Acting Studio introduces you to a pre-professional theater intensive and reflects the training in the Emerson BFA Acting program. This five-week program, which qualifies for four college credits, offers an introduction to acting training. Classes are taught exclusively by Emerson's acting faculty, with additional specialty master classes offered by local professionals. Online classes will be offered both synchronous (Zoom or Google Hangouts) and asynchronous (content review, discussion board, virtual tours, etc.) formats. 

Acting Studio is offered as a noncredit or credit program.

Acting and Auditioning

This intensive acting class will introduce students to the foundational skills of how to be truthful, honest, observant actors who are able to “live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” Through work on scenes, monologues, and improvisations, students will learn to work fully from their impulses and instincts, will begin to learn the art of LISTENING (and reacting), and will learn to stay out of their heads and get into their gut. As its basis, this class will focus on emotional realism, with a significant emphasis on truthfulness in performance. Students will be asked to apply that core truthfulness to a variety of contexts that the contemporary working actor contends with. Emphasis will be on scenes, monologues, and various audition techniques-- including self-tapes, cold reads, college admission auditions, and auditioning for film/television. At completion of this class, students will have a new monologue in their repertoire, and will have learned professional preparedness in terms of headshots, resumes, reels, and the different kinds of self-tapes actors now need to know how to make.   


Shakespeare’s plays have urgency and connection to our contemporary lives. This course is an immersive acting class exploring emotion, action, and physicality through Shakespeare’s language. Through monologues and scene work, as well as writing exercises, games, and supplementary video and reading, we will discover acting clues in meter, phrasing, onomatopoeia, antithesis, status, verse v. prose and more—all practical tools to arm the actor in approaching this sometimes, intimidating material. Students will have the opportunity to bring themselves to and find themselves in these wonderfully human and complex characters, and experience the power, beauty, and nowness of these 400-year-old texts. 

Improv for Actors 

This class is designed to explore the essential pillars of acting through dramatic improvised play.  At the heart of the course are the same principals of all good acting—behaving truthfully in imagined given circumstances, being fully alive in the breath, physicality, and being emotionally available, vulnerable and responsive to the present moment. Special attention will be paid to character and storytelling, exploring how improv techniques can be used in scene study with written text. Students will also apply these skills to cold reads and creating original content.

Warm Up and Voice and Text

This class will teach actors the fundamental pillars of connecting to and freeing their body and voice as is requisite for today’s creative performing artist. Using the Linklater Voice Method, this course roots the actor’s work in the experience of breath, voice, body, and language, with the eventual goal of establishing truthful expression through an unrestricted body and free voice that is open to impulse and imagination. Students will be introduced to the Linklater Voice Progression and will learn ways to vocally warm up. Students will also engage with sound and movement exercises and generate material using journaling and self-scripting in order to begin communicating fully and opening up all the channels for listening and responding.

Play Reading Salon 

In this weekly evening gathering, students will read a play (or screenplay!) out loud as an ensemble, and then dig into examining and discussing the script from a multitude of angles. Plays will be from different genres with a focus on new and relevant material from the last ten years. Discussions will look at subtext, genre, character arc, and relationship, with a particular focus on the challenges actors will face as they work within different genres of playwriting and/or film.  

Friday Night Fete 

In this weekly social gathering, students will let loose and build ensemble and community while they’re at it. Potential Fetes might include events like a dance party night, a talent show night, or an original guerilla theatre/filmmaking night. 

Acting Studio is offered as a noncredit or credit program. 

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Program Dates and Costs


  • July 5–August 8, 2020 (including required orientation)
  • Virtual Acting Studio Presentation: August 8, 2020

Costs per student:

  • Acting Studio Non-credit Tuition: $4,701
  • Acting Studio Credit Tuition: $5,500
  • Non-refundable program application fee: $60

Please note: A non-refundable $500 deposit is required upon a student's acceptance of admission into the program. The deposit is to hold the student's seat in the program, and the amount will be applied towards payment of the total bill for the program. If the student later decides they will not attend the program, the $500 deposit is not refundable. 

Pre-college programs are not eligible for Emerson college's tuition benefits.

Learning Outcomes

As a student in the Acting Studio program you will:

  • Develop listening skills, personal presence, and an attentive sense of play
  • Integrate the tools of the actor into your work on a contemporary, culturally diverse canon of plays
  • Learn how to identify and evaluate potential audition material
  • Develop skills necessary for effective auditioning and interviewing for college theater programs


Acting Studio classes meet on the following schedule for 5 weeks:

  • Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm and 7:00 – 9:00 pm (field trips, theatre lab, other activities as scheduled), with a break period provided from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm for dinner.
  • Saturday mornings for master classes

Acting Studio Presentation

The Studio culminates in a presentation of work for friends, family, faculty, and peers. The Acting Studio presentation is scheduled for Saturday, August 7, 2020.

Emerson College reserves the right to change any provision of this program at any time. The College specifically reserves the right to change its tuition rates and any other financial charges. The College also reserves the right to rearrange its courses and class hours, to drop courses for which registration falls below the minimum enrollment, and to change instructor assignments.

Application Guidelines

Who Should Apply

Students entering grades 11, and 12 during the 2020–2021 academic year and who are between the ages of 16 and 18 as of July 6, 2020 and who have the desire and maturity to receive constructive criticism about their work and give helpful feedback to others during the program are encouraged to apply.

Application Materials

Each candidate for the Acting Studio Program must submit the required online application, a non-refundable $60 application fee, and the following documents:

  • Electronic audition submission. Please read the electronic audition submission requirements below.
  • Student Statement of Purpose: In one or two pages, please describe:
    • what you hope to achieve during the Pre-College Program
    • an event you feel has prepared you for Emerson's Pre-College experience.
  • Essay: In one or two thoughtful pages, please describe both your strengths and weaknesses as an actor and a creative person. Then, what do you imagine yourself learning and exploring in the Acting studio, and what do you hope to have discovered by the end of the program?
  • Teacher Recommendation: Please submit at least one recommendation, completed by a teacher who knows your work. If possible, the teacher should know your work in the field to which you are applying.
  • Headshot: If you do not have a headshot, a high-quality photo of your head and shoulders is acceptable
  • Resume of your theatrical experience.

​Applicants to the Acting Studio Credit Option must also submit:

  • Transcript: Official secondary school transcripts
  • Official Test Scores: PSAT, SAT or ACT score

International Student Applicants

Visit international student information to learn about additional required application materials and find out more about applying to pre-college programs.

Application Deadlines

  • Priority Deadline: February 1, 2020.
  • International Student Deadline: April 3, 2020. 
  • We will accept applications through May 15, 2020. 

Admission to Emerson College's Arts and Communication Pre-College Programs is on a rolling basis. We suggest applying early, as space is limited. Admission decisions are made frequently.

Electronic Audition Submission Requirements

All applicants to the Acting Studio program must submit an electronic audition via YouTube or Vimeo. Please include the URL (webpage address) to your audition in your application, and strictly adhere to the following requirements:

  • Do submit an audition consisting of two 1-3 minute, contrasting monologues from two contemporary plays (1950– present), one of which must be comedic
  • Do select monologues that are age-appropriate
  • Do make sure the sound quality and lighting are good and the shot is at least from the waist up
  • Do state your name, hometown, high school, class standing and title of the selection into the camera
  • Do remember, in any audition situation, always try to show what you CAN do, not what you CAN'T do
  • Do Not be concerned with "acting" your material; those evaluating you are far more interested in seeing who YOU are. Choose material that speaks to you and shows us something about yourself.
  • DO NOT use video from plays or productions in which you performed
  • DO NOT forget to send us the link to your audition

For questions, please contact: