core acting progression
Curious about acting? Or, do you have experience performing, but are just feeling a little rusty? Maybe you just want to get to know your authentic self a little better? If so, our Step I Acting course is a great place to explore. You will develop or deepen the fundamental acting tools we use as the foundation for all of our acting classes at Freehold: living truthfully under imaginary circumstances, connecting to your own personal material, investing in playing an action, and working with a partner. If you are coming to the table with more experience, this class will provide an opportunity to dive deeper into some of the tools of your craft. If you are trying this out for the first time, this class will be an entry in an exciting and safe environment.
Intro to Acting is the first class in our three-step acting progression, introducing you to a vocabulary and approach that will form the basis of Step II: Acting with Text and Step III: Basic Scene Study.
Acting with Text is about how to approach playing action when working on a short scene from a play. We apply all of the foundational tools introduced in Step I to our work with text. Students will begin to deepen their experience with given circumstances, will begin to understand how to recognize action in the text, and will explore how to connect this new understanding with the tools explored in step I. We will explore with the sense of play and creativity required to begin to bring an actual scene to life.
Prerequisite: Step I: Intro to Acting or instructor permission.
- This class requires you to be able to meet with your scene partner outside of regularly scheduled class time.
- If you have not taken Step I: Intro to Acting but have received equivalent training elsewhere, you will be asked to meet with a faculty member to evaluate your eligibility for the class. We accept only a limited number of students who have not taken Step I into each Step II section each quarter. Instructor permission is necessary if you have not completed Step I: Intro to Acting.
In Basic Scene Study, students will bring longer scenes to life through textual analysis and improvisation. You’ll broaden and deepen your understanding of rehearsal techniques and hone your understanding of playing action to really affect a change in your scene partner, enough to compel you to both act and react authentically. You will explore ways to create work with your own imagination that is rich, creative and exciting.
Prerequisite: Step II: Acting with Text or instructor permission.
- This class requires you to be able to meet with your scene partner at least once per week outside of regularly scheduled class time.
- If you have not taken Step II: Acting with Text but have received equivalent training elsewhere, you will be asked to meet with a faculty member to evaluate your eligibility for the class. We accept only a limited number of students who have not taken Step II into each Step III section each quarter.
Advanced Acting Classes
The Meisner Progression at Freehold is based on the work of Constantin Stanislavski, Joseph Chaikin, and Sanford Meisner.
Through cumulative exercises based on the work of Sanford Meisner, the actor learns to be habitually available to and affected by life that is actually happening in the moment, and to fully release instinctive, uninhibited responses. The class culminates in a work with text.
Through cumulative exercises based on the work of Sanford Meisner, the actor learns to be habitually available to and affected by life that is actually happening in the moment, and to fully release instinctive, uninhibited responses. The class culminates in a work with text.
Prerequisites: Step III: Basic Scene Study, Rehearsal and Performance
Students continue the exercises from Foundation, supplementing them with work in personalization, preparation, and other tools in order to access a meaningful inner life and “make real” the text and imaginary circumstances.
Prerequisites: Meisner I: Foundation
Applying the work from Foundation and Instrument to scenes, students focus on detailed, in-depth text and character work — analysis, subtext, particularization, and moment-to-moment process work on scenes.
Using scenes selected from modern award-winning and noteworthy plays or musicals, students of this online class will focus on and further develop their acting and performing skills and techniques for building a character, making interesting choices, risk-taking and in-depth bookwork exploration of clues to enhance and support the effectiveness of their
performance and scene work.
Paired with different combinations of classmates and working together on overlapping acting scenes with the instructor, participants will work to discover the varying nuances and possible choices that different casting combinations can make on the scripts.
Using Zoom, students will also gain experience and guidance with the intricacies of working online, and what may become the new normal for acting presentations for the immediate and foreseeable future.
The class will create opportunities to enhance and gain experience with remote rehearsals, online casting and other facets of production performance options that may forever be
a part of our changing world.
The class will culminate in recorded ZOOM presentations of a selection of the best scenes developed in the class and will be presented on social media.
Prerequisites: Step III or Instructors Permission
Demystify the audition experience! Take control of your process, gain confidence, and enjoy auditioning. This course will focus primarily on contemporary monologues, preparation, and audition-specific acting technique. Great for the actor just starting to audition or for experienced actors wanting to hone their auditioning skills. Focus will be on auditions for stage, and we will also explore Self Tape auditions that actors prepare at home.
Playwriting Progression Classes
Working with a step-by-step approach, the courses in the Playwriting Progression move from the smallest units of dramatic energy to the full landscape of a compelling theatrical story.
Theatre tells stories through actors using scripts that are armed with powerful themes, context and objectives and live at a specific moment in time. Explore the many ways playwrights create compelling, truthful characters, and dynamic monologues, scenes and short plays using the language of the stage: words, movement, light, sound, and silence. This interactive class includes both real time writing exercises and some “on your feet” work, so please dress comfortably.
Take the opportunity to go for broke and work to finish a full-length or one-act play in 8 short weeks! Start from scratch on Week 1 (or from something you’ve already started but still have much to do) and build weekly from there. This ONLINE interactive class will explore a variety of useful structural forms and writing techniques designed to keep your work alive and moving forward towards a satisfying conclusion.
Expect to write at least 5-10 pages per week! This class is meant for writers who have taken Freehold’s Playwriting I and/or II (or have other playwriting experience).
Prerequisites: Playwriting I or Playwriting II, or instructor permission
Craft and Instrument Classes
Delve deep into the life of a character with this on-line Character Development Lab. Our goal is to explore character in a way that supports transformation, where the actor’s being is so engaged with the character’s life and needs that there is no room left in the actors’ mind for doubt and fear.
This approach encourages a working process where subconscious instincts and the ever-changing present fuel dynamism and transformation in the performer.
Students will dive into selected scripts to look for clues in the text, which will serve as a jumping off point for their work. We will engage with various approaches to finding connection to the inner life of a character through exercises, journaling, readings, and in-class discussions.
Each student will apply this work to a particular character, and a selected monologue or scene as we work.
Prerequisites: Completion of Step III is required, or special permission from the instructor based on prior study and experience.
In this unprecedented time of world-wide pandemic bodied by waves of civil rights protest, we all play a crucial role in fighting for and securing the social change we want to see.
This requires activism. What your activism looks and feels like is unique to you, just like your artistic practice.
In this introductory course we will confront and investigate the systemic, institutional, interpersonal, and internalized layers of American social injustices in order to better understand the conscious and unconscious ways we are all complicit in oppression and therefore all responsible for liberation.
We will do this through: individual meditative journaling, group symposium, and weekly creative projects.
Students will need a journal exclusively for this class.
Your voice is unique, and it’s an essential component of fulfilling your artistic potential. In this course, students will move through a series of voice/mind/body exercises based on Fitzmaurice Voicework®, aimed at strengthening vocal flexibility and dynamism. Class exercises will also give you tools for self-regulation of your nervous system through breathwork and meditation.
Games, text work (memorized and cold readings), discussion, and a greater understanding of human anatomy, students will enhance students’ vocal self-expression in all areas of life, including stage & film acting, job interviews, public speaking, voice-over, and more.
This class is physical, and you will need a yoga mat, movement clothes, water, and writing materials. You will also need to memorize a piece of text between 1 – 2 minutes in length.
Now is a perfect time to be developing the tools in your Actor’s Toolkit. Whether you are at the beginning of your actor’s training or a seasoned professional, we are all life-long learners as artists, and taking care of your instrument today will put you in great shape for the work to come, whether that work is an online class, a virtual staged reading, a Zoom meeting, or the in-person work that we all look forward to getting back to.
Voice is one of the actor’s greatest tools, but it is often overlooked when we are prepping for auditions or rehearsals. Knowing how to prepare your voice for anything that might happen in the room will give you more confidence, both in your ability to nail the audition and also in the dynamics you can bring to your characters when you book the role.
This class will give you practical tools to understand how the voice works so that you can make it work for you. We will develop a basic warm-up practice that involves body, breath, mind, and voice, creating specific awareness of the physical nature of the voice, and then we will apply these tools to spoken text. An overview of basic vocal health practices will connect with specific exercises and tools that can be used for warming up, cooling down, and everyday maintenance and strengthening of the voice. We will engage in discussions as a group about various vocal qualities and their impact (intentional or not) on the listener, and we will also use Zoom Breakout Rooms for smaller discussions, practice sessions, and one-on-one work with each student and the instructor.
Imagine reading a character description stating, “role requires Maltese accent.”
Now imagine that instead of panicking and backing out of the audition altogether, you actually feel confident about what to do!
It’s not impossible, and this class will show you why. Studying accents is a fun and remarkable way of deepening your connection to a character, improving the quality of your auditions and performances, and understanding, clarifying, and appreciating your own dialect. (Oh yes, everybody has one).
In this class, we will take a primarily physical approach to learning how to break down sounds from all over the world. Then, using short monologues, you will learn RP (aka a “standard” British accent), and finally take on any accent of your choosing.
We will also discuss how accents are typically used in the media, what’s changing, and what responsibilities we have as artists and global citizens to understand this powerful storytelling tool.
In this class we will do Improv exercises that fall into the category of “narrative”.
Certain exercises emphasize “advancing” the story, others “coloring” , and others use memory in a disciplined way to create, hone and balance your writing and performance.
This class would be great for anyone: film makers, school teachers, care givers, “Moth” storytellers.
Create, Rehearse, and Perform an original solo show, applying the Alexander Technique every step of the way for greater creativity and coordination.
By the end of this course, you’ll have your own six-minute solo show as well as working knowledge of how the Integrative Alexander Technique can be used to open the doors of your imagination and bring your ideas to life, as you intend them.
A 8 week movement class for the actor to awaken the physical self during this time of social isolation.
You will work on a yoga mat, with a concentrated focus on physicality for performance.
Classes will consist of warm ups, improvisational play, minimal homework and sharings.
You will learn to enhance your senses, create distinct characters through targeted gestures and centers, use body language to communicate subtext and learn to physically enhance your audition monologue.
NEED: a good internet connection, a computer or smart phone, a yoga mat, and an able and willing body in moveable clothing. Blocks & straps.
An actor’s inquiry from in studio learning to online learning. Dive into the deep world of physicality and translate it into the tiny screen of Zoom.
Sharpen your actor’s instrument – your body! Develop awareness of the impact of emotion, gesture, alignment, intention and body language on the stories we tell. Each class will consist of warm ups, games, a targeted exploration, breakout rooms for solo and group compositions and sharings.
Explore how to be human in this time of technology connecting and disconnecting us at the same time. Keep your stories authentic and honest as we take theatre out of the box and into another box.
This course will introduce how Integrative Alexander Technique and can be applied by performers for greater freedom on stage.
Students will learn a simple yet powerful tool that can be used in-the-moment, at any moment.
The aim of this class is to help artists fully embody their creative ideas and discover new choices in how they move.
Participants will be asked to bring a piece of text they would like to work on, as well as questions to each class.
Alyssa Franks is an apprentice-teacher of the Integrative Alexander Technique under the mentorship of Cathy Madden
A study of 18th century swordplay. The evolutionary result of over 300 years of civilian sword technique adopted to theatrical training for the actor. Think Les Liaison Dangerous, and the works of Richard Brinesley Sheridan. The fencing Salon vs. the reality of the duel, with a little ballet footwork thrown in.
This is an intensive as opposed to certification test. It can be used to re-cert. People will receive credit for hours toward certification.
Prerequisites: Single sword certification/experience
The famous double fence technique of the Elizabethan era.
Based on the historical techniques of fight masters famously referred to in The Princess Bride! A foundational must for the classical actor.
Some sword experience recommended, and certification will be offered by The Society of American Fight Directors
Come and explore the theatrical and historical aspects of this challenging system of sword combat.
Debunk the myth of this style as “Hacking and slashing, and only the strongest need apply!”
Flexible and whip fast, Longsword was efficient and exemplified many of the qualities of the smaller swords that followed!
Certification by The Society of American Fight Directors is offered.
This on-camera course focuses on film and television scripts and specific tools used in the medium. This hands-on workshop highlights quick and powerful ways to make your performance more natural and spontaneous.
Develop an awareness of the special needs of the camera and focus on your ability to be free in front of it. Work on new scenes with new scene partners every week in front of the camera, watching play back constantly for supportive and helpful feedback. Learn the importance of technique, remove self-conscious behavior, and use yourself to fill a character.
Taught by John Jacobsen, Emmy award winning director.
Please note: This class does involve scene work with a scene partner with the expectation that you will be available to rehearse outside of the scheduled class time.
Speciality classes are designed to expand and explore your range as a performer/deviser.
“I speak to faeries who have forgotten the pouches of pixie dust in their possession…I encourage these children to craft limbering language out of lofty aspirations.”
– Mission Statement by Daemond Arrindell
Spoken Word is the writing craft of poetry brought to life through the art of performance. And while its origins go back to the ancient aAfrican griots its prevalence in today’s society is prolific. From commercials for beer and soda to YouTube videos to speeches made to Congress, you can find Spoken Word anywhere and everywhere, for numerous reasons: its level of accessibility and the simple fact that everyone has a story worth sharing. What will be yours?
In this course we will explore the art of Spoken Word performance poetry, engage in critique/analysis of past and present performers and poetic styles through text, video and audio samplings, find/develop/refine our own voices through writing exercises and take written poems on the journey to become engaging and dynamic performance pieces.
No prior writing experience necessary. All levels welcome.
This course focuses on how to structure your story, and while we examine great movies and screenplays, good structure applies to all stories, whether it is for a book, a play, a short film, or TV show. We’ll move from watching how good stories are structured into how to execute structure yourself by writing scenes, beat sheets, and designing.
Do not underestimate how vital design is to all art and your story, and don’t be a “panster”. A panster is a person who just sits down and types a story, writing from the seat of his/her pants. Typing is not writing. Yes, you might type 100 pages, but that doesn’t mean your story works because, well, it rarely does without designing it first.
I have news for you: art is formulaic. Composition and structure are inherently involved in its creation. And for those of you that think design or structure or formula inhibit creativity, think again. I’ve discovered this: there is plenty of discovery and magic to be had. First off, may spontaneity strike you when you are working very hard. Second, while the act of being creative and taking risks and living passionately needs no structure, the process of converting this into something someone wants to read does. Without a system in place for curating your ideas, your innovation process will fall at the first hurdle.
The most popular movies and books of all time almost always strictly follow the rules of structure — most screenplays in fact are rejected because they have structure problems. I am hired to read, help, rewrite and doctor these scripts all the time and the place I almost always find the problem is in the journey of the hero and its structure.
Think of a pop song — The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” for example. Verse, verse, bridge, chorus, verse, chorus. That’s part of the structure, another part being the key and chords involved. Formulaic? Yes. Does the structure allow for enormous creativity and variety? Yes. Because guess what? Songwriters from Henry Rollins to June Carter to Michael Jackson have used that same formula with widely differing — but brilliant — results.
You want to go highbrow? Consider sonata-allegro form, used by composers from Mozart to Vaughan Williams. Exposition-development-recapitulation-coda. It’s a formula. It produced Mozart’s Serenade in G major, K, Hayden’s Symphony No. 43, and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
The magic is this: you don’t see the formula (or principles of good writing) when you are absorbed in the artwork (unless you’re looking for it). Instead, you see the characters coming to life before you in a world that makes you forget your own. But the formula is one of the crucial factors that makes the story work and helps keep the story transparent for you. Almost every film, book, play, short story or movie you love has this structure.
Good filmmaking and screenwriting isn’t about clever dialog and flashy camera angles. The success of a movie relies on its overall shape, the unsexy utilitarianism of its underlying scaffolding. Much like a house: you can paint the house a great color, you can do some bold things on the interior, but if the structure of the house isn’t sound – if for instance, we can’t find the front door – no one is going to enter into your work.
Structure is key to success – if you define “success” as “people enjoying your work.”
So stop fighting it and learn it. Then you can master it and learn how and when to break the principles to invent something completely new and exciting.
This course is both a beginning and brush up course on textual analysis for Shakespeare. It will be detective work on what the elements of the language are, how the language is structured, what clues this gives us to the character speaking and how to speak the language based on is structure and clues using all of the acting information from both a modern and Elizabethan point of view.
Through discussion, games, word play, reading plays memorization and presentation of monologues we will explore the world of text given to us by Shakespeare and put it into action.
Classes will be held on Zoom, students will be required to have a good copy of the complete works of Shakespeare, be able to be on line for class without interruption. Do the assigned work outside of class which will include memorization, participate in the class discussions and activities. Materials in the form of pdf’s will be sent pre and post class to review and cover the material taken up in each class.
If you’ve ever wanted to explore the world of voice-over work, this is a great place to start.
Students will develop cold-reading skills, learn to look behind the phrasing of ad copy to identify possible client desires, quickly and effectively interpret copy, and learn how to take direction in the studio.
Genres covered will include audiobook narration, radio & television ad copy, technical narration, and character work for video games and animation.
You’ll learn what to expect in a recording session, from audition to booking, as well as have the opportunity to explore and utilize your individual voice, culminating with a recording session in a professional recording studio.
A few things to note about the online version of this class: our recording studio time will be scheduled for a date when can can all safely meet in person (hopefully over the summer – this means that the last class of this series will likely be postponed). Also, as students will not be able to hear playback live in class they will be required to listen to their parts of a recorded version of each session in order to hear the vocal changes that took place after they received coaching and direction from the instructor.
Students who have already taken an introductory voiceover class or who have some voiceover training under their belt may take this class to further their skills and begin to prepare for cutting a demo.
Each week students will spend a short time looking at the more advanced aspects of the voiceover industry including quick-paced legal, effort noises, and technical jargon. Then they will move on for more intensive coaching on ads that best suit their voice and would be appropriate to record on a demo.
If needed, editing skills for auditions will be revisited and looked into with more depth. This is a great option for students who feel they need a bit more coaching before cutting a demo but would like to ultimately pursue a career in the voiceover industry.
Note: this class does not include the actually creation of a demo. Students will be required to do homework each week.
Are you thinking of auditioning for Musical Theatre? Are you unsure of how to take your acting skills and apply them to song? Are you already auditioning and want to build a better book of song choices or feel that your acting through song technique could be stronger?
Each week you’ll bring a song of choice to perform and receive acting and vocal coaching. You’ll learn how to create a “scene” out of a song (even if you are the only one singing), how to connect with both the music and the person you are singing to, how to build a song book that suits all auditions as well as how to find the right cuts if only 32 bars is asked for.
But above all else you will learn how to truly explore the text and context of a song so that you can use your voice to bring the story to life.
Participants can choose to bring one song multiple times, a new song each week, or something in between and will have the chance to discuss song choice for the next week after each session.
Students should have enough singing experience to follow a backing track or accompaniment. You will be asked to purchase sheet music that will be run through an app that creates backing tracks. We will start each class with a short vocal warm up.
An interview with the instructor is required before you are officially registered. Plan to bring a little something to sing (it doesn’t have to be with sheet music or a backing track, but it can be).
Prerequisites: Interview with Instructor
Whether speaking in an in-person setting or in a Zoom room, whether speaking to an audience of 1 or 100, public speaking can challenge us in a variety of ways. Some struggle with confidence, some have a hard time being heard and understood, others wonder what to do with their hands while speaking.
The best way to become a better public speaker is through practice! In this class, students will have opportunities to do just that in a safe and supportive atmosphere. You’ll learn a wide range of skills related to public speaking, including breath and voice techniques, body language, speech styles, and more.
This eight-week class will take place on the Zoom platform. In order to fully participate, students will need:
–a computer or tablet with a built-in camera & microphone, and Internet access (*An inexpensive lavalier mic is highly recommended but not required. I like the Power DeWise Lavalier Microphone)
–a free Zoom account (we will be using Zoom for all classes)
–space to sit or lie on the floor (the size of a yoga mat will do)
–space that allows you to use your voice with a certain amount of freedom (meaning: a space where you have permission to make sounds, sometimes loud sounds, sometimes weird sounds)
This class can be physical at times, so wear comfortable clothes that allow for physical freedom.
This course will guide you to develop a disciplined ritual of daily self-care so that you have the energy and resource to create.
In this class, we will explore why mindfulness matters for artists. By the end, you will also have skills for building a mindful way in and way out of actor readiness.
Conscious pathways to cross the threshold to performance enable you to go deeper. Taking care of yourself means taking care of your creative work.
Discover the “art of the tease” as you explore the power, confidence and creativity of performing Neo-Burlesque! Learn the tools and techniques specific to this genre as we get you in touch with your inner-sexy and guide you through the creation of your own original burlesque solo act. Course includes group exercises to increase your body-positivity and expression, burlesque acting techniques for captivating an audience, plus generative techniques to develop characterization and creativity. We’ll get glamorous in a hair & make-up workshop, explore working with boas, gloves and stockings, and learn choreography for a sultry chair dance! Everyone receives a half hour private act coaching session with the instructor (in addition to in-class feedback), plus there is the option to participate in an Add-On experience of an Pin-Up Photoshoot with a professional burlesque photographer (discounted price of $75 for on-camera session, coaching and 2 digital images; separate enrollment through instructor, date/time TBD) This 8 week course culminates in a fabulous showcase on Sat. June 20, where you can feel the thrill of an adoring audience! No previous dance or acting training required; any nudity (pasties/gstring) is optional. All genders are welcome!
Self-taped auditions are the future of casting and we better get good at them now.
The way agents and casting directors do business has changed for the foreseeable future, so the ability to do a great self-taped audition and self-submit is as important today as a great head shot and resume. Knowing how to put together a great “self-tape” as your audition tape is thus more important than ever and an essential skill to communicate with industry professionals.
Learn how to prepare, shoot and submit theatre, film and TV auditions using your cell phone, tablet, or laptop, practice again and again how to do them well by learning what is the best camera, backdrop, lighting, and microphone to get, how to set up your home studio, and how to edit your audition.
We’ll examine how to communicate with casting directors, how to get and work with an agent rather than waiting for the phone to ring, how to promote yourself the right way, how to know your brand and the best way to champion your talent, and how to use social media to get your name, face, and talent out there.
Plus, we will focus on how to get comfortable in front of the camera, the do’s and don’ts of auditioning especially when self taping, how to slate, how to frame, where to look, and, most important, how to deliver an honest and fully committed performances for films, commercials, and corporate that will get you callbacks and cast.
This class is geared to beginners as well as more experience actors and requires at the very least a camera to film your auditions.
Have you ever wanted to start a podcast but don’t know where to start? Then this workshop is the place for you. Led by Kira Dorrian, producer and co-host of the successful podcast Raising Adults and host of The Edge Conservation Podcast, this class will cover all the steps you will need to consider before starting your own show.
Topics covered on the first day include podcast editing, creating your show’s formula, the pros and cons to being a “guest heavy” show, how to market your show, steps for releasing your show to all of the podcast platforms and more.
On the second day, students will have the opportunity for a private 15 minutes virtual meeting with Kira to talk about your ideas and work through the various details which may be unique to your show.