Two-Year Conservatory

Professional Theatre Workshop
Tuition: $24,000 per year
Hours: 6-8 Hours, Monday – Friday
Applicants must be at least 18, and hold a High School Diploma

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: TBA
Fall Term Begins: September 11th, 2023
Winter Break: TBA
Spring Term Begins: TBA
Spring Break: TBA
End of Term (2nd Year Class): April 26th, 2024
End of Term (1st Year Class): May 10th, 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.

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: Benita de Wit, Mark Barford, Katharine McLeod

SHAKESPEAREAN SCENE STUDY – A course devoted to intensive scene work focusing on specific Shakespearean plays. Scenes are studied, presented, critiqued, and re-presented leading to greater facility in the use of his language and the presentation of his characters and stories. The culmination of the class is a fully staged Shakespeare play as a final project in The Festival of Theater.
Instructor: Mark Barford, Mark Nelson

BROADENING THE CANON –  This class will introduce students to BIPOC playwrights that they may not be familiar with. Students will do research on the playwright, learn to discuss the plays with a critical, curious, and empathetic eye, and work monologues from the plays. The goal is that students who don’t necessarily fit the playwright’s racial, ethnic, or sexual (to name a few) identity realize that they can still support BIPOC playwrights and identify with the work they create.
Instructor: Kenneth Ray 

THE ACTORS INSTRUMENT (ACTING TECHNIQUE I & II) – A study of kinetic and sensory exercises used to develop the actor’s instrument. The actor will build concentration and range and vividness of expression. Intensive training in relaxation compounded with accessing the actor’s memory through instructed use of the senses will cultivate the actor’s ability to portray various roles and situations.
Instructor: Jacqueline Jacobus

ON-CAMERA TECHNIQUE: ACTING FOR FILM –This course provides actors an environment to familiarize themselves with the process of acting in front of the camera. Primary emphasis is placed on learning the technicalities of acting for the camera while delivering the subtlety and nuance required of film acting: including learning to adjust the performance for specific shot size, acting on a mark, maintaining eye line, finding the arc of the character, and learning to maintain the integrity of the script while shooting out of sequence. Students will participate in a scene shoot filmed and edited by the instructor.
Instructor: T.J. Mannix

BEYOND SHAKESPEARE – In depth examination of texts from Greece to now. For understanding scenic and character construction in varying styles and periods.An introduction to two of the giant lights of modern theater, Chekhov and Shaw, through text analysis, scene work, monologues, and background readings. For the first class, please read THE CHERRY ORCHARD in “The Plays of Anton Chekhov” translated by Paul Schmidt (Harper Collins paperback, available at the Drama Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, and online, new or used.) We’ll start by discussing your responses, and mining the text for Chekhov’s clues to actors. Then everyone will be assigned a scene in the play to rehearse for presentation over the next two weeks, followed by scenes from THREE SISTERS and UNCLE VANYA, and Shaw’s CANDIDA, MISALLIANCE and ARMS AND THE MAN.
Beginning with the basics of melodic and rhythmic notation, and advancing through intervals, chords, blues scales, and more, actors will learn all the skills necessary to teach themselves an unknown piece of music, communicate knowledgeably with music directors and accompanists, and interpret songs musically as well as dramatically. Course also includes weekly sight-singing, ear-training, and ensemble singing practice.
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 Joseph Baker

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 Dilly, Jean Paul and Natalie Wilson

MUSIC THEORY I and II – Offers basic instruction in the rules of music theory, starting with an understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and notation. The actor will take this knowledge and apply it to understanding their pieces. Actors will also participate in a sight-singing and ear-training component that will allow them to quickly analyze an unknown piece of music with reasonable accuracy, and allow musical and dramatic interpretation.
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


MASK – NEUTRAL – The utilization of neutral masks to develop freedom of expression in the actor. An emphasis is placed on exploring primal instinct and how it progresses to and is covered by modern behavior.
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 – Armed combat for the working actor. Emphasis is placed on the use of rhythm, musicality of movement, and intention to further develop story-telling in the actor. 
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, and Brad Lemons

STAGE COMBAT II – Armed combat for the working actor. Weapons studied include European short-sword, quarter-staff, and rapier and dagger. Emphasis is placed on the use of rhythm, musicality of movement, and intention to further develop story-telling in the actor.
Instructor: Dan Renkin, and Brad Lemons

SPEECH II – DIALECTS – A study of various dialects and accents of English. Work in Speech I is built upon and combined with dialectical research to create convincing and appropriate dialect and accent choices for a broad range of characters.
Instructor: Dianna Cortez 

VOICE I & II – LINKLATER – A course focused on removing physical and emotional blocks which inhibit the free and natural voice. Linklater technique is used to allow the actor to express the full spectrum of emotion, complexity of mood, and subtlety of thought used to portray a character.
Instructor: Dianna Cortez 

SPEECH I – A study of neutral American and Mid-Atlantic dialects. Actors learn the International Phonetic Alphabet and the various sounds used within English. Work in articulation and diction is taught to enhance clarity in the actor’s speech and to give the actor the option to neutralize regionalisms when necessary.
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)