A Sample Week at SFS

The 15-week program features a 17-credit core curriculum, which includes coursework in acting styles, physical theater, voice/dialects, cultural landscapes, and creating original work. The curriculum will be enhanced by numerous master classes by visiting artists, as well as meetings with professional directors, playwrights, designers, stage managers, and producers.  

Unless otherwise noted, all classes meet at A.C.T.'s Offices and Studios (30 Grant Avenue, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108), with the exception of Cultural Landscapes, which meets at various performance locations on Wednesday evenings.


Acting Styles

ACT 406 - 4 credits
Tuesday/Thursday, 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.

Instructors: Julie Douglas, David Keith

Students will explore the essential tenets of acting in various contexts, with particular emphasis on A) the reinforcement of universally applicable techniques, B) strategies for adapting performances to meet the demands of different material, and C) the relationship between form and content. Scenes and monologues for the class will be chosen from works by master playwrights that allow for the exploration of different acting styles as required by the text and suggested by the time period in which the plays were written.  Possible playwrights include Shakespeare, Molière, Wilde, and Shaw.  Additionally, students will explore on-camera acting as a “style” and experiment with techniques that differentiate screen from stage acting. This class meets four hours each week and outside of class for preparation.


Physical Theater

ACT 414 - 3 credits
Every Tuesday/Thursday, 2:30–4 p.m.

Instructor: Patrick Russell

Using the expressive body as the main vehicle of communication, students will delve into the many dimensions of play. Exploring such themes as heightened play (e.g. commedia and clown), playing with a partner, playing with and for the audience, and the play of rhythm and timing, the work in this course is designed to increase an actor’s capacity to live in the moment: spontaneously and ferociously. This class meets three hours each week and outside of class for preparation.


Voice, Verse, and Character

ACT 424 - 3 credits
Every Tuesday/Thursday, 10–11:30 a.m.

Instructor: Jessica Berman

This class will focus on the connection between voice, text, character and argument. Through experiential exercises and techniques, students will free, develop and strengthen their voices, explore heightened text with focus given to the art of rhetoric and the acting clues available in the structure of the verse, and learn to use dialect as an extension of character. Class meets three hours each week and outside of class for preparation.


Cultural Landscapes/Arts Colloquy

ACT 434 - 3 credits

Fall 2018:
Every Friday, 1–2:30 p.m.
Every Wednesday, 7–10 p.m. (approximate, based on show times, some museum events 3–5 p.m.)  

Instructor: Jack Sharrar

Students attend A.C.T.’s professional season, selected conservatory performances, as well as outings to other Bay Area theaters, concerts, dance performances, and museums each week as a basis for exploration into period and culture, play analysis, and stylistic development. Students will write essays based on their experiences. This class meets an equivalent of 45 hours (including attendance at performances, class meetings, and discussions with artists). Students will write two 1,500-word essays selected from topics—related to the cultural, historical, and aesthetic world of the events they attend—and one 3,000-word research paper on the development and significance of one of the artists and his or her works.


Performance Making

ACT 454 – 4 credits

Fall 2018:

Beginning September 5, every Wednesday, 12–4 p.m. for the full term

Beginning November 5, every Monday & Wednesday, noon–4 p.m.

Instructor: Mark Jackson

Taught by renowned Bay Area director Mark Jackson (, this course offers students the opportunity to collaborate with a celebrated local artist to develop practical skills for devising original work. Students will also develop an understanding of the global context of devised work and how it is practiced, including the study of companies that practice performance making on the national and international level. The class culminates in a full performance project that also draws on skills taught elsewhere in the curriculum and may combine movement, text, and music, depending on the particular talents of the ensemble. This class meets four hours each week and outside of class for preparation.


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