Adult Acting Classes—for Onstage and Off
By Erin Frederick, Education Enrollment and Marketing Coordinator
Hartford Stage’s Youth Studio program has long been a popular source of theatre education in greater Connecticut. What many of our audiences may not know, however, is that our Adult Studio offers a variety of classes for all adults – from complete novices to seasoned theatre professionals. The current season of classes includes two introductory courses (Intro to Improv and Intro to Acting) and two more advanced programs (Scene Study and Audition Intensive).
These classes are not just intended for those who have chosen to pursue a career in theatre – many of our students come from the region’s thriving business community. While participating in an acting class offers a nice escape from a corporate environment, it can also help foster skills that can prove very beneficial in that same setting. “A basic acting class is great for anyone who wants to feel more creative and develop more poise and confidence when speaking in front of people,” says Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education for Hartford Stage. Adult Studio student Chandler Hartford puts it this way: “[Acting classes] taught me to think on the spot [and] adapt to any environment more easily. It also taught me the importance of team work – to not shut out your team members, but rather build off of what they have brought to the table.”
While many adults might feel some trepidation about jumping into an acting class with little to no experience, students of all levels are encouraged to participate. Adult student Daryel Gonzalez speaks highly of the welcoming atmosphere of the classes. “Everyone is incredibly encouraging and creates a comfortable environment for those who are timid or shy.” Former student Ginny Wolf also adds that the atmosphere was “very fun, accepting, comfortable and respectful. You felt safe trying things out.”
For more advanced students, classes like Audition Intensive and Actors Showcase have often provided the invaluable opportunity to hone performance skills and get feedback from Hartford Stage directors and performers, including Associate Artistic Director Maxwell Williams and actors Kate Forbes (Hamlet, Macbeth) and Robert Hannon Davis (A Christmas Carol).
Adult Studio classes are a wonderful way for audience members to take their enjoyment of live theatre to the next level. By actively engaging in the art itself, they can build not only confidence, creative thinking and social skills, but also a greater appreciation and understanding for the performances they see right here on stage. And who knows? They might just end up in the spotlight themselves . . .