Summer Conservatory for Actors
Program dates: Session B July 8 - August 9
Who We Are
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.
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.
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. The Yale Summer Conservatory for Actors is an excellent first step on the path to a career in acting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the program's goals?
To introduce students to the craft of acting. We provide our students with the basic tools of acting based on the work of Stanislavski and complemented by our focus on the textual, vocal, and physical elements of the craft.
What is the class size?
We divide the students into small sections that permit significant focus on individual work. The faculty to student ratio is one faculty member for every four students. We make sure that each student gets personal attention for his or her own artistic growth.
How are students 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.
Who are the students?
Our participants range from college-bound high school students (junior and older), undergraduates (Yale and non-Yale), and post-graduates who wish to hone their professional skills.
Who are the 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.
Is there a performance at the end of the summer?
The Conservatory is experimental. We think of it as a lab, designed to help our students develop their acting skills. Because we are structured as a lab, there is 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.
What is the class schedule like?
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
What do I do when I'm not in class?
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 wide variety of extracurricular activities. On the weekends, students may take advantage of the University's location to attend theatrical performances in New Haven and New York.
Dates & Costs
Former Students Say...
"I have also attended NYU's summer program at the Lee Strasberg Institute and the La Jolla Playhouse's Summer Conservatory, but I believe that Yale gave me the greatest variety of techniques to choose from and the most help in understanding how to approach the rehearsal process. If you are looking for someone to give you one specific way of doing things, Yale would not be the place. However, if you are interested in exploring how different aspects of technique all can combine in performance, you would love Yale."
"At Yale, the one thing that unifies the entire faculty is that they are all good teachers who value your education as the highest priority. They are not as concerned with a final showcase as much as they are concerned about your taking from Yale a set of tools that will never let you look at a script and be lost for how to work on your character."
"I hope that you take from Yale just as much, if not more, than I did."