Explore professional, conservatory-style training in acting!
This four-week precollege program offers a concentrated summer training experience in the craft of acting, taught by experienced professionals. The hands-on, conservatory-style curriculum gives students a chance to learn acting techniques used in modern theatre, television, and film. The actors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in contemporary scene work, monologues, and improvisational theatre exercises that develop the crucial skills of building characters, heightening self-awareness, and exploring a wide emotional range.
- Students discover not only how to express themselves individually but also how to work as an ensemble, gaining valuable leadership skills and learning mutual respect while having fun and making friends. This program offers the opportunity to work with professional theatre artists who are devoted to nurturing the next generation of actors.
- Guest artists from the field—including casting directors teaching on-camera technique, directors, stage fighters, and actors—teach master classes weekly.
- Additional training includes audition technique (focusing on the college audition), improvisation, voice, movement, and relaxation techniques.
- The training culminates in a fully staged performance of contemporary scenes, monologues, and improv theatre games, giving students an opportunity to share their work with family and friends.
Acting Intensive made it into Backstage Magazine’s Top “15 Amazing Pre-College Summer Theater Programs”!
“Head to the hills an hour outside of New York City for this four-week, conservatory-style program aimed at grades 9–12. Students study Stanislavski technique, improv, script analysis, and more as part of SUNY Purchase’s immersive training, and practice audition technique in preparation for BFA admissions. Other precollege programs for theatre-loving high schoolers? Try the… Songwriting Workshop, or the Vocal Intensive.”
The entire group warms-up each day with both instructors. This session includes physical warm-ups with movement, improv exercises, vocal exercises, and focused meditation.
Break-Out Morning Sessions:
In two smaller groups, students rotate between the two instructors in two different spaces for improvisation classes and rehearsing scenes and monologues. The emphasis in scene class is on developing strong acting technique, script analysis, building a character, clarity of intention, and fluid physical/vocal expression. In improv, students work on making creative choices and reacting to one another in natural and compelling ways. (There is a short snack break in between the group rotation.)
Lunch: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Break-Out Afternoon Sessions:
Each group rotates with the same group until dismissal at 3:30pm, continuing rehearsal of scenes and monologues, and improvisational exercises and forms.
The groups change from week to week as the work progresses, and scene partners change as well so that all actors get an opportunity to collaborate with a variety of partners.
Master Classes are a highlight and bonus of the program, where the students get the chance to work with professional visiting guest artists. These include learning audition technique for on-camera work, introduction to stage combat, and a creative movement workshop that encourages expressive exploration onstage with music.
During the 4-week intensive, students will be assigned a series of contemporary monologues (first week), and 2 two-character scenes (2nd and 3rd weeks) that are age appropriate and feature them in roles that are both challenging and rewarding, from a balance of contemporary, American classic and Classical material. The company also works with improvisational theatre forms that have been rehearsed and will be performed. The final scenes are selected by the staff from those that have already been rehearsed and based on the strength of their work prior to the last week.
The focus then shifts to preparation and rehearsal for the performance on the Purchase stage. This performance is done “off-book” without sets, sound, costumes or light cues, emphasizing the process and the work of the students, and on their creativity and skills attained throughout the program. Students will leave with a confident sense of themselves, and a solid technique and approach to future work.
*schedule subject to change
Four (4) Weeks: July 1–July 26
Monday–Friday, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
$2,100 for the first registration
$1,890 for the second registration in the family, Purchase College employees and alumni, and early registrations (received by May 10, 2019)
For a well-rounded summer, combine with Acting on Camera Boot Camp, Musical Theatre Boot Camp, Web App Creator and Python Programmer, and/or Creative Writing Workshop. Discount for enrolling in multiple programs.
Interested in Undergraduate Theatre Programs at Purchase College?
Check out the acting BFA program (recently chosen as a top 25 Acting College by Backstage), the theatre and performance BA program, and the theatre design/technology BFA program in the Conservatory of Theatre Arts.
About the Instructors:
Denise Bessette (lead instructor) returns for her sixth summer in the Youth and Precollege Programs in the Arts acting programs. She is a co-founder and artistic producer of Hudson Stage Company and has co-produced all of its mainstage productions and staged reading series. Her TV and film work includes Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, Seinfeld, and LA Law. She is a lecturer in the college’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts and teaches throughout Westchester County.
Linda Gelman (instructor) is a producer and founding performer in Chicago City Limits. In addition to being an improviser, she has performed as an actress, singer, and dancer in plays, musicals, cabaret shows, and on TV. She has taught improvisation for many years to adults and children at Chicago City Limits and at schools, colleges, and arts institutions. In addition, she teaches corporate teambuilding, creativity, and public speaking to business clients.
Master Class Instructors
Jill Echo is a professional modern dancer presently teaching Movement for the Purchase College Acting BFA program. She conducts master classes in technique, repertory, improvisation, partnering, choreography/composition and movement – skills essential to the actor. Jill was also founding member of Taylor 2, a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company and is the Associate Director of TAKE Dance. She holds a BFA and MFA in Dance from Purchase College.
Jared Kirby has been involved in Combat for Screen & Stage and Western Martial Arts for nearly 25 years, has choreographed fights Off-Broadway, nationally, in London and Sydney, and is a member of Actor’s Equity and SAG/AFTRA. Jared teaches fencing at SUNY Purchase, Sarah Lawrence College, and is a Master of Arms (Maestro d’Armi) through the Martinez Academy of Arms.
Denise Simon has coached hundreds of young adults, privately and on-set, who appear regularly on Broadway, TV and film. A veteran of the industry, she has worked as a casting director and personal talent manager, writes weekly as an expert columnist to Backstage.com, and is a member of the NY SAG AFTRA Young Performers Committee. She works with high school students on their college auditions and guides them through the performing arts college admission process. denisesimoncoaching.com