Striking a Balanced Approach in Actor Training


I recently had the pleasure of directing the Junior Class actors at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA program.

The training is rich in its classical approach paying particular attention to the fundamental skills of the stage actor’s craft: a strong and sonorous voice, a facility for speaking heightened language, a flexible and supple body, and an inventive imagination. From the U of M I went to Australia, where I am currently visiting the Victorian College of Art’s BFA Acting/Performance Maker Program. I am particularly interested in the latter half of this program’s identification (Performance Maker), insofar as it aims to apply the traditional skills that I mentioned about the Guthrie program with a more holistic pedagogy training actors in the context of a multidimensional artist.

Godot Rehearsal

Through a curriculum consisting of conventional approaches (e.g, voice/speech/acting technique) combined with a range of courses that include critical studies, devised performance, practice-based research, and initiating independent projects, VCA strikes a pedagogical balance that is worthy of consideration.

Is there room for such a balanced approach in US actor training?

How might teachers, students, and programs alike adjust our current practice in favor of a more multidimensional approach? Is it possible to do so without degrading the essential skills a stage actor needs to learn?

Professional Actor Training in Ireland and the UK


I just returned from a fruitful trip to Ireland and the UK, where I had the honor of conducting workshops and researching some internationally recognized drama schools.

In addition to the National Theatre School of Ireland, I visited the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Rose Bruford College, and numerous others. One of the salient themes coursing through the 22 conservatories constituting “Drama UK” and the pair representing Ireland is a search for pedagogical balance between tradition and progress. (more…)