directing—Florida State University 
    BA, Theater—Florida State University

    Office: Waller 206H
    Phone: 724-357-4026
    april.daras@iup.edu

    April Daras began her professional life as an actor, and later discovered teaching and directing to be equally satisfying pursuits. As an actor, she’s performed in a number of regional theaters, including Florida Stage, New Theatre, Caldwell Playhouse, the Also Theatre, and Theatre Southeast. She received a Carbonell Honorable Mention for her performance as Eleanor in A.R. Gurney’s The Middle Ages, as well as an award for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Honey in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of  Virginia Woolf, a production directed by IUP’s very own director of Musical Theater, Robert Gretta. April contributed to the birth and evolution of many new plays, acting with the company Theatre With Your Coffee and Florida Playwright’s Theatre.

    Her work as a director covers a range of styles and genres from classical to contemporary, experimental to commercial. Yet, new work holds a special place in April’s creative heart. She is particularly delighted by her collaboration with playwrights in the development of new productions. She worked with labor poet Mark Nowak in the staging and dramatization of his collection of found poems, Coal Mountain Elementary. The production received attention from National Public Radio and the Poetry Foundation. Her ongoing work with playwright and producer Ian Mairs has permitted April to work on the development of a number of new scripts and with an impressive cadre of performers. Most recently, Ms. Daras ventured into staging a series of original live radio show/podcast recordings of Mairs’ Swamp Radio: one at Jacksonville, Florida’s historic Florida Theatre, and another at the Times Union Center.

    April earned a BFA in acting and an MFA in directing from Florida State University. During her graduate training, she began a specialization in voice and speech training, and later completed a five-week intensive with David Smukler at the Canadian National Voice Intensive. She is a member of the Voice and Speech Trainer’s Association and has taught year-long courses in vocal production, IPA, and dialects at Point Park University. She is a company member and conductor of Pittsburgh Playback Theatre, an improvisational theater troupe dedicated to building community by honoring the stories of others.

    April’s research interests lie in the area of pedagogy and applied theater. She is currently exploring the use of applied theater techniques and actor simulation in the learning environment. She is the coordinator of actor simulation (the use of actors as simulated patients and clients) for departments across the IUP campus.