On Stage

That's Your Cue!

Local acting classes introduce fledgling performers to the world of live theater

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There’s a reason theater is one of the oldest art forms in human history. It’s simple. It’s immediate. All you need is someone telling a story and someone else to see it. Shakespeare wasn’t kidding when he said that all the world’s a stage – and a little instruction in acting can bolster confidence, improve public speaking skills, and enrich emotional intelligence. Sure, there’s a good bunch of theater camps for kids, but Ocean State adults also have many opportunities to show off their acting chops. Has the theater bug bitten? Here’s your chance to study with professionals and try new personas.

There aren’t a lot of places in Rhode Island where you can study “swordplay,” but under the guidance of Michael Liebhauser, dueling is a very serious pursuit. The Gamm Theatre is one of the most respected theaters in the state, and it doubles as a performance school for adults. Here, you can rehearse Shakespearean scenes with Fred Sullivan, Jr., prepare for cold readings with Steve Kidd, and write your own 10-minute play with Dave Rabinow (which, believe me, is harder and more rewarding than it sounds). These four-to-six-week sessions introduce novices to the world of stage performance and help seasoned actors hone their skills. 

With a name like “The Playful Actor,” you know you’re going to have fun. But this workshop is more than just goofing around: Instructor Mycah Hogan studied acting in New York and has performed broadly. Hogan uses “joy-based games” to motivate actors, help them take risks, and find aspects of their voice and physicality that they never fully appreciated. Once you’ve broken the theatrical ice, try “The Mindful Actor” with the Wilbury’s resident artist Jennifer Mischley, who helps actors use imagination and instinct to shape performance and overcome doubt. While these classes have already begun, they are all “drop-in” and “pay what you can.” 

You know you’re in safe hands when the class is called “Acting for Non-Actors.” The whole purpose of Jordan Butterfield’s workshop is to help regular people take their first steps into the limelight. These sessions build self-confidence, personal awareness, and relationships with other people on stage. In the theater world, Trinity has a global reputation, and we’re lucky to have such a hallowed institution in our midst. If you already have a few performances under your belt, you may take an Advanced Scene Study course, and very serious students can apply for the recurring Master Class series. Although Trinity attracts some of the most talented stage actors in the country, rest assured that all are welcome.

Memorizing scripts and developing your “sense memory” is a challenge for anyone; now try acting without a script. Improvisation is a vital skill, and Wage House has become a nexus for improv comedy training. In fact, it was three years ago this month that Kate Teichman and Casey Calderiso opened their black box theater in Pawtucket, and countless students have learned spontaneous performance ever since. Learn the fundamentals at Improv Basics, then work your way through the curriculum until you’re ready for – Solo Comedic Performance! Not sure what you’re getting into? Rollicking Wage House improv shows take place regularly, and keep an eye out for its three-year anniversary party. 

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