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The Conservatory for Actors

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Yale Summer Conservatory for Actors (DRMA S001)

The Yale Summer Conservatory for Actors is an intensive introduction to the basic techniques of acting. Based on the principles of Stanislavski, this five-week program is a distillation of the acting curriculum at the Yale School of Drama. The Conservatory emphasizes both the personal and professional growth of its participants.

Date: Dates: July 3 - August 4, 2017

Application Deadline: May 1

The Specifics

More than just acting or scene study, the Conservatory offers students an entire program comprised of a series of sections, each focused on a fundamental element of acting. Sections concentrate on the following:

  • Play analysis: to comprehend the material being acted.
  • Acting class: to explore the basic techniques of acting.
  • Voice and speech: to improve vocal production, articulation, and interpretive skills.
  • Improvisation and mask: to develop imagination and spontaneous self expression in character development.
  • Movement: to strengthen the body and encourage its use in creative expression.
  • Scene study: to understand how the elements above come together to create a solid foundation in the basic techniques of acting.

We divide the students into small sections that permit significant focus on individual work. With a faculty to student ratio of 1:4, we make sure that each student gets the personal attention needed for individual artistic growth. We think of the Conservatory as an experimental lab, designed to help our students develop their acting skills. Because we are structured as a lab, we offer no public performance or production of a play. Removing the pressure of an audience allows our students to focus on honing their skills for use in future performances. The lab structure also allows the faculty to focus equally on all students: because there are no leading performers, every student receives the same amount of attention.

Note: Students are generally in class each weekday from 9 am to 4 pm. There are evening Scene Study classes early in the week. Each student is required to schedule tutorial time with the Teaching Assistants to facilitate scene work. Past programs have featured a specialized workshop on musical theater. We also take a field trip to the O'Neill Center in the middle of the term to experience the development of a new play and to see a performance.

Outside of the classroom, students work, study, and play. Because the majority of class work is project-based and dependent on collaboration with other students, rehearsal time outside of class is valuable. Weekends are spent rehearsing or enjoying personal time. Our students have access to Yale's wealth of cultural institutions and to a wide variety of extracurricular activities in the residential colleges. On the weekends, students may take advantage of the University's location to attend theatrical performances in New Haven and New York. This is an intense program with a very full schedule to maximize the time while in residence.

About our Students

Our participants range from college-bound high school students (junior and older) to undergraduates (Yale and visiting students) and post-graduates who wish to hone their professional skills.

About our Faculty

The faculty is comprised of theater professionals who work regularly in regional and New York theaters as well as in film and television. Generally, our faculty members either teach at or are alumni of the Yale School of Drama. Our faculty of working professionals guide students though the Conservatory's rich and varied curriculum, providing an intensive, personalized, hands-on exploration of the fundamentals of the craft.

How are the Participants Selected?

We consider academic history, personal statements, recommendations, acting experience, and whatever test scores apply. No audition is required. We hope to attract strong students who want to act and to explore new concepts in a challenging environment.