Two-Year Conservatory

Professional Theatre Workshop
Tuition: $25,500 per year
Hours: 6-8 Hours, Monday – Friday

Applicants must be at least 18, and hold a High School Diploma at the start of their applied school year. 

Our 2 Year New York City Conservatory offers students a full-time professional training program. Exploring classes anywhere from Beyond Shakespeare to Ballet, Circle in the Square is a unique home for artists and strong actors who are ready to transition into the professional world. Offering both a 2 Year Acting Track, and 2 Year Musical Theatre Track. Both programs emphasize acting technique based in truthful storytelling, with a foundation in live theatre performance. We aim to support and educate our students, giving them the tools to become successful working actors and unique theatre artists with the ability to adapt to an ever-evolving industry.

Orientation: September 7th & 8th, 2023
Fall Term Begins: September 11th, 2023
Winter Break: December 17th 2023- January 7th, 2024
Spring Term Begins: January 8th, 2024
Spring Break: March 3rd- 10th, 2024
End of Term (2nd Year Class): June 1st, 2024
End of Term (1st Year Class): May 7th, 2024

Classes offered at for the 2 Year Professional Workshop at Circle in the Square Theatre School are broken down into 4 sections; ACTING, MUSICAL THEATRE, MOVEMENT, VOICE AND SPEECH.

1st Year CONTEMPORARY SCENE STUDY – This first year course aims to lay the foundation for an actor’s study of their craft as it relates to contemporary text. Actors will examine and explore a diverse range of contemporary plays and use scenes from them to build up a variety of tools and techniques necessary to the modern performer. Through preparing, rehearsing, performing and evaluating, actors will learn how to mine the text for given circumstances, objectives, action and events and use this work to create characters that undergo change.
Instructor: Mark Barford
2nd Year CONTEMPORARY SCENE STUDY – This course will focus on how different elements outside of the actor influence a scene and create context. Students will work on a range of contemporary scenes from plays written in the last 60 years. They will learn how to rehearse and stage a scene, listen and respond to other actors, effectively use space and objects to tell a story and draw from a variety of practitioners including Uta Hagen, Declan Donnellan and Anne Bogart. Students will learn about the landscape of new playwriting and explore Viewpoints training to develop their awareness and responsiveness as actors.
Instructor: Benita de Wit

ACTING THE MONOLOGUE – This course focuses on applying text analysis, physical embodiment, and voice work to monologue performance. Actors will develop tools for selecting material, explore solo rehearsal techniques, and begin building a monologue book for auditions. The class is offered in three 9-week units, each with a different teacher and a different focus: Contemporary Monologues, Classical Monologues, and Audition Technique.
Instructors: Katharine McLeod, Kevin VavasseurGalia Backal

1st Year SHAKESPEAREAN SCENE STUDY – This course is built to demystify Shakespeare and connect you to the detailed, vibrant life in his characters. We’ll approach these texts as invitations to act. Understanding the language so you can speak it clearly, with intention. Learning how the music of the iambic (five-beat) verse line can support your thoughts on stage. Digging deep into the human beauty of the stories. Finding your stake in the character’s life.
Instructor: Mark Nelson
2nd Year SHAKESPEAREAN SCENE STUDY – This second year course is devoted to intensive scene work focusing on a selection of Shakespeare’s plays. Building on tools and techniques developed in the first year, Actors will examine and explore Shakespearean scenes in depth. These scenes will be researched, rehearsed, performed and evaluated, giving students the opportunity to develop greater facility with acting Shakespeare.
Instructor: Mark Barford

BROADENING THE CANON – In this course, we will explore BIPOC playwrights, both American and international. We will read/study the plays to identify the “spine” of the script. We’ll look at what the writer is saying and explore how we‘re receiving itbroadening our capacity to recognize/embrace the humanity at the core of human experiences that may differ from our own.
Instructor: Kevin Vavasseur

THE ACTORS INSTRUMENT ACTING TECHNIQUE I & IIThis class is designed as a 2 year course, which allows the actor to begin to source at a unique and authentic level the true and full expression of their actor’s instrument as it can be applied to our work with plays and screenplays. During the 1st year, we focus on cultivating and exploring the actor’s instrument using sensory awareness exercises, building a tool box with which each actor can draw upon as needed when creating character. During the second year of class, we move forward into developing and exploring processes and tools for creating character as needed in the texts we encounter. Using all of the tools developed during your first year, we move ahead with projects that include, animal work, private moments, the painting exercise, while always mindful that our work must  resonate and be transportable into the collaboration with the playwright or screenwriter. Our class uses the safety and protocols of intimacy work, so that all participants feel they are safe, held up high, and that they belong.
Instructor: Jacqueline Jacobus

ON-CAMERA TECHNIQUE:  (ACTING FOR FILM WORKSHOP I & II) – This course will focus on the actors’ development and transition from stage to screen.  They will be immersed in the elements of filmmaking, gaining experience both behind and in front of the camera.  Throughout the course, actors will work on scenes utilizing the techniques learned in the first year or training, and applying it to on-camera work. Actors will learn to adjust their performances for the camera and for the size of the shot/frame, developing an understanding of the importance of continuity, eye lines, inner monologue, set terminology and etiquette, maintaining the integrity of the script when shooting out of sequence, and working toward delivering consistent and focused performances when performing multiple takes.
Instructor: T.J. Mannix

BEYOND SHAKESPEARE. An introduction to some of the playwrights who shaped the modern theater and the craft of acting, from the late 19th through the mid-20th Century. Using scene study and research, the class is offered in three 9-week units, each with a different teacher and a different focus. Over the course of your two years at Circle, we’ll explore works by Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, William Inge, Susan Glaspell, Alice Childress and more.
Instructors: Katharine McLeod, Galia Backal and Mark Nelson

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE – A basic approach to the actor’s awareness of the body as an “instrument,” as prescribed by the specific training method set down by the Alexander Institute.
Instructor: Matt Cahill

SINGING INTERPRETATION – Approaching song as an acting piece. Actors work on songs first as monologues and then focus on song structure as a tool for interpretation of musical pieces. Special attention is also paid to using physical techniques to achieve a truthful performance. 
Instructor: Sara Louise Lazarus with assistance from Musical Director Joseph Baker

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE – Applying all the techniques learned in Singing Interpretation, this second year musical theatre course focuses on audition preparation and polishing a performance. Emphasis is placed on building an audition song book that serves each individual actor.
Instructor: Sara Louise Lazarus with assistance from Musical Director Joseph Baker

MUSICAL THEATRE SCENE STUDY Students will explore scenes from the musical theatre canon. Building on the fundamentals of year one, this class focuses on cultivating each actor’s unique process through partner-based work and synthesis of song and spoken text. This class will cover a variety of styles and stories to stretch and challenge each student’s abilities while also strengthening their sense of self.
Instructor: Billy Bustamante with assistance from Musical Director Violet Wang

SINGING TECHNIQUE – An approach to free and healthy singing for the actor. Actors will stretch their range and learn various vocal skills to create their own unique singing voice. Through different exercises and study of anatomy as it relates to vocal production, the actor will develop a healthy singing voice appropriate for all forms of theatre and the knowledge base to create their own training regimen.
Instructors:  Shan Y. Chuang, Alvin Crawford, Chris Dilley, Jean Paul Bjorlin and Natalie Wilson

MUSIC THEORY I and II – The goal of this two year course is to bring all students – regardless of prior music theory knowledge – to a place where they can use sheet music with confidence and skill, and understand how the music helps tell the story. Year I focus on the basics of rhythm, notation, key signatures, and intervals. Year 2 delves into minor keys, 7th chords, transposition, and blues scales. Each session includes sight-singing and ear-training exercises, and real-world examples from songs in the musical theater repertoire.
Instructor: Natalie Wilson

DANCE FOR ACTORS – A study of primarily basic jazz movement patterns with surveys in other dance styles such as lyrical and partner dancing. The class features extended stretching for improved flexibility, focused technique work, and combination work to develop intuition in perceiving dance forms. Actors will also participate in 3–4 mock auditions per year that serve as preparation for their time outside of Circle. The class will enhance understanding of rhythmic movement which will allow the actor to succeed in stage characterization.
Instructor: Connor Coughlin,Joshua Spencer,Nathan FisterShan Y. Chuang

BALLET I & II – An opportunity to explore a unique form of expression.  Students will learn the progression of a standard ballet class, with an emphasis on proper technique and alignment, coordination, strengthening, stretching, balance, and musicality.  Students will learn to direct their body and explore outside of their habitual movement patterns.  Ballet class is a safe space to hone your approach to challenges and broaden physical expression.
Instructors: Connor Coughlin and Hannah Jew


MASK – NEUTRAL – The mask is an ancient transformation tool. From primordial rituals and the literal beginnings of theater through Commedia dell’arte to clown noses and even stage make-up, masks have aided performers to find truth through their bodies. The Neutral Mask is a full-face mask. Therefore, in this class we learn what the body has to say when facial expressions or the voice can no longer cover it up. This class helps the young actor to discover how to use their body and breath as storytelling tools, which will in turn feed their performance once they are free of these bounds. Some of the experiences that guide students through this journey are coming in contact with the senses, activating the mythic imagination, discovering the thermometers of the body, working on the specificity of breath, a journey through the stages of human, and an exploration of climactic moments in eternal stories.
Instructor: Chris Browne

MASK – CHARACTER – The utilization of character masks to further explore physical movement and expression in the actor. Eventual inclusion of text is used to facilitate freedom of expression with and without the mask.
Instructor: Patrick Horn

CLOWN/COMEDY/IMPROV – Students will explore the beautiful chaos and passionate simplicity of the archetypal clown character, looking deep inside to find their own individual trickster. Through an immersive ensemble based approach that embraces silliness and hilarity through play, students will analyze status, comedic techniques and comic timing in order to fully embody the clown and buffoon. In the second semester, students will investigate physical and vocal improvisation, character work and the development performance routines.
Instructor: Nancy Smithner, Ph.D.

STAGE COMBAT I – Basic tumbling and unarmed combat for the working actor. Confidence and the perception of the actor’s self-image are strengthened through various physical exercises. Emphasis is placed on creating convincing images and a routine that can be repeated to create believable scenes that tell a story.
Instructor: Dan Renkin

STAGE COMBAT II – In Stage Combat 2, students build upon the concepts and foundations of stage combat laid in the first year and incorporate weapons. Students will learn the basic technique of theatrical fighting with weapons and be able to fight with any weapon necessary at the end of the year. Other areas covered include rhythm, timing, objectivity, and notation. Weapons worked with include quarterstaff, rapier & dagger, court sword, sabre, cutlass, katana, and possibly lightsaber.
Instructor: Brad Lemons

VOICE, SPEECH AND DIALECTS I – Voice, Diction, and Dialects will continue with Linklater Voice and grow seamlessly into Louis Colaianni Speechwork with Phonetic Pillows focusing on–Vocal Identity and Familial Dialects. Students will develop an experiential knowledge of IPA as these sounds are formed in the mouth and move through your body. The feeling of vowels and the active play of consonants will note meaning in the text. Students will expand on their own sounds and strengthen their Diction for working in an American theatre.
Instructor: Dianna Cortez 

VOICE, SPEECH AND DIALECTS II – Voice, Diction, and Dialects II will continue to explore various Dialects using verbatim theatre techniques as found in Anna Devere Smith’s work, and utilizing Linklater Voice and Colaianni Speech and phonetic pillows as they learned in Voice, Diction, and Dialects I. Students will also use class time to deepen their Individual Voice, Diction, and Dialect needs to prepare for their professional showcase and launch them into the profession of acting. 
Instructor: Dianna Cortez

SEMINAR– In order to expose the students to members of the professional theatre world, and thus to the practical application of their craft, a series of informal guest seminars is scheduled with playwrights, directors and actors, as well as other members of the theatre profession and its related fields, who are contributing to the vitality of today’s theatre and its creative processes.
Instructor: Guest Lecturers; View Seminar Series

Connor Coughlin (Michael)

Cait Kelly (Maggie) and Connor Coughlin (Michael)