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Year One Curriculum

Year one of the program consists of comprehensive classroom work concentrating on accessing impulses, use of self, active listening, exploration of the imagination and serving the text. You will study acting technique, voice, movement, clown, improvisation, Shakespeare, styles, Theory into Practice, text analysis, technical theatre labs and theatre practicum, and Meisner Technique. The curriculum also includes an ongoing, intensive Performance lab.

You will begin your first year of study by exploring impulses and be introduced to the fundamental concepts of objective, obstacle and tactic. Intensive instrument work in voice and movement supports this foundation of acting technique. Students progress with text work and explorations of theatrical style. First Session (September-January) and Second Session (February-May) class work culminates in fully staged performances of movement, voice and style work under the supervision of the core faculty. The first year program is open to all with a desire, passion and commitment to the work.Your admission to the second year of the program is based on evaluations by your first year instructors and the Conservatory’s Artistic Director, in addition to a formal audition before the Portland Actors Conservatory faculty, alumni, and members of the professional theatre community.

Core Classes


TA110 Acting Technique 1                                                                Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3
The class will focus on accessing impulses, use of self, active listening, waking up the imagination and the exploration of given circumstances. The goal of the class is to discover authentic behavior that serves the text and to experience objective, obstacle and tactic and live truthfully in imaginary circumstances while experiencing reciprocity with your acting partner.

  • Instructor: Andrea White


TA210 Acting Technique 2                                                                Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3
Students will build on the foundations of Acting 1, Text Analysis and Meisner Technique to craft fully realized characters within the given circumstances of monologues and scenes from American classic and contemporary plays.

  • Instructor: William Ray


TA112/TA212 Shakespeare 1 / Shakespeare 2                             Clock hours:  48/48   Credits earned: 3/3
This class helps demystify Shakespeare by exploring both the technical approach through text analysis and the emotional content through our understanding of the human condition and psycho-physical exercises. It is essential that students begin from the impulse/need inherent in the words. The focus is to understand not only at an intellectual level, but also to feel the language coming through them.


  • Instructor: Michael Mendelson

Method and Skills


TA120 Meisner Technique                                                                   Clock hours:  48     Credits earned: 3
Through a series of progressive repetition exercises, as outlined by Sanford Meisner, students will fine tune their ability to be in truly connected with another actor.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder


TA121 Viewpoints                                                                                Clock hours:  48     Credits earned: 3
Through exploration and experience students will learn the language of the Viewpoints Technique as created by Mary Overlie and further developed for the theatre by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau, a technique for creating organic, dynamic stage behavior.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder


TA123 Improvisation                                                                            Clock hours:  48     Credits earned: 3
Improvisation aims to develop and expand students’ imagination, range of expression, and to release them from self-consciousness by altering their attitude towards failure. Through a series of impro games, techniques, and theories exploring status, impulse, splitting-the-attention, give/take, clowning, masks, narrative structure, and character development, students will enhance skills used onstage and off (e.g., presence, flexibility, courage, compassion, team building, rapid idea generation, and problem solving).

  • Instructor: Theresa Dudeck


TA122 Text Analysis 1: Realism                                                       Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3
Focusing on the works of classic American Playwrights, as well as scripts used in Acting Technique 1, students will learn to read scripts in order to understand how the play works-its mechanics and values-and apply that knowledge to their engagement with plays from the actor’s point of view.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht

TA222 Text Analysis 2: Classical (Semester 2)                                  Clock hours: 48    Credits earned:  3

Using their understanding of dramatic structure explored in Text Analysis 1, students will analyze and be able to articulate all the elements, including language, social, political and historical, influencing the world of the classical play.


  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht



TA130 Voice 1                                                                                    Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3
Being on your voice and in your body is the focus of this class. Based on the methodology of Robert Neff Williams (Juilliard), students work on breath support, flexibility, strength, resonance and vocal variety along with articulation and learning IPA. Alexander Technique will be introduced to help undo excess tension, create ease of breath and the ability to be present and in the moment.

  • Instructor: Lauren Wilson


TA131 Movement 1                                                                                Clock hours:  48    Credits earned: 3
Utilizing the methods of Lecoq and Laban, students will identify, relax and free parts of the body which habitually hold tension, expanding an individual’s movement, expressiveness and physical vocabulary.

  • Instructor: Lauren Wilson


TA230 Voice 2                                                                                    Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3
Continuation of Voice 1: with a specific focus on heightened narrative. 

  • Instructor: Lauren Wilson


TA231 Movement 2                                                                            Clock hours: 48         Credits earned: 3
Building on the strong sense of Artistic Self found in Movement I, Movement II allows the student to bring her/himself fully to exploration and development of character through mask and clown.  Movement II focuses intensely on providing a safe, non-judgmental space where students can take huge risks through experimental means in order to continue identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their physical and psychological instrument while learning new skills in storytelling.


  • Instructor: Lauren Wilson



*Performance Labs                                       
This is a series of labs integrated into Acting 1, Viewpoints, Shakespeare and Voice/Movement classes. In the labs, students will complete devised, scripted, and creative performance work.

  • Instructors: Andrea White, Chris Harder, Michael Mendelson, and Lauren Wilson


TA111 Theory Into Practice                                                                   lock hours: 48      Credits earned:  3
Students will study and apply rehearsal technique to solo, partner, and ensemble work. Students will develop skills necessary to think critically through play attendance and guided class discussions and independent study/rehearsals.

  • Instructors: Beth Harper


TA141 Technical Theatre                                                                    Clock hours: 72      Credits earned:  4
Students will build upon their technical theatre training of year one within the context of a professional production.

  • Instructors: Chris Mikolavich and Carol Ann Wohlmut

TA243 Performance Lab: Audition                                                   
Clock hours: 35      Credits earned:  1
This Lab is the culmination and realization of the students’ technical theatre training wherein they apply the tools and methods learned throughout the year to their audition “event” for the second year of training.

  • Core Instructor: Chris Mikolavich w/ assist from the Voice, Movement, Viewpoints, Shakespeare and Acting faculty


*Breath & Energy*                                                                                       Integrated throughout Year 1 & 2
​This course uses amplified breathwork, body/sensory techniques and ensemble contact exercises from a variety of sources, including Wilhelm Reich (breath work and body armoring), Alexander Lowen (bioenergetic work), and Virginia Satir (psychological stances, resource sculpting work). Students will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with and affect habitual tension and energy fixations, have a deeper experience of their core selves, learn to be more present and focused as actors and have greater energy and aliveness at their disposal as performers. Particular attention will also be paid to the experience of being present with and available to our fellow actors, and to the telling of stories from our authentic experience.


  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht