Meet our Students: Greer Gerni

Greer Gerni is a 2010 graduate of Butler University. While at Butler, she spent a semester studying acting at the Moscow Art Theatre School with the National Theatre Institute. While she proudly calls Bloomfield, IN home, she currently lives in Cincinnati, OH and works at Cincinnati Museum Center as an Actor/Interpreter for Special Exhibits. Her favorite roles include Varya in Cherry Orchard (dir. Elaina Artemiev, Butler University Theatre) and the Goddess Ishtar/Temple Priestess in Gilgamesh (dir. Joanna Winston, Half Black Productions).

Two years ago (February 2011) I got a call from a friend who told me that an all-American graduate course in acting and directing was being created in Moscow. My heart jumped out of my chest. I knew, with all certainty, that this was the next chapter in my story. Before I knew it, I was working closely with my beloved professor, Elaina Artemiev, to create IFTER and make the American Course at GITIS a reality. A lot has changed over the last two years and we have overcome many obstacles to reach this point, but I am still certain that that little phone call changed my life for the better.

The need to do theatre ran through my veins from the day I was born (so my mother says) and contrary to the hopes of many of my childhood teachers I never “grew out of it.”  This is my greatest blessing and my biggest curse. So often, I am asked why I do theatre. The simple answer is that I haven’t found a way to not do it.  Until the first time I studied in Moscow, this was the best answer I had. It was there that I realized that it doesn’t have anything to do with me. I act for the actors in my ensemble, I act for the art of the playwright, designers and director, I act to make memories and to change the lives of the audience (if only a little). That’s why I do theatre.

The other question that I tackle on a regular basis is “Why Moscow? Why GITIS? Surely you can do this closer to home!” Well, the answer is long and complex, but I will try to be brief. Moscow loves theatre. On any given night there are hundreds of affordable, interesting, high quality opportunities to enjoy a play. Even on a Tuesday, the theatre is most likely sold out. People love to go to the theatre in Moscow and there is so much of it. The standards are high and the tickets are affordable. The productions have a lasting impression more often than not. Theaters rehearse shows until they are ready and the runs last until they are done. So why Moscow? Job security for the artist who make quality theatre that is accessible and leaves a lasting impression. Why GITIS? The Russian Academy of Theatre Arts- GITIS ( is the oldest and largest theatre school in Moscow. The faculty is very highly celebrated and our education will be very well rounded. Not enough? We also will be working with Dmitry Krymov (, an internationally celebrated director. His work personally inspires me and could be called the most original and influential theatre I have every seen. How could I pass up this combination? Truly, I don’t think there could be a better theatre experience for me right now. I am so thankful to have this unique opportunity.

So, what will I do when it’s all over? Bring it home to you, of course. The passion, enthusiasm and character of Russian Theatre is something I will carry with me for my entire life. I would like nothing better than to spend my life offering this type of theatre to American audiences. Hopefully, through my education at GITS and my continued work with IFTER this is possible.

Please continue to follow my classmates and me on our adventure through this blog and our facebook page Your support means the world to us!