Welcome to Heartland Intimacy Design & Training

Meet Your Faculty

Founder, Head Faculty Kate Busselle

Dr. Kate Busselle (she/her/hers) is the founder of Heartland Intimacy Design & Training. She is also the Assistant Professor of Movement and Stage Combat at the University of Oklahoma. She completed her Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Missouri in 2019. Kate is an Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) with certifications in unarmed combat, rapier & dagger, quarterstaff, single sword, broadsword, broadsword and shield, knife, and theatrical firearms safety. She is also a member of the Association of Movement Theatre Educators (ATME), Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). She is an Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) with the Actors Equity Association (AEA).

Somatic Regulation and Facilitation Instructor Hannah Fazio

Hannah Fazio is a writer, educator, and intimacy professional currently finishing up her Ph.D. at Florida State University. Hannah holds a master’s degree in drama therapy from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in theatre and Hispanic studies from Hamilton College. She has been teaching yoga for over a decade and trained as a trauma-informed instructor with the Justice Resource Institute. Hannah’s writing has been published in Huffington Post, Theatre Topics, and Imagined Theatres. Her theatrical work has been featured at Bizarre Bushwick, The Living Gallery, Triad Theatre, Hamilton College, Florida State University, and Dixon Place.


What our happy customers think:

Tom Smith, Pacific Lutheran University

My online training proved invaluable in my professional growth and development as a university professor. Having been brought up in an era of directors leaving the room and telling actors to “just figure something out” when it came to staged intimacy, I recognized that my practices in the rehearsal room and class was no longer adequate or safe. The content of the Core Curriculum was amazing! The readings, online lectures, and practical applications were polished, thorough and rigorous. It was an amazing experience for me, and I am certain it will be the same for all theatre educators!

Rebecca Kane, Rising Sun Performance Company

This should be taken not just by aspiring professionals in the field of intimacy for the stage, but by anyone who wants to work on a show with intimacy in any capacity.

Tara Kromer, Director

I attended a workshop/intensive given at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Kate was a very thorough and conscientious instructor and led participants through the essential protocols of establishing and verifying consent between scene partners, and sharing vocabulary related to the design and staging of intimate moments. Utilizing different levels of intensity of contact and intention she created a safe atmosphere for participants to explore staging intimacy from its fundamental building blocks, providing a methodology for safe practices, which can and should be implemented when putting intimate and emotionally vulnerable moments into action. For several years now, Kate has been my go-to contact for navigating the staging of intimate moments in my directing practice, and since adopting her methodologies, my cast members have expressed that they’ve felt more protected and more at liberty to express their own levels of comfort with these moments when they’re stripped down to very specifically planned, clear moments of intention and contact. Kate’s instruction has also given me a higher level of confidence and ease when directorially approaching intimacy onstage.

Cheryl Black, University of Missouri (Emerita)

I worked especially closely with Kate Busselle on my production of Father Comes Home from the Wars (fall 2017) for which Kate served as violence and intimacy designer. This play is a complex one – large cast, three hours long, live music, physical and emotional violence, and urgent and sensitive issues of race and America’s racial history. And a four-week rehearsal period. It was one of the most joyous experiences of my career, and Kate’s contributions to its success cannot be overstated. She is a consummate professional, brilliantly staging scenes of violence and intimacy that have all the requisite “wow” factor while maintaining the highest degree of actors’ physical and emotional well-being. I saw firsthand what a positive impact Kate’s contributions had to the scenes of intimacy, and what an atmosphere of respect and trust she fostered in situations that can so easily become tense, uncomfortable, and downright dangerous.

David Crespy, University of Missouri

In 2018, Kate Busselle and I collaborated on the violence and intimacy in Lanford Wilson's "The Rimers of Eldritch," and because the script requires, as we discovered, nearly twenty moments of both, and ending in a sexual assault, she had her work cut out for her. We had the additional challenge of having several students in the cast who simply couldn’t emotionally handle some of the violence and intimacy in a realistic style – and with Kate’s rather brilliant advice and guidance, we staged all of the violence and intimacy using non-realistic technique that ended up being far more emotionally truthful and powerful than had we staged it. More importantly, the intimacy and violence as Kate finally designed and implemented it, in collaboration with my specific requests, was simply gorgeous. Kate is an artist when it comes to intimacy and violence – she created an entire new vocabulary in the physical reality of executing the sequences on stage. The work was beautiful, haunting, horrifying, mind-boggling, and at times utterly simple, specific, and pure. It is some of the best work I have seen in this field, and because Kate gave so much to the actors, I feel it had huge impact on their growth as performers.

Asher Alt, Actor

I’ve worked with Kate on several shows, and I’ve felt very comfortable working with her at every turn. Kate worked with me and the entire cast to make sure that everyone felt safe, creative, and empowered. Kate is an expert at her craft, and productions she’s apart of are made all the better because of her great skill and talent.

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