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The Conservatory for Actors

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A Summer Drama Program at Yale Summer Session

Yale Summer Session 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 summer drama program focuses on building a foundation that is applicable to all further study in theatre.

Pin: To apply for the Summer Conservatory for Actors (DRMA S001) course please select Session B in your application. Course dates are Monday, July 1 -  Friday, August 2

 Summer 2024 Actors Conservatory will be held in person in New Haven. 


Pin: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling admissions basis.  All materials (including letters of recommendation) must be in your file before April 1st for applications to be considered.

Our application for Summer 2024 courses and programs is now open.

Conservatory for Actors Overview

We believe that acting happens in the space between two people - two people who are usually embodied, breathing, and living in the same space. The Summer Drama Program will look and feel different than in past years, but we’re confident that you’ll come away from the experience with new skills, a deeper understanding of craft, and a more liberated sense of permission and play. 

You won’t sit for hours a day. You’ll be moving, clowning, vocalizing and acting! 

Let us know if you have any questions.

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
  • On-Camera Acting: Taught by acclaimed actors Welker White and Damian Young from The Moving Frame
  • Voice and Speech: to improve vocal production, articulation, and interpretive skills
  • Movement: to strengthen the body and encourage its use in creative expression
  • Clowning: to encourage risk-taking and a sense of play

We divide the students into small sections of 10-12 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, 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.

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 and enjoying personal time.

Pin: Important: This is an intense program with a very full schedule designed to maximize the time. Students should expect to spend 30 hours a week in class and an additional 10 hours each week of rehearsal/homework time. The 2023 daily schedule and syllabi below are indicative of what students can expect in 2024.

 2023 Daily Schedule

2023 Syllabi

Student Video Testimonials

Our participants range from college-bound high school students (rising seniors 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 through 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.

Note: 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)

Application Fee (nonrefundable)


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

On-campus housing & meals are available for an additional cost. 

Item Amount
Visiting Domestic Student On-Campus Housing & Meal Plan $4235
Visiting Int'l Student On-Campus Housing & Meal Plan* $4365

*Plan includes required international health insurance for the duration of the program.

Financial Assistance

Yale Summer Session offers financial assistance to Yale College students on financial aid. Yale College 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. We are unable to offer financial assistance to visiting students.

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