American Conservatory Theater to Kick Off 'The San Francisco Semester', Sept 2014
American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Conservatory Director Melissa Smith announced today that A.C.T.'s Tony Award-winning theater and training institution has launched The San Francisco Semester, an all-new study away program bringing undergraduate students from across the country into an active, ongoing engagement with the eclectic and energetic arts community of San Francisco and the Bay Area. With a focus on the practical aspects of the craft of acting and life in the professional theater, the 15-week program features a 17-credit core curriculum enhancing students' undergraduate study with rigorous, upper-level classes in acting styles, voice/dialects, physical theater, and devised (student-created) work. A.C.T. joins the ranks of such other distinguished study away programs as La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and the National Theater Institute. The inaugural San Francisco Semester begins September 2014. For additional information, visit act-sf.org/sfsemester.
Says Smith: "The San Francisco Semester builds on and enhances A.C.T.'s other renowned Conservatory Programs - the Young Conservatory, Summer Training Congress, Studio A.C.T. and Master of Fine Arts. In fact, as we planned this new course of study, we sought ideas from students and faculty in those programs, and their excitement at the prospect of this new offering, and willingness to spread the word about it, has fueled our enthusiasm for expanding the student presence at A.C.T. Student actors - age 8 to 80 - have long infused A.C.T.'s atmosphere with a unique vitality - their passion, energy and curiosity are infectious and inspire the professional artists here to take creative risks in their work. Undergraduates who come to A.C.T. for The San Francisco Semester will find they have landed in a vibrant, multigenerational artistic community where people of all backgrounds work alongside one another to make magical theater. When San Francisco Semester students return to their home colleges, they will have gained a deep, experiential knowledge of what it means to be a professional theater artist, while living in San Francisco, a city known for its extraordinary creative capital. We believe their time here will be truly life changing!"
Surrounded by other theater students from around the country, students of The San Francisco Semester will deepen and expand their understanding of theater as they define themselves as artists. In the classroom and at performances across the San Francisco Bay Area, students will explore theater from a multitude of angles-from the page to the stage, as viewer and performer, and across a variety of artistic genres.
Through inspiring, experiential courses and wide-ranging artistic encounters, The San Francisco Semester pulls students into thrilling conversations about theater as an ever-evolving art form. As part of the program, students will collaborate with some of the top artists in the industry, invigorate their imagination and creativity, and experience stirring, unforgettable performances. From A.C.T.'s 1,000-seat Geary Theater to Davies Symphony Hall to intimate downtown spaces, students will come face-to-face with some of the boldest productions in the country and witness performances by some of the country's most eclectic range of artists. In addition, students will participate in master classes with A.C.T. faculty, A.C.T. artistic associates, and guest artists on specialized aspects of theater.
The San Francisco Semester curriculum includes:
ACT 404 - 4 credits
In this class, students explore the essential tenets of acting in various contexts. Particular emphasis will be given to 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 authors include Shakespeare, Moliere, Wilde, and Shaw. Additionally, students will explore on camera acting as a "style" and experiment with techniques that differentiate screen from stage acting.
ACT 414 - 3 credits
Using the expressive body as the main vehicle of communication, students will delve into the many dimensions of play. Heightened play (e.g.commedia, clown), playing with a partner, playing with and for the audience, and the play of rhythm and timing are some of the themes that will be explored. The work is designed to increase an actors' capacity to live in the moment: spontaneously and ferociously. This class meets three hours each week and outside of class for preparation.