1. Home
  2.  | 
  3. Conservatory Program
  4.  | 
  5. Curriculum
  6.  | Year One

Year One Curriculum

The first year program is open to all with a desire, passion, and commitment to the work. Year one of the program consists of comprehensive classroom work concentrating on accessing emotions and impulses, use of self, active listening, exploration of the imagination and serving the text. You will study Acting Technique, Voice, Movement, Meisner Technique, Shakespeare, Beat Analysis for the Actor, Viewpoints, and Design Lab. The curriculum also includes Theory Into Practice and ongoing Performance Labs.

You will begin your first year of study by exploring emotions and impulses, and be introduced to the fundamental concepts of objective, obstacle and tactic. Intensive instrument work in Voice and Movement supports the foundation of acting technique. Students progress with text work and theatrical mask exploration. First Session (September-January) classes include Performance Labs in Movement, Shakespeare, Acting, and Viewpoints work under the supervision of the core faculty. Second Session (February-May) classes culminate in a formal audition before The Actors Conservatory faculty. Your admission to the second year of the program is based on evaluations by your first year instructors and the Managing Artistic Director.

Core Classes


TA110 Acting Technique 1 / Credits earned: 4
The class will focus on accessing emotions and 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: Joellen Sweeney


TA210 Acting Technique 2 / Credits earned: 4
Students will build on the foundations of Acting 1, Beat Analysis, Viewpoints and Meisner Technique to craft fully realized characters within the given circumstances of scenes from contemporary plays.

  • Instructor: William Earl Ray


TA112 Shakespeare 1 / Credits earned: 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. 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


TA212 Shakespeare 2 / Credits earned: 3
Building upon the approach explored in Shakespeare 1, students will dig deeper into the world of Shakespeare and find authentic behavior in larger-than-life circumstances through intensive scene and monologue work.

  • Instructor: Michael Mendelson


Method and Skills


TA111 Theory Into Practice / Credits earned: 3
Students will study and apply rehearsal techniques to solo, partner, and ensemble work based on class and lab assignments. Students will develop skills necessary to think critically and develop intimacy and safety guidelines during independent study and rehearsals.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht


TA120 Meisner Technique 1 / Credits earned: 3
Through a series of progressive repetition exercises, as outlined by Sanford Meisner, students will fine-tune their ability to be authentically connected and responsive to another actor.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder


TA220 Meisner Technique 2 / Credits earned: 3
This class builds upon the skills learned in Meisner Technique 1. Students will engage in advanced exercises creating a stronger foundation. Through these exercises, students will create more specificity in beat, obstacle, and intention work. Students will then layer these skills into text and scene work.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder


TA121 Viewpoints / Credits earned: 3
Through practice, exploration and feedback students will become versed in the Viewpoints vocabulary regarding Time and Space, developed specifically for the theatre by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau. Students will explore the Viewpoints to: develop tools for improvising movement on stage, devise original theatre, and expand the actors’ approach to a variety of theatrical styles.

  • Instructor: Chris Harder


TA122 Text Analysis for the Actor 1, Realism / Credits earned: 2
Focusing on moment-to-moment life/beats (objective/obstacle/ tactic), students will learn to analyze texts to understand how to play any given moment. This class will use scenes from contemporary playwrights, as well as texts used in Acting Technique 1.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht

TA222 Text Analysis for the Actor 2, Classical / Credits earned: 2

Building on their understanding of objective/obstacle/tactic explored in Beat Analysis 1, students will analyze and be able to articulate all the elements influencing the world of the classical play, including language, social, political and historical elements.

  • Instructor: Phillip Ray Guevara


TA141 Design Lab / Credits earned: 3
To empower our artists to learn the skills necessary to produce their own work and appreciate the work of designers on the artistic team, Design Lab emphasizes the skills necessary to create lights, sound, costumes and props to support the storytelling of the work you produce. The class puts this theory into practice with (3) performance labs generated by the students in the first semester.

  • Instructor: Megan Wilkerson


TA140 Theatre Management / Credits earned: 2
Students will explore how “It takes a Village” to put on a show. Students will walk in the shoes of a Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager, and Backstage Crew and learn what it takes to make an AEA (professional actors’ union) and Equity Waiver productions fly. Additional areas to be explored include Assistant Directing, House Managing, Dramaturgy, Costume Dresser, and Properties Mastering.

  • Instructor: Paul Stein




TA130 Voice 1 / Credits earned: 3
The main goal of the course is to help students free their “natural voice” to perform on stage with vocal freedom, articulation, safety, and control. Emphasis will be placed on the vocal theory and the basic mechanics of vocal production technique.

  • Instructor: Michael O’Connell


TA230 Voice 2 / Credits earned: 3
A continuation of Voice I with a specific focus on heightened narrative and authentic vocal habits.

  • Instructor: Michael O’Connell


TA131 Movement 1 / Credits earned: 3
The focus of this class is physical awareness and being fully in your body. In this first movement course, actors work on unlocking the physically expressive body using techniques by master practitioners (e.g., Lecoq, Laban, Chekhov, Grotowski, Boal) and related improvisations focused specifically on neutrality, alignment, spatial awareness, articulation, and energy.

  • Instructor: Theresa Robbins Dudeck


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

  • Instructor: Theresa Robbins Dudeck, Jacklyn Maddux, and Joellen Sweeney




TA242 Theatre Management Practicum / Credits earned:  3
Students will build upon their design lab and theatre management classes and put Theory Into Practice by applying their skills within the context of a professional production.

  • Instructors: Megan Wilkerson


Performance Labs (Semester 1)                                       
This is a series of labs integrated into Acting 1 & Shakespeare, Viewpoints, and Movement classes. In these labs, students will perform, and design devised, scripted, and creative performance works created by the ensemble that is based on skills and techniques being explored in the above classes.

  • Mentors: Megan Wilkerson and the Acting, Shakespeare, Movement, and Viewpoints faculty


Performance Lab: Audition (Semester 2)
This Lab is the culmination and realization of the design lab training and acting training wherein they apply the tools and methods learned throughout the year to their audition “event” for acceptance into the second year of training.

  • Mentors: Michael Mendelson and the Movement, Shakespeare and Acting faculty


Breath & Energy (integrated throughout Year 1)
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 familiarize themselves with the habitual tension and energy fixations. They will gain a deeper experience of their core selves, learn to be more present and focused and have greater energy and aliveness at their disposal as performers.

  • Instructor: Sarah Lucht