Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Acting & Auditioning

Improvisation

Singing & Musical Theater

Voice & Speech

Playwriting & Directing  
Shakespeare & Scene Study

Movement & Stage Combat

Clown & Mask

Film & Television

  • Most courses meet once a week for eight weeks.
  • Not all courses are offered every session. Please check the schedule to find out which courses are being offered in the current session.
  • Students receive written evaluations for most courses.  
  • College credit is offered for 8-week courses only.

Please Note: Students should register for the courses they believe are the best fit based on the criteria explained in the corresponding course descriptions. Classroom instructors will make recommendations about all returning students’ placement. However, final decisions regarding admission and placement will be made by the Studio A.C.T. Program Director. Studio A.C.T. assumes no responsibility for personal injuries that occur as the result of course work or classroom activity. By registering for a course, students warrant that they are healthy enough for an experiential academic experience that may be psychologically, physically, or emotionally challenging.

 

Acting and Auditioning

Introduction to Acting

Eight Classes

This course enlarges the student’s understanding of “performance” in a playful, encouraging, collaborative atmosphere. Introduction to Acting is designed to offer students a dynamic, engaging introduction to theater training. It is specifically intended for those who've never studied acting before, or want to get back in touch with their creative impulses. Students will learn techniques for improving their self-confidence in a safe, playful environment through the exploration of basic acting principles. In fun and engaging exercises, students will work on overcoming stage-fright, improving focus and concentration, connecting with a others through trust games and active listening, understanding “stage presence,” and opening their imaginations to playing characters. Because actor training is also life training, students can expect to find new, deeper connections to others and their own creativity, unlocking profound layers of empathy through character exploration. Thus, particular emphasis will be given to expanding the imagination, supporting classmates’ growth, and collaborating effectively. Students will learn transferable skills in this and in all Studio A.C.T. courses. No significant memorization will be required. However, students may be asked to prepare simple assignments outside of class. Students will be expected to attend all scheduled classes and to actively participate in games and exercises. Don’t worry – if you’re shy and need a little help emerging from your shell, or believe you’re “not that creative,” then this is the course for you. It is recommended that students who register for Introduction to Acting also register for No Fear Improv. Students who’ve already passed more advanced Studio A.C.T. courses are encouraged to take Introduction to Acting for a fresh perspective on their training. 

Studio A.C.T. Acting Sequence

Act I, II, III, and IV are four different courses designed to be taken successively. Students are not guaranteed admission into each successive level and are often encouraged to repeat levels before advancing. The courses comprising the Studio A.C.T. Acting Sequence feature content derived from the most prevalent method of actor training, the Russian System. Prospective students are strongly advised to research the teachings of Constantin Stanislavski and Stella Adler before registering. The curriculum includes an extensive investigation of various techniques such as concentration, communion, emotion memory, and public solitude. Students will also ascertain a practical understanding of terms such as action, objective, tactic, obstacle, conflict, intention, motivation, and “beat.” Techniques and terms commonly associated with actor training and used specifically within the idiom of the Russian system will be fully explained. It is recommended that all students, even those with prior training, enroll in Act I so that they achieve the deepest possible understanding of the essential work.

ACT I

Eight Classes

You should register for Act I if you took an acting class many years ago and are seeking a low-impact reentry to actor training. You are also welcome to register for Act I if you’ve successfully passed Introduction to Acting. Some minimal previous experience with actor training is required. Course content includes some memorization and students may be asked to prepare assignments outside of class. Students should also expect to actively participate in games and exercises. Particular emphasis will be given to ensemble-building, cultivating personal responsibility, instilling self-discipline, imaginative play, enlarging creativity, memorization techniques, building self-confidence, and strategies for collaborating successfully. It is recommended that students who register for Act I also register for No Fear Improv, Speech and Diction, and Movement for the Actor I

ACT II

Eight Classes

You should register for Act II if you passed two semesters of acting class at the community college level (or higher) within the last ten years. With a few exceptions, you may register for Act II if your most recent legitimate acting class was less than ten years ago. Act II usually requires memorization of one short scene and one short monologue. Therefore, students will be expected to rehearse outside of class and may be asked to prepare additional assignments outside of class. Thorough preparation is essential. Students who fail to prepare their coursework sufficiently will not be allowed into Act III. Registrants should be aware that they will receive constructive criticisms and directorial adjustments in Act II. Each student’s ability to take “notes” and integrate the instructor’s feedback will directly impact their enrollment for future Studio A.C.T. courses. It is recommended that students who register for Act II also register for Speech and Diction, Basic Scene Study, Alexander Technique, and a Studio A.C.T. voice course such as Fitzmaurice Technique or Linklater Technique

ACT III

Eight Classes

You should register for Act III if you passed three semesters of acting class at the community college level (or higher) within the last 10 years and have performed in at least two fully-staged productions. If you minored in theater as an undergraduate, Act III may be a good fit for you. Act III requires memorization of at least one scene and one monologue. Therefore, students will be expected to rehearse outside of class and will be asked to prepare additional assignments outside of class. Students enrolled in Act III will learn strategies for rehearsing efficiently and collaborating effectively. Thorough preparation is essential. Students who fail to prepare coursework sufficiently will not be allowed to advance into Act IV. It is recommended that students who register for Act III also register for Impact Improv, Intermediate Scene Study, and Movement for the Actor II.

ACT IV

Eight Classes

You should register for Act IV if you passed four semesters of acting class at the community college level (or higher) and have performed in at least three fully-staged productions. In general, Act IV is available to returning students only. Registrants who have not already passed Act I, II, and III will not be admitted to Act IV unless they meet this prerequisite and are able to insightfully discuss their prior training. Prospective students who majored in theater performance as an undergraduate may register for Act IV. However, it is strongly suggested that they be well-versed in the Russian System. Thorough preparation of all assigned material is essential. Act IV is an overview course designed to reintroduce advanced students to the essential principles of good technique. Course content is largely determined by the interests of the students. However, an instructor my choose to focus on a particular playwright or learning style. It is recommended that students who register for Act IV also register for Intermediate Scene Study, Impact Improv, and Introduction to Shakespeare. 

 

Introduction to the Meisner Technique

Eight Classes

This class introduces students to a unique series of exercises originally developed by Sanford Meisner. The work is intended to promote honest “communion” and develop an actor’s emotional authenticity. Because the work is psychologically demanding, this course is open only to those who've passed Introduction to Acting, Act I and II or their equivalents. It is strongly recommended that students research Meisner's pedagogical philosophy prior to registering. Some memorization will be required. Students who are not prepared to commit to a deeply challenging experience should not register for this course. Confirmation of enrollment is contingent upon approval of the Program Director.
 

The Michael Chekhov Technique

Eight Classes

When Constantin Stanislavski started the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre and initiated the experiments that would lead to his famous System, Michael Chekhov was among his most talented students. Chekhov, the nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov, was a supremely gifted actor and while he embraced aspects of Stanislavski's System, notably the use of the objective, he ultimately differed with Stanislavski when he became an educator himself. Chekhov felt many elements of Stanislavski's approach led too readily to actors simply playing versions of themselves in different roles. He felt the actor should transform into a character using the imagination, entirely in service of the dramatic narrative. Out of this belief, he created an approach to acting that relies heavily on the imagination and provides actors with tools to embody a range of characters. His technique gives actors a broad new skill set with which to interpret many theatrical styles and embody a great diversity of characters. Chekhov's approach is not exclusive to other approaches, but rather can enhance and extend the techniques actors already employ. Students are strongly advised to study the Russian System before registering for this course. This course is open only to students who’ve passed Introduction to Acting, Acts III and III or their equivalents.

Acting for the Executive Presence

Eight Classes

This introductory course is specifically designed for non-actors seeking ways to excel within the idiom of the corporate experience. A study of 2,500 people in 1973 found that 19% of those surveyed expressed a fear of death, while 41% expressed a fear of public speaking. Putting oneself in a position to be seen and judged is a universal fear. Nonetheless, the business and corporate world has become increasingly dependent on pitches, keynotes, and public presentations. In order to assume a leadership role and effectively communicate within a business and corporate environment, executives need to expand their skill set. This course explores the techniques that have been devised over the last century to help actors overcome the challenges of public performance and help them to become effective communicators. By understanding the principles of storytelling and presence, participants will understand their own particular strengths as communicators, learn how to engage others, and how to compel an audience. It is recommended that students registered for this course pair it with No Fear Improv, The Art of Public Speaking, and Speech and Diction.

Advanced Scene Study: British Bad Boys

Eight Classes

A course that is geared toward advanced, returning Studio A.C.T. students, designed to explore the darkly funny world of post war British writers. It will focus on playwrights Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, and Martin McDonagh among others. These writers are particularly attuned to our times and represent a complex and challenging vision for actors working at the height of their craft. The Studio invites students with substantial actor training and/or professional experience. Registrants will be admitted at the discretion of the director. In recognition of the A.C.T. season’s production of Pinter’s “The Birthday Party”, the course is an opportunity to explore the language and style of these influential and impactful writers and will serve to broaden and deepen the range of participants. This course combines foundational principles of actor training with advanced techniques for making compelling choices in a professional setting. Students will be asked to expand their creative potential through conventional warm-ups, dialect work, practical exercises, and directorial feedback from the instructor. Significant memorization may be required. The course work will highlight the differences between two actors self-consciously “performing” for an audience and two actors authentically engaged in spontaneous communion. This approach is directly applicable to film acting. However, its relevance to stage acting is self-evident and extensive.
 

Audition Technique Intensive

Five Classes (Mon–Fri, Dec 11–15)

This advanced intensive is tailored specifically for students auditioning for MFA programs and the Bay Area general auditions—though any student looking to polish their auditioning skills will benefit. The course addresses common issues that inhibit success when auditioning for theater. Students may “cold read,” prepare assigned material, receive directorial adjustments, or be put through their paces in mock callbacks. All students will be asked to self-assess in the process of overcoming unproductive auditioning habits. Résumé preparation and headshot selection will also be touched upon. After registering online, students will receive confirmation of approval to enter the class and a note from the instructor on what to prepare for the first day.

 

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Improvisation and Comedy

Improv I

Eight Classes

Have you been curious about improvisation, but have felt intimidated and overwhelmed by the idea of leaping in, scriptless? Our introductory level improv courses are a gentle and fun way to explore the student’s innate ability to be playful and creative. This course features a range of confidence-building exercises, trust- and ensemble-building games, character development, and scene work. Learn to (gently) face fears while developing your instinctive, authentic artist within. This course is specifically designed for students with no prior experience, but is open to everyone. If you think you “know” improv already, leave behind your preconceived notions and step into the unknown with abandon. Studying improvisation frees the imagination, builds self-confidence, and it's fun! Whether you studied improv a long time ago and need a refresher or have come to improv as a complete novice, this course is right for you! Become more spontaneous and receptive to new ideas in a playful, supportive atmosphere, alongside classmates from a wide variety of backgrounds. This course will help students become more comfortable in themselves, no matter the situation. Sometimes silly, sometimes outrageous, improv training inspires students to think outside of the box and say "yes" to the unknown! If you've always been interested in improv, but afraid to give it a try, this is your moment! Tap into the depths of your creativity by saying "yes" to this exciting opportunity. It is recommended that students registered for this course pair it with Introduction to Acting

Improv II

Eight Classes

This intermediate course is designed for students with various levels of experience. Are you no longer a complete improv novice, but not yet a pro? Then this course is probably right for you! Many students choose to repeat this course multiple times to gain the broadest possible exposure to the different principles of acting spontaneously! Learn to have an impact on the audience by playing outrageous scenarios truthfully. Students will train alongside classmates of all backgrounds in a creative, supportive, celebratory classroom atmosphere. Hilarity always ensues, team-building takes center stage, and fun is de rigueur. This performance-oriented course culminates in an open class for friends and family.  

Stand-up Comedy, Level 1

Eight Classes

In this course, students will learn the scientific structure of joke-writing, will practice it repeatedly on their feet, and will leave with a “Tight Five” minutes of material completed and ready to perform. This class is appropriate for brand new comics, as well as comics who are already working and are looking for punch up help, to more fully understand joke structure, and/or to mentally get the science of joke-writing to support your already developed intuitive sense of what is funny. There are basically three parts to a joke. We will delve deeply into what those parts are, and begin, on Day 1, putting your ideas through the structure to turn your thoughts and observations about life into hilarious jokes that actually kill every time on stage.  Please note: joke writing is a cerebral endeavor that requires intelligence, wit, time commitment, dedication and a willingness to fail. This is not a class to take if you’re not going to be available for most of the actual class times and for all homework assignments. There are no prerequisites for this class.
 

Stand-Up Comedy Level 2

Eight Classes

In this course, you will deepend and expand what you’ve learned in Stand-Up Comedy Level 1 (required before enrolling in this class). By now, you will be familiar with joke structure, have been developing material using it for some time, and even have some jokes that you’re somewhat happy with. In this class, we’ll expand your performance skills, write more jokes, and help you become comfortable being you while you tell them live. In this course, we will dive in deeply together, tighten what you have, take the reins off a bit, and explore your stand up voice. Who are you as a comic? What is your true intention for telling jokes? What contribution can your humor be to the world?

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Singing & Musical Theater

Voice Building for Singers

Eight Classes

This is a course that is suitable for students of all levels. Beginning students will discover their best singing voice and more experienced singers will gain an opportunity to exercise their vocal muscles through group work utilizing the Garcia-Marchesi vocal tradition. Students will also learn techniques to help protect their voices when they sing. This course is suitable for students of all levels of experience and may be taken as often as desired. It is recommended that students registered for this course pair it with Alexander Technique.

The Singing Actor

Eight Classes

This class will expand your storytelling through song. Using numbers from musical theater (or jazz standards), we will explore songs as musical texts; how do music and text work together to create character and tell story? What tools can the actor use to tell the story best? Whether you are an experienced singer or an “actor who sings,” we will find the best tools for you as you explore acting through song.

Musical Theater Performance I & II (Audition Prep)

Eight Classes Each

These courses will help beginning (MT Perf I) and intermediate (MT Perf II) students develop a multi-faceted singing technique, prepare songs for a variety of audition circumstances, select appropriate material, and ascertain a comprehensive understanding of casting and audition protocol. Students will refine their professional image and expand their musical repertoire. This course will culminate in the production of a presentation on the final day of class open to friends and family. It is strongly recommended that students registered for this course pair it with Voice Building for Singers. 

Musical Theater Performance IIl

Eight Classes

Studio A.C.T.’s Musical Theater Performance III course is designed to provide the intermediate to advanced singer/actor with an intensive performance experience in a supportive, learning environment. Each artist will train extensively in voice, movement and acting over a nine week session in preparation for a final performance. Prerequisite: Prior singing and musical theater training at an intermediate to advanced level.

Musical Theater Performance IV

Eight Classes

Musical Theater Performance IV is an advanced course for students with substantial prior training and experience in relevant disciplines. A voice and dance class are built into the ten-week course of study. The training is multi-disciplinary and fully integrated. Students will be expected to dance, sing, and act simultaneously and will learn large ensemble “numbers” with solos, harmonies and complicated staging. Students do not need to be trained dancers to take this course, but should be very courageous movers. All students will be expected to memorize extensive choreography in addition to their designated voice parts. Some dialogue may be spoken over underscoring as well. At the instructor’s discretion, students may explore a wide variety of musical theater styles spanning over a hundred years of artistic evolution. Musical Performance Theater II and Musical Theater Performance III or their equivalents are required.

Contemporary Broadway  

Eight Classes

In this class we explore the shows that are currently on Broadway, from Tony-Award winning smash hits like Hamilton, Kinky Boots, Waitress and Dear Evan Hanson. Be on the cutting edge of musical theater as we discover the current trends that have captured the attention of a wider audience, bringing musicals back into our mainstream culture. You will feel a connection to the musical styles that echo our contemporary experience, reminding us why we are compelled to tell stories through songs. We will dive into powerful ensemble numbers, working from original scores and paying attention to casting and voice types. There will be opportunities for solo and small ensembles (duets, trios, etc.) as well. Class will consist of vocal and physical warmup, music rehearsal and staging. This course is open to all levels of experience. Due to the nature of contemporary singing styles, previous vocal experience is recommended, such as Voice Building and Musical Theater I. This course will culminate in an open presentation for family and friends.

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Voice & Speech

Alexander Technique

Eight Classes

This course is suitable for students of all levels of experience. The Alexander Technique is among the most widely practiced performance-related techniques in the world. The work is intended to address issues pertaining to the practitioner's bodily alignment, efficiency of movement, and redistribution of tension. Actors will learn how to recognize and undo habitual patterns that get in the way of natural movement, voice production, and creativity. Students will become more deeply present in themselves and in the world by accessing their innate power and flexibility. Students may feel relaxed in this new state of mindfulness, but the Alexander Technique is not a relaxation technique. Students may also find the technique useful in improving their posture, freeing their voices, and deepening their understanding of the human body. It is strongly recommended that students research Alexander's pedagogical philosophy prior to registering. Alexander Technique is the perfect companion to all Studio A.C.T. courses.

Alexander Technique II

Eight Classes

This course is for students who have already been exposed to some Alexander Technique, either at ACT or at another institution. The class will deepen awareness of the foundational principles and continue to apply those principles to how we speak and move in the world, both on and off the stage. Explorations will be done with how spontaneity, impulse, action and connection are either facilitated or restricted by what F.M. Alexander called “manner of use.” Students will continue to learn how to create an expanded field of awareness, both inside and outside of the body, as well as continuing to recognize when the force of habit inhibits the possibility of something new to occur. Students are encouraged to propose personal projects for the class, whether theater based or otherwise. Every attempt will be made to structure the class with the particular students in mind.
 

Speech and Diction I & II

Eight Classes

These courses are suitable for students of all levels of experience, and many students choose to repeat both to gain the broadest possible understanding of the coursework. Students will learn techniques to promote the development of a richer, stronger, and more versatile speaking voice. Speech and Diction I is an introductory course. Speech and Diction II picks up where Speech and Diction I leaves off and includes an overview of phonetics, an introduction to ear training, and an introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet. It is recommended that students registered for this course pair it with one of the many Studio A.C.T. voice courses and Alexander Technique.

Dialects and Verbal Actions

Eight Classes

This intermediate course introduces students to the art of transcription using IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Learn how vowel length, consonance, volume, and pitch variation work in harmony to help actors create interesting, specific, compelling characterizations. How does one learn a dialect? What are the best resources for researching dialects? How do actors capture and recreate dialects overheard in their travels or on TV? And most importantly, how does a deeper understanding of dialects help actors enrich relationships between characters or render a dramatic narrative more compellingly? Students will explore and analyze some of the most frequently used dialects onstage (and in film) such as British Cockney and Received Pronunciation, American Southern, and the iconic New Yorker. Students will also learn how specifying a character’s dialect can enhance their ability to play intention. Dialects and Verbal Action is also an acting course. This course allows students to identify how objectives—and obstacles—are highlighted in the way a character speaks.

 

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Playwriting & Directing

Introduction to Directing

Eight Classes

This course is suitable for students with some prior training or experience. Students will explore the relationship between the practical and expressive demands of directing. Particular emphasis will be given to composition, spatial relationships, and the development of a unique aesthetic perspective. Students will learn strategies for communicating with collaborators effectively and acquire a deeper understanding of a director's responsibilities. An overview of directing styles practiced by noteworthy contemporary directors of the American Theater will serve to inspire the work of the students in their own efforts. Under the guidance of the instructor, all students will direct a brief scene of their choosing. Please be advised: students may be asked to act in scenes that they are not directing. Coursework will culminate in an informal showcase open to friends and family on the final day of class. It is recommended that students take Introduction to Acting and Improv I before registering for this course.  

Introduction to Playwriting

Eight Classes

Do you have characters in search of a story or an idea wanting substance? Perhaps you just want a kick start to get it all down on the page? Students will learn to research a play, formulate a strategic process, generate rich content, develop the right form and structure, and maintain their authentic voice. Using a range of innovative exercises, students will mine their ideas and write material that will enthrall readers and audiences alike. This creative writing course focuses on the various elements of playwriting, and it is suitable for students of all levels of experience. No prior experience with playwriting is required of students, but for those who have it, this course promises new entry points into the creative process and tools to help students take their writing in new directions. Coursework will consist of discussions, writing exercises, presentations, supportive critiques, and more. It is strongly recommended that students who register for this course also enroll in a Studio A.C.T. acting course congruent to their level of experience.

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Shakespeare & Scene Study

Introduction to Shakespeare

Eight Classes

This introductory, overview course is open to anyone. No prior knowledge of playing Shakespeare is necessary. It is recommended that students registering for Introduction to Shakespeare also register for Introduction to Acting. Although it is primarily an acting course, directors, theater-goers, and Shakespeare enthusiasts are welcome to enroll. It is recommended that students attend at least one Shakespeare production prior to enrolling in this course. In addition to studying different revisions of Shakespearean plays, students will also acquire a contextual and practical understanding of Shakespeare’s sonnets. An introduction to essential supplementary texts such as the First Folio, “Quartos,” and Shakespeare Lexicon will further enhance students understanding of Shakespeare’s work. Ultimately, students will walk away from the course with a fundamental understanding of scansion and Shakespearean text analysis. It is recommended that students registered for this course pair it with Studio A.C.T. improvisation and movement courses. 

Shakespeare I

Eight Classes

This intermediate course is suitable for students who have passed Introduction to Shakespeare, Introduction to Acting, and Act I or their equivalents. Some previous training in playing Shakespeare is required. Although it is primarily an acting course, directors, theater-goers, and Shakespeare enthusiasts are also welcome. Students will learn practicable strategies for getting the best laughs in Shakespeare's Comedies. All will develop a new appreciation for Elizabethan vernacular, rhythm, musicality, comparisons and antitheses, and Shakespearean insults! Students will also learn about archetypal characterizations with a basis in Commedia dell’Arte, the significance of physical and vocal transformation, and traditional theatrical conventions used to illuminate Shakespeare's humor! It is recommended that students registered for this course pair it with Studio A.C.T. improvisation and movement courses.

Shakespeare II

Eight Classes

This intermediate course is suitable for students who have passed Introduction to Shakespeare, Shakespeare I, Introduction to Acting, Acts I and II or their equivalents. Although it is primarily an acting course, directors, theater-goers, and Shakespeare enthusiasts are also welcome. Students will learn to illuminate the emotional highs and lows of a character’s development by dropping in the high-stakes circumstances of Shakespeare’s most tragic works. Through dramaturgical analysis and by tapping into the enormous power of the human imagination, students will further develop an appreciation of Elizabethan vernacular, rhythm, musicality, comparisons, antitheses, and uniquely Shakespearean plot twists. An introductory Shakespeare course and Shakespeare I (or their equivalents) are prequisites. Students will not be confirmed if they have not already taken at least one Shakespeare course. As always, enrollment is contingent upon the approval of the Program Director. It is strongly recommended that students registered for this course pair it with one Studio A.C.T.’s voice and speech courses.

Shakespeare III

Eight Classes

This advanced course is suitable for students who have passed Introduction to Shakespeare, Shakespeare I, and Shakespeare II or their equivalents. Although it is primarily an acting course, directors, theater-goers, and Shakespeare enthusiasts are also welcome. Students will learn to illuminate the theatricality of Shakespeare's History Plays by using dramaturgical context to strengthen their emotional connection to characters of another time and place. Students will also reference current global events and their own personal experiences in the development of their characterizations. As they uncover what motivates them, students will be asked to expand their creative imaginations by putting themselves in the positions of the characters they're playing. Students will further develop an appreciation of Elizabethan vernacular, rhythm, musicality, comparisons, antitheses, and scansion. Three courses in Shakespeare (or their equivalents) are prequisites. Registration will not be confirmed if the registrant has not already taken at least two Shakespeare courses. As always, enrollment is contingent upon the approval of the Program Director. It is strongly recommended that students registered for this course pair it with one of the many Studio A.C.T.’s voice and speech courses.

Basic Scene Study

Eight Classes

This is an upper-level introductory course that may only be taken by returning Studio A.C.T. students who’ve passed Act I. It is recommended, however, that students take both Act I and II before registering for Basic Scene Study. Coursework is focused on text analysis, dramaturgical contextualization, and making actable choices that are supported by the circumstances of the narrative. Actors will learn to “defend” their choices by using the text to verify them. Memorization of two short scenes will be required. Therefore, students will be expected to rehearse outside of class and may be asked to prepare additional assignments outside of class. Thorough preparation is essential. Should the opportunity arise, students may be invited to lend their talents to one of Studio A.C.T.’s directing courses. Students who fail to prepare assignments sufficiently will not be allowed into Intermediate Scene Study. It is recommended that students who register for Basic Scene Study also register for Shakespeare II and a Studio A.C.T. voice course such as Fitzmaurice Technique or Linklater Technique.

Intermediate Scene Study

Eight Classes

An intermediate course that may only be taken by returning Studio A.C.T. students who’ve passed Act I, II, and III. Exceptions may be made for students who minored in theater as an undergraduate and who’ve performed in at least four fully-staged productions. Exceptions may also be made for students who have majored in or who are currently majoring in theater as an undergraduate. The coursework in Intermediate Scene Study is an extension of the coursework in Basic Scene Study. Actors will be made aware of “habits” that inhibit their ability to commune with one another authentically. And they will continue learning how to make substantial choices using the text as their guide. An overview of conventional “text analysis” will accompany directorial feedback to provide students with a deeper understanding of how to rehearse a scene productively. Memorization of two scenes will be required. Therefore, students will be expected to rehearse outside of class and prepare additional assignments outside of class, as directed by the instructor. It is recommended that students who register for this course pair it with Speech and Diction, Shakespeare III, and Movement for the Actor III. Eight Classes

Advanced Scene Study

Eight Classes

A course that is geared toward advanced, returning Studio A.C.T. students with a substantial breadth of actor training and professional experience. Prospective students should not register for this course unless they have significant professional acting credits several years of actor training behind them. Registrants without this experience and/or training will not be confirmed. This course combines foundational principles of actor training with advanced techniques for making compelling choices in a professional setting. Students will be asked to expand their creative potential through conventional warm-ups, practical exercises, and directorial feedback from the instructor. A significant amount of memorization may be required. The course work will highlight the differences between two actors self-consciously “performing” for an audience and two actors authentically engaged in spontaneous communion. This approach is directly applicable to film acting. However, its relevance to stage acting is self-evident and extensive. Texts will be drawn exclusively from the realistic tradition. Confirmation of enrollment is at the discretion the Program Director. 

Shakespeare in Action

Eight Classes

Shakespeare wrote language-based theatre for an audience to hear. Theatre is also an event for spectators to see! This class puts Shakespeare’s vividly poetic language into action. Through a variety of practical exercises and approaches, participants will explore their physical expression of Shakespeare’s highly thoughtful and emotional plays. The class is suitable for people who have at least some introductory experience with Shakespeare, as well as those who have worked extensively with Shakespeare but wish to expand their physical engagement with the plays. Actors and directors alike will find this class useful. Memorizing and performing multiple scenes, and participating in physical exercises, will be required.

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Movement & Stage Combat

Movement for the Actor I, II, and III

Eight Classes

This sequence of courses is intended to be taken successively. Constantin Stanislavski once said, “With faith in your physical actions you will feel emotions, akin to the external life of your part, which possess a logical bond with your soul...your body is biddable; feelings are capricious.” Movement for the Actor is a course designed with this very concept in mind. It seeks to address the oft remarked phrase of feeling “stuck in the head” when acting. Acting instinctively imbues an actor’s work with authenticity and in order to manifest their power onstage, actors must connect fully to their bodies. This movement course is like an acting course in motion, a playground for rediscovering uninhibited, child-like freedom that will stimulate students’ imaginations, and open them up to a pervasive sense of playfulness in their work. Through group exercises and devised assignments, students will become more adept at playing in the environment of a scene, and creating fully realized, physically expressive characters. In Movement for the Actor II, students may begin to more rigorously explore the relationship between mask and character. It is recommended that students registered for a movement course pair it with a Studio A.C.T. acting and voice course.

Fighting Words: Scene Study and Theatrical Combat

Eight Classes

From Shakespearian battles to modern-day blockbusters, combat and fight scenes have been gracing our stages and screens for millennia. Fighting Words: Scene Study and Theatrical Combat is an engaging and physical course that covers the basic techniques of stage combat, as well as how to safely perform choreography in the context of well-known fight scenes. Students will learn the techniques of unarmed combat and fight choreography sequences, how to maintain awareness of themselves and fellow actors when performing a “fight scene”, and how to integrate fight choreography to help advance the text. From Mercutio’s dramatic death in Romeo and Juliet to the fierce Amazons in Wonder Woman, we will explore how you approach fight choreography as an important part of creative story-telling. At the end of the course, students will pick a scene to perform with fight choreography in an open class.

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Clowning

Clowning I

Eight Classes

As one of the great pioneers of clowning, Jacques Pierre Lecoq, said “The clown has great importance as part of the search for what is laughable and ridiculous in man. We should put the emphasis on the rediscovery of our own individual clown, the one that has grown-up within us and which society does not allow us to express.” No doubt, the great clowns that have left their mark on their world – from Charlie Chaplin to Buster Keaton to Red Skelton – did so because their work revealed the most vulnerable recesses of their humanity. We laugh because we understand; we relate because we see in these performers ourselves. As such, Clowning is an art unto itself, far more than just learning to “be funny.” Clowning allows the actor to understand authenticity and presence on a deeper level. It is an art form that serves the actor in a variety of contexts, from auditioning to analyzing a script. This course is designed for students who have previously studied physical theater and only open to those who’ve passed Introduction to Acting, Movement for the Actor I, and Act I or their equivalents.

Clowning II

Eight Classes

The art of clowning requires not just vulnerability, a spirited curiosity, and a resilient heart, but also the most important scene partner with whom you share these gifts: an audience. Without an audience, the clown cannot exist. Clowning II is a 10-week journey of fostering the fundamentals of this highly invaluable acting technique, while serving to foster the discovery of your clown through performance. Students will have the chance to revisit their clowns developed in Clowning I through devised performance pieces and by taking their acts from the studio space into site-specific venues, while cultivating a deeper sense of authenticity and presence through the immediate and direct relationship with an audience. You will gain a greater sense of confidence in improv skills and a sharper awareness of your performance space—tools that are critical for success in all forms of acting.

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Film & Television

Introduction to Acting for the Camera

Eight Classes

This course teaches students the fundamentals of acting on camera by exploring scene work from the industry’s best classic and contemporary film scripts. No previous acting experience (on or off camera) is necessary. Homework, such as scene selection and memorization, will be assigned. Students will be expected to complete assignments thoroughly and on time. Through simple scenes and exercises students will explore the fundamentals of good acting, learn practicable on-camera technique, and acquire a basic, realistic understanding of the film and television industry. It is recommended that students pass Introduction to Acting, Acts I and II prior to registering for this course.
 

Introduction to Media Storytelling  

Eight Classes

Students will explore basic fundamentals cinematic storytelling through screenwriting, producing, directing, starring in, and editing a two minute media project using basic consumer-level products. It is highly suggested that you have access to a smart phone with a good camera (like and iphone or android) and a mac computer as we will be editing in imovie. This is a great class for actors interested in on camera acting who want to have a better understanding of how they can better collaborate with and support those who work behind the camera, actors who want to learn how to self tape auditions, individuals interested in creating their own short film, Travel Documentary, cooking show or webseries.

Advanced Acting for the Camera

Eight Classes

This course teaches students the demands of working in film and television with a rigorous emphasis on personal authenticity. Students will acquire a practical understanding of their position in the frame, hitting a mark, and professionalism.

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Performance Lab

Weekend Intensive: Nov 11 & 12, 2017

This brand new course allows upper level acting students to engage in a professional rehearsal and development process. Students will participate in 10-hour weekend intensive workshop exploring Qui Nguyen’s new play She Kills Monsters, a story about loss and acceptance, combining magic realism with naturalism. Actors will be assigned roles two weeks prior to the start of the workshop. All roles will be evenly distributed, with participants playing multiple roles. The workshop will consist of script preparation and memorization along with devised “monster” characters and choreography. Students with a particular interest in a specific area of the workshop (i.e. devising instead of memorized character preparation) can contact the instructor for requests.


 

These descriptions are subject to change.

A minimum enrollment of six students must be achieved in order for a course to be offered. In the event that fewer than six students register, course may be canceled. If the course is canceled, all registrants will be issued a full refund. Conversely, most courses are limited to sixteen students so early registration is critical.

All students may register online at www.act-sf.org/studio. New students must fill out a new student questionnaire at the time of their registration.

Non-refundable fees apply: $20 non-refundable registration fee for new students, $7 nonrefundable registration fee for returning students, $5 nonrefundable library fee for all students.

Withdrawal from a course will incur a $40 fee. Refund requests must be made by the end of the first week, and the cost of any courses attended will be added to the drop fee.

NO REFUNDS WILL BE ISSUED AFTER THE END OF THE FIRST WEEK. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Please allow 10 working days to process your refund.

Studio A.C.T. Office: 415.439.2441

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