David Hlasva headshot

Professor, Theatre Arts

Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies

Fields: directing, acting, playwriting, film studies
BA, Princeton University; MFA, University of Washington

Old Main 343
5000 Abbey Way
Lacey, WA 98503


"My classes are about re-discovering and refining our innate abilities to imagine, empathize, express and to find joy in hard work."

David Hlavsa heads the Theatre Arts Department at Saint Martin's University, in Lacey, Washington, where he has been teaching acting, directing, playwriting and film studies since 1989.   A recipient of the University’s Outstanding Teaching Award, he has served two terms as Faculty President.

Hlavsa is the author of Walking Distance: Pilgrimage, Parenthood, Grief, and Home Repairs (Michigan State University Press, 2015) and An Actor Rehearses: What to Do When – and Why (Allworth Press, 2006).  His article, “My First Son, A Pure Memory” appeared in the Modern Love column of The New York Times.  His essay, “Two Sons, One Living” appears in They Were Still Born: Personal Stories About Stillbirth (ed., Janel Atlas, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010).  Hlavsa’s plays, including Pack of Lies, I’m Your Man, and Long Run, have been widely produced.  As an arts writer for the Seattle Repertory Theatre, he published more than twenty articles and study guides on Shakespeare, Chekhov, Synge, Pirandello, Goldoni, Feydeau, David Mamet, August Wilson and others.

 Productions directed at SMU include Uncle Vanya, A Little Night Music, The Dining Room, Old Times, Brilliant Traces, You Can Count on Me, Reaching Through the Frame, Everyman, Goodnight Desdemona Good Morning Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Day Room, The Illusion, Comings and Goings and The Memorandum.  In collaboration with faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, he has developed and co-taught courses on Political Theatre, Saint Joan, Jane Austen on Film, Business Leadership, Acting for Teachers, and Jesus on Film and in the Gospels.  At the University’s Spiritual Life Institute, he has taught workshops on Theatre as a Spiritual Path.

Hlavsa has a BA in English/Theatre from Princeton University and an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington.  He lives in Seattle with his wife, Lisa Holtby, and their son Benjamin.

Select Publications:

  • Walking Distance: Pilgrimage, Parenthood, Grief, and Home Repairs. MSU Press, 2015.
    “Two Sons, One Living” chapter in They Were Still Born.  Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.
    An Actor Rehearses: What to do When – and Why.  Allworth Press, 2006.