Barta Lee Heiner served remarkably as the head of the BFA Acting program at Brigham Young University when the university first approved its inception in 1993. She helped shape it into a nationally recognized program that has placed students into major MFA Acting programs throughout America. Graduates of the BFA program work professionally in theatre and film productions in local, regional, and national venues. Under her capable leadership the program has seen a refinement in the processes of the program and a significant increase in the quality of acting across the board, both in theatre and film productions, and in BYU's graduates.
Barta received her bachelor’s degree in speech and drama from BYU. She then completed a master’s degree in acting at the American Conservatory Theatre.
Upon completing her academic degrees, Heiner acted professionally with the Denver Centre Theatre while both teaching and directing for the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver.
A member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actor’s Equity Association, Heiner has performed more than 100 roles and directed more than 40 productions. Some of her favorite roles include Lettice in Lettice and Lovage, Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, the title role in King Lear, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and Mary Whitmer in The Fourth Witness. In 1992, BYU awarded Professor Heiner with the Maeser Teaching Award for her work and dedication to the school.
Her services as an acting and dialogue coach and consultant are also in high demand, and she has worked on the films The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd and Emma Smith, My Story. Also, she has been involved with a student-mentored film project called Diantha’s Crossing, a project inspired by her great-great-aunt, Mormon pioneer Diantha Farr Clayton. Heiner currently is part of the Theatre and Media Arts faculty at BYU. As a faculty member she was invited to speak at one of the campus' weekly forums in 2008. In 2012 Heiner directed Phillip Barry's romantic comedy, Holiday. Heiner also directed The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christi at the Covey Center during October of 2013.
In 2014, Heiner directed BYU's production of Pride and Prejudice. The following year, she directed Mary, Mary by Jean Kerr in the Brinton Black Box Theatre at the Covey Center in Provo, UT. Also in 2015, she played Verlene Bennion in T. C. Christensen's film The Cokeville Miracle, and directed the BYU production of Misalliance.
Heiner retired in 2016 after spending 28 years developing the BFA acting program.
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