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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 focuses on building a foundation that is applicable to all further study in theatre.

Program Cancelled due to COVID-19

Please check back in January for information on Summer 2021!


Summer 2020 application is now closed.

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:

  • Text Analysis: to comprehend the material being acted
  • Acting Technique: a laboratory to explore the basic concepts of acting introduced at the Summer Conservatory
  • Voice and Speech: to improve vocal production, articulation, and interpretive skills
  • 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 contemporary plays

We divide the students into small sections of 10-12 that permit significant focus on individual work. With a faculty to student ration 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, and because of this, 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.

Point: Students are generally in class each weekday from 9 am to 5 pm. In addition, there are evening Scene Study classes two nights a week, from 7-10pm. Each student is required to schedule tutorial time with the Teaching Assistants to facilitate scene work. 

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. 

Pin: Important: This is an intense program with a very full schedule designed to maximize the time in residence. Students should expect to spend 40 hours a week in class and an additional 10-15 hours each week of rehearsal/homework time. 

Check out a Typical Daily Schedule

Student Video Testimonials

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. Skill levels vary from motivated beginners to seasoned professionals – the faculty finds that a diversity of experience in the student makeup is of great benefit to everyone. 

Want to learn more about the student experience at the Conservatory for Actors? Listen to what these program alumni had to say.

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.

Read about the Summer Drama Faculty, both the Conservatory & Directing

Blake Hackler, the Conservatory Director, has created a video introduction to the program

How are the Participants Selected?

We consider academic history, personal statements, recommendations, acting experience, and whatever test scores apply. No audition is required. We attract strong students who are committed, rigorous in their dedication to growth, and unafraid of intensive study. 

Drama Applicants must submit the following with their applications:

  • A resume of relevant experience
  • Personal statement (located on the application course selection page)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Minimum of one recommendation from a theater professional or drama teacher 

Tuition and Fees

Item Amount
Tuition - Summer Conservatory for Actors (2 credits) $8,500
Application Fee (nonrefundable) $75

For other fees and residential costs, please visit our Tuition and Fees page. All tuition and fees, including room and meal charges, must be paid in full three weeks before the course begins.

Financial Assistance

Yale Summer Session offers financial assistance to Yale College students on financial aid (financial assistance is not available for visiting students). Yale Colllege students can receive financial assistance for half (50%) tuition on up to two course credits. Students who have attended Summer Session previously will have the application fee waived.

More information about financial assistance may be found on our Financial Assistance page.