José Pérez IV

José is a fight choreographer, actor combatant, teaching artist, and theatre maker specializing in site-specific work. He is currently working towards his MFA in Performance Pedagogy here at Pitt. He creates original works of theatre that focus on unconventional theatre spaces, audience participation, and an innovative use of stage combat. For example, recent work includes “The Ride-Along” which put three audience members at a time in the back seat of a moving car, experiencing a night-in-the-life of two eccentric bounty hunters (featuring samurai duels, windshield wipers as weapons, and a person in the trunk).

José is very passionate about theatre that is unique and accessible - that does not cater solely to the “arts crowd." He is always asking big questions about performance: where else can theatre be, how else can theatre be?

As a teacher, José specializes in Stage Combat, Creating Original Work, and Endurance and Instinct Training for the Actor. He has taught at NYU Summer High, Downtown Art NYC, University of Central Florida, and continues Fighter Training Sessions at U of Pitt.

His company, Fight Theatre, strives to make theatre that is accessible, engaging, innovative, and just a really good time for everyone. Favorite projects include:

  • Audience-of-one noir mystery on the streets of Greenwich village featuring audience participatory fights.
  • A fake audio tour of the Met Museum of Art NYC.
  • An MP3 action show in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
  • A show in a shower.
  • An alien invasion jogging project.

Contributions at Pitt and UP Stages

Fight Choreography/Movement Consultation 

  • Water by the Spoonful
  • A Midsummer’s Night Dream
  • Curse of the Starving Class
  • The Performance Collaborative’s Criminal Hearts
  • Musical Theatre Club’s Big Fish


  • Teodoro in Dog in the Manger


  • Basic Unarmed Stage Combat Workshop for the Performance Collaborative
  • individual works in Stage Combat (Unarmed, Kick Boxing, Broadsword)
  • Instinct and Endurance Training

Undergraduate Courses Taught

  • Intro to Performance
  • Acting I
  • Special Topics: The Athletic Actor

Representative Publications

“Fight Theatre: Experiments in Site-Specific Fights and Audience Combatants” in The Fight Master, bi-annual publication of the Society of American Fight Directors, Spring 2015 issue.


“Stage Combat: Telekinetic Powers Fighting” at the 2015 Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), Chattanooga, TN.

“Creating Site-Specific Theatre” at the 2015 Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), Chattanooga, TN.

Research Interest Summary

Fight Choreography, Site-Specific Theatre, Innovative Audience Modes, Interactive Theatre, the Athletic Actor.

Education & Training

  • FA - University of Pittsburgh, 2017
  • BFA- New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Experimental Theatre Wing