Eliza VanCort grew up in the theater and received a liberal arts education, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from CU Boulder’s honors program with a degree in Political Science and a focus in Women’s Studies. During this time she interned at the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), learning grassroots organizing strategies, collaborating on talking points for congresspeople and writing copy for congressional campaigns. At the DCCC VanCort learned invaluable marketing skills, skills she would later use to build two successful businesses.
After college VanCort discovered the vital importance of mentoring, working as a Youth Worker for the Big Brother/Big Sister program. Soon after, she attended NYU Law School. Despite completing a highly successful first year of law school, VanCort missed the theater. She took a leave of absence from law school and never looked back. After studying the Sanford Meisner Technique and On-Camera audition training with revered teacher Sally Johnson, VanCort acted throughout New York City. A winding road finally helped VanCort discover what would become her passion: teaching.
In 2001, VanCort founded AWI (The Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca.) Today, AWI boasts a thriving acting school specializing in the Sanford Meisner Technique and comprehensive audition prep for film and TV. Students often commute one to two hours to train at AWI, seeking the individualized NYC-caliber acting training people have come to expect from AWI instructors. Beyond solely an acting teacher and mentor, VanCort also equips AWI students with networking, interviewing, and other presentation and communication skills critical to succeeding in the high stakes world of the entertainment industry.
Over the years, successful graduates of AWI began asking VanCort to coach their friends and family, outside of the entertainment industry, on public speaking, interview coaching, networking, and a myriad of other presentation and communication skills. VanCort quickly found the techniques she had developed as an acting teacher and director, coupled with her political science background, resulted in highly effective professional coaching. Eventually, she officially founded her thriving second business, VanCort Consulting.
When working with women, people of color, and international clients, VanCort integrates the political and psychosocial contexts clients bring to their communication skills, customizing her andrological approach accordingly. This holistic, experiential and research based approach affords her clients the extra edge they need to compete in today’s competitive marketplace.
When not teaching acting or consulting, Eliza still casts, directs, markets and produces theatre. She is currently Executive Producing Hope On Stage, a new cutting edge arts organization aimed at discovering new playwrights and mounting shows with the aim of supporting both the arts and local non-profits. In addition, Eliza serves on the board of Performing Arts for Social Change.
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