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A Sample Week at SFS

The 15-week program features a 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 intensives 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 30 Grant Ave studios, A.C.T.'s Toni Rembe Theatre and A.C.T.'s Strand Theatre, with the exception of Cultural Landscapes, which meets at various performance locations on Wednesday evenings.

There is no academic credit offered for this program.


Acting Styles
(acting, audition technique, improvisation, text)

Physical Theater
(clowning, movement)

Voice, Verse, and Character
(voice, speech)

Cultural Landscapes/Arts Colloquy

(theatre and performing arts discussion)

Performance Making

(devised work, artistic style)




Fall 2022 - Fridays, hours vary

During the average week, a master class will be hosted by one of A.C.T.’s working artists and/or arts administrators, as well as special guest artists, to offer a workshop on a specialized technique or aspect of the theatre industry. Previous instructors have included previous MFA Faculty, Citizen Artistry instructors, members of A.C.T.’s artistic staff, and local Bay Area directors and actors. Some classes are tailored to the semester cohort’s needs for a more rounded training experience. Please find previous intensive faculty here.

Acting Styles 

Fall 2022 - 5 hours weekly, TBD

Instructors: Dee Dee Stephens (On-Camera), Mia Tagano (Theatre)

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 expert 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 people like Shakespeare to Suzan Lori Parks.  Additionally, students will explore on-camera acting as a “style” and experiment with techniques that differentiate screen from stage acting. This class meets five hours each week and outside of class for preparation. 

Physical Theater 

Fall 2022 - 4 hours weekly, TBD

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 four hours each week and outside of class for preparation. 

Voice, Verse, and Character

Fall 2022 - 4 hours weekly

Instructor: Dr. Michael Mohammed

A semiweekly performance-based course focused on individualized work on vocal development. The activities to be covered in any given class will be specified prior to each class session. Here is a list of possible topics, activities, and opportunities you may receive to enhance your knowledge and skills:

  • Vocal technique building with the goal of finding the individual voice through body alignment, breath, and vowels
  • Preparation and interpretation of spoken texts (poetry, song lyrics, monologues, etc.)
  • Diction and foreign language pronunciation skills where appropriate
  • Integrating movement with vocal gestures
  • Interpreting text

The vocal exercises and repertoire should be the foundation for your daily practice sessions. This class meets four hours every week.

Cultural Landscapes/Arts Colloquy 

Fall 2022 -  Fridays, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Wednesday evenings (hours vary)

Instructor: Dr. 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

Fall 2022 - Wednesdays, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and adding Mondays, 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. beginning mid-October

Instructor: Mark Jackson

Taught by renowned Bay Area director Mark Jackson (markjackson-theatermaker.com), 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. 


Fall 2023 - SFS Application Deadlines

Early bird (save $2500 on tuition) admission deadline:

April 14, 2023


For most serious consideration, apply by:

May 26, 2023


Final Deadline:

July 28, 2023


Registration and Orientation:

August 25, 2023


Classes Begin:

August 28, 2023


Fall Break:

November 20–26, 2023 


Classes End:

December 15, 2023


Visit our SFS FAQ page or email conservatory@act-sf.org.