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Words, Words, Words... and other Acting Workshops!

Santa Cruz county is home to many gifted theater artists, and many of them are great teachers too! Actors' Theatre is tapping their wisdom to nurture both new and experienced actors, directors, technicians and other theater lovers with our series of workshops. Learn more about all the upcoming workshops and sign up on the Workshops page on the Actors' Theatre website.


Our first offering, Directing for Actors with Bill Peters, earned rave reviews from participants.

What a total privilege to be able to take a six-week directing class with Bill Peters. Every minute listening to Peters talk about his lifetime experience in theater was totally enthralling. He is a magnificent story teller sharing his insights into performances on both screen and stage. It was utterly fascinating to watch Bill dissect a performance, pulling it apart, thread by thread, to show how there is no right or wrong way to say something, only a way unique to that director. My personal take-away is just how much can be said by saying nothing. An entire scene can, in fact, happen with no speech whatsoever and yet be fully understood by the audience. A memorable six weeks. Thank you, Bill! --Sally Bookman
A cartoon image of William Shakespeare
Image by Freepik

If you missed it, don't worry. There's more Bill Peters magic coming soon with Words, Words, Words: A Workshop in Performing Shakespeare. This 8-week workshop begins on Monday, May 29, and is designed to help actors and directors master the intricacies of Shakespearian text. Over the course of 8 sessions, Bill will guide you in exploring the nature of Shakespeare’s theatrical imagination, and the linguistic tools he used to create his themes, plots and characters. The work will consist of studying and performing various monologues and scenes from his collected works. This workshop will also serve to enhance the participants' responses to other styles of playwriting. No prior Shakespeare experience is required, and people who are Shakespeare-phobic are particularly welcome.


Part detective, part explorer, part director only begins to describe Bill's approach to directing a stage play. He has a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about the theatre which he gladly shares with his students. Everyone I know who knows Bill and his work, and I do mean everyone--no exaggeration--speaks highly of his directing abilities and treatment of actors. He's a treasure to the craft and to our community. I highly recommend taking a class from him. --Steve Capasso
close-up photos of acting instructors
Bruce Avery & Lana Palmer

Local actors are in for a treat with a weekend intensive workshop on June 24 and 25 with guest instructors Bruce Avery and Lana Palmer that explores two different acting approaches: the Michael Chekhov Method and the Meisner Technique. The paradox of acting well is "how does one tell the truth by lying?" This workshop addresses that question, starting on day 1 with a crash course in Meisner techniques that helps actors learn to avoid self-consciousness and respond honestly to each moment as it occurs. Day 2 introduces the methods of Michael Chekhov, whom Konstantin Stanislavski declared his most brilliant student. Chekhov’s ideas help actors respond to the moment authentically while embodying a character. Actors of all levels and experience are invited to attend.

close-up photo of improv instructor
Maurissa Afanador

Then, beginning July 24, improv master Maurissa Afanador, who recently relocated to Santa Cruz, offers a 6-week Improv 101 course, designed for beginners. Through scene work and group games that focus on trust, active listening and play, students will learn the building blocks of improvisation in this introductory class. Topics covered: "Yes, and...", scene work fundamentals, being comfortable on stage, and working together.


Feel free to get in touch with any questions about the workshops, or to send us your suggestions of topics you'd like to see in the future.


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