Acting, Directing and Playwriting

Acting Track
During the three-year Acting program our acting students experience an intense training, consisting of deep and detailed personal work on what we call the actor’s instrument. The students have the opportunity to develop their craft not only in their classes but also in a variety of public performing events.

  • Our acting training is based on the Stanislavski “System” and its American development through the Group Theater and the Actors Studio.
  • The three-year Acting program is focused on sensitizing and opening the actor’s instrument, thereby freeing the actor’s individual and unique talent. This work allows the actors to express themselves in the deepest and most personal way in a variety of roles both in class and in performance.
  • The three-year Movement program is especially designed to develop the stamina, fluidity, grace and power of the actor’s physical instrument. The work offers a series of exercises, improvisations and stages of movement inspired by the experiments and teachings of innovative masters of the theater.
  • A second aspect of our Movement program consists of dance classes held at the studios of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and taught by their faculty.
  • The three-year Voice program is based on Kristin Linklater’s approach, which we consider the finest vocal training for actors.

Acting Opportunities

  • Throughout the three years actors, directors and playwrights learn to collaborate with each other in classes in which the actors act, the directors direct and the playwrights write. Collaboration among these three tracks is the heart of the MFA program and the Repertory Season at the end of the third year.
  • In addition to their work in the acting classes, acting students also participate in the projects of the directing classes and in the projects of the Playwrights and Directors Unit that consist of original plays written by the student playwrights.
  • Throughout the three years the best work of these classes is presented for the public in what we call the end-of-semester “Festivals.”
  • During the Third-Year Repertory Season, acting students appear in a series of professionally produced plays for the general public and the theater profession.

Directing Track
During the three-year Directing program, our directing students are trained according to the principles of the Stanislavski-Actors Studio directing process, which addresses all the elements of stage directing, from the first reading to opening night.

  • Through theory and practice, directing students study the relationships of the director to the play, the playwright, the actor, the designers and the audience.
  • They learn to tell the story, to create the events, to develop moment-to-moment behavior in order to convince the theatergoer of what takes place on the stage.
  • They are trained to solve acting problems, to conduct improvisations and to make the most creative use of their rehearsals.
  • Through a deep and intense process, directing students learn how to work with the actors in order to bring the characters to life in a profoundly personal way.
  • To support their understanding of the actor’s art and the acting process, all directing students study acting throughout their three years. In addition, the voice and movement training of our program is available to the directing students as electives.
  • Through the Design program, directing students learn to develop their ideas with the designers, to prepare production designs, to run technical rehearsals and to direct in a variety of theater spaces.
  • Through a two-semester course in the History of Directing, students will examine the central issues in the development of the principal innovative theater directors of the modern period.
  • Through many directing projects, directing students learn to lead and collaborate with actors, playwrights and designers.

Directing Opportunities

  • During the three years of their training, directing students experience many directing opportunities. In their directing classes they work on established dramatic material and in the Playwrights and Directors Unit they work on original work by their fellow playwrights.
  • Their best work in their directing classes and in the Playwrights and Directors Unit is presented to the public in end-of-semester “Festivals.”
  • During the Third-Year Repertory Season, directing students direct a series of professionally produced plays for the general public and the theater profession.

Playwriting Track
During our three-year Playwriting program, our playwriting students learn to work and collaborate with directors, actors and designers in a safe and creative professional environment deeply committed to the Actors Studio philosophy, process and tradition.

  • The playwriting students learn to create meaningful personal stories and transform them into dramatic events and characters with deeply human and intense moment-to-moment life.
  • Playwriting students learn to write and develop one-act and full-length plays, along with the fundamentals of screenwriting.
  • To support their playwriting skills, all playwriting students study acting throughout their three years.

Playwriting Opportunities

  • Their work is staged by their colleagues in Directing and Acting, in class and for the public.
  • In the third year, their best work is presented in a professionally produced Repertory Season for the general public and the theater profession.
  • In the last month of their training, their full-length play is professionally presented as a staged reading open to the public.