The Honors Acting Conservatory at The Theatre Lab offers a year to focus intensively on your acting without turning your life upside down. One year of concentrated attention to all aspects of the acting craft can make an enormous difference in an actor’s life. Taking classes now and then is beneficial, but when it comes to learning what you’re really capable of, nothing can match the value of immersing yourself in the craft.
Keep your day job.
The Honors Acting Conservatory at The Theatre Lab takes place solely on evenings and weekends, so you can continue your daytime responsibilities while preparing for a career in the theatre. No need to pull up stakes and head off for a two- or three-year MFA program, with enormous student debt. Here’s your chance to receive graduate-equivalent training from the area’s most respected working professional actors, directors, and casting directors, with attention to every aspect of the art and business of the acting profession–all within one calendar year. The Honors Conservatory is much more affordable than any comparably extensive program in the area.
Study with students as dedicated as you.
Admission to the Conservatory is by audition, and Conservatory faculty select only students they believe can succeed in the acting profession. Demonstrated ability and commitment are prerequisites for admission, so the acting student’s perennial problem–the scene partner who doesn’t show up for rehearsals or drops out of class–is not a concern. Instead, students will work with scene partners and classmates who share their dedication to acting, and who will support and challenge each other as members of a committed acting/learning ensemble.
Explore a comprehensive curriculum.
Honors Acting Conservatory students receive extensive training in scene study, advanced improvisational skills, auditioning, performance skills, physical and vocal technique, and the business of the business. In addition, Conservatory students study other theatrical disciplines to put that training into context. To gain experience on the technical side of things, each student runs crew for at least one Theatre Lab production. Upon finishing the program you will have a firm grasp of theatre history and will be familiar with dramatic literature from across the spectrum of styles and periods.
Gain extensive access to The Theatre Lab’s acclaimed faculty.
The program is directed by Theatre Lab Founders and Directors Deb Gottesman and Buzz Mauro (MFA graduates of The Catholic University of America) and popular actor and instructor Kim Schraf. A core curriculum of ongoing Monday-night scene study and advanced improv training plus a minimum of nine six-week courses–taught by distinguished Theatre Lab faculty–is required of all Honors Acting Conservatory students, but there’s no requirement to stop there.
When spaces are available, Conservatory students may take additional Theatre Lab classes during the year, for no additional fee, as long as the extra work does not interfere with the Conservatory curriculum.
Participate in special workshops with top theatre professionals from Washington and beyond.
The Theatre Lab is known for introducing actors and acting students to the wisdom and inspiration of top theatre talents from both Washington and New York. A variety of visiting artists will work solely with Honors students, as a supplement to the regular Monday-night acting classes.
Receive tailored progress evaluations.
Students receive detailed evaluations of all their work throughout the year. All instructors provide honest, specific, and constructive criticism as a way of guiding each student through their unique development as a theatre artist. Learning how to take and use that criticism is an important part of each actor’s Conservatory education.
Experience personal and professional mentoring throughout the year.
Honors Acting students receive an ongoing advisory component, an important aspect of acting training that is made available solely to this program. Directors and faculty members serve as mentors, making themselves available to Honors students to discuss any and all aspects of coursework and preparation for the professional theatre.
Gain access to a wide variety of performance opportunities.
All students play a major role in a production arising from one of our performance classes (past productions have included If/Then, Around the World in 80 Days, Jane Eyre, Othello, and The Good Woman of Szechwan), and there are frequent showcases of the scene work done in class. Final projects are productions of small-cast plays–chosen, produced, directed, and acted entirely by students under faculty supervision.
A final showcase for the area’s most influential directors and casting directors
Upon completion of the program, Honors Acting Conservatory students are formally introduced to the professional community in a showcase of their best work, presented to the decision makers from a wide variety of Washington theatres and casting agencies.