The Continuing Teacher Development Program will serve as an in depth look at some of the most important facets of teaching acting. As all aspects of the acting teacher’s toolkit are being reexamined, this TDP will bring clarity and specificity to this appraisal.

For the first time in the history of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers, we are pleased to announce a Continuing Teacher Development Program. Designed to build on the training of past TDPs and Alliance workshops, this one-of-a-kind program offers participants the opportunity to refine their voice as a teaching artist, elevate their practice, and reconnect with their passion for the craft of acting.

This exciting new program is designed specifically for TDP alums and current Alliance members who wish to continue the exploration of performance pedagogy with other dedicated colleagues. The 11-day workshop is devoted to a deep dive into our craft with a world class cadre of acting teachers, providing quality time and space to experience and examine essential elements in the art of teaching the art of acting.

Continuing Teacher Development Program

Continuing Teacher
Development Program


June 14 – 25, 2021


2021 CTDP provisional faculty:
Crystal Dickinson and Brandon J Dirden,
Expanding the Acting Class Experience:
Fostering A More Inclusive & Diverse Learning Environment
Slava Dolgachev, Active Analysis and Scene Rehearsal
Kenneth Noel Mitchell, Beyond Pedagogy
Ron Van Lieu, Performance Pedagogy Seminar


Crystal Dickinson Actor/Teacher
Expanding the Acting Class Experience:
Fostering A More Inclusive & Diverse Learning Environment

Crystal Dickinson is an Actor, Educator and a New Jersey Native. Her New York career began at The Signature Theater alongside her husband, Brandon Dirden, and Brother-In-Law, Jason Dirden, in Leslie Lee’s, First Breeze of Summer, which starred Leslie Uggums and was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.  She went on to perform on Broadway in the Tony Award Winning Play, Clybourne Park, for which she received an illustrious Theater World Award , and the Tony Nominated Play, You Can’t Take It With You, alongside James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne.  She has also performed Off Broadway at Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons and Theater for A New Audience and The Atlantic, among others, and worked with Thomas Kail, Micheal Grief, Scott Ellis, Bryan Cranston, Wendell Pierce, Pam Mackinnon, Lila Neugebauer, and Leigh Silverman. Her Film & Television credits include:  I Origins, The Good Wife, New Amsterdam and recurring roles on Showtime’s The Chi and the second season of ABC’s For Life.

Crystal has also had an illustrious career teaching acting at Stella Adler Studio, Spelman College, NYU, Princeton, Pace University, University of Arkansas and both of her Alumni schools, University of Illinois and Seton Hall and helped countless students get into the best graduate training programs across the country. She believes theatre is both an individual and a communal celebration of humanity and those who choose to educate performing artists must provide their students with an inclusive awareness of theatre and all its facets.  Actor training can begin with technique, but it must also prepare the actor for the creative world in which he/she/they will enter.


A proud MFA graduate of The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, she also studied at the London Academy for Music and Dramatic Art and is an elite member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab.  Currently, she is involved with an artist collective called, The Commissary, which creates and examines work around issues of racial and social injustice in America.


Brandon J Dirden Actor/Teacher
Expanding the Acting Class Experience:
Fostering A More Inclusive & Diverse Learning Environment

Brandon J. Dirden is Associate Arts Professor in the Graduate Acting Department. He received his B.A. in Mathematics and Drama from Morehouse College and his MFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dirden is an actor and director perhaps best known for portraying Martin Luther King Jr. in the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Robert Schenkkan’s All The Way opposite Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon B. Johnson. In 2017, he starred in the Broadway premier of August Wilson’s Tony Award winning Jitney, directed by frequent collaborator, Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

He made his directorial debut with August Wilson’s Seven Guitars at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ to great acclaim in 2016 and in 2018 he returned to Two River to direct Wilson’s King Hedley II to a sold-out run.  Brandon played Agent Dennis Aderholt on FX’s hit series The Americans. Other television appearances include Baz Lehrman’s The Get Down for Netflix, FX’s Mrs. America, and ABC’s new hit drama For Life.

His work onstage has been recognized with a Theater World Award, OBIE award, AUDELCO award, Drama League distinction, Lucille Lortel nomination and others.  He has been a guest lecturer at Black Arts Institute, Spelman College, Yale University, Princeton University, Brown University, Columbia University and Juilliard.

Viacheslav Dolgachev Director/Moscow New Drama Theatre
Active Analysis and Scene Rehearsal

Viacheslav Dolgachev is regarded as one of Russia’s leading theater directors. He has directed over 65 productions in every major theater in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in major cities in Russia and abroad. He is a recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the title of “Distinguished Artist of Russia” (Russia’s highest award for a theater director, presented by the President of the Russian Federation).

From 1990 to 2000, Mr. Dolgachev served as a leading director of Moscow Art Theatre, where he directed such notable productions as After Rehearsal (Ingmar Bergman, for which he received the 1998 national “Golden Mask” Award), Melpomena’s Tales (Anton Chekhov), Bobok (Fyodor Dostoyevsky), Toybele and Her Demons (Isaac Zinger), Impossible Encounter (Paul Bartz), The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Tennessee Williams), and The Light Shines in Darkness (Leo Tolstoy).

In 2001, Mr. Dolgachev assumed the position of Artistic Director of Moscow New Drama Theatre (MNDT). Some of his notable productions at MNDT include Nastasya Filippovna (based on “Idiot” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky; winner of the 2009 Grand Prix Award at the International Dostoyevsky Theater Festival), The Robbers (Friedrich Schiller), Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (Tennessee Williams), One of the Last Carnival Nights (Carlo Goldoni), Ages of the Moon (Sam Shepard). CHEKHOV. PROJECT in 4 versions: If You Know, The Plot for a Short Story, People, Foreheads, Eagles and Partridges …, Finita La Comedia.

Besides a distinguished career as a director, Viacheslav Dolgachev is an internationally recognized educator. He has taught acting and directing at the School of the Moscow Art Theatre; International Theatre Institute in Pontremoli, Italy; Columbia University, New York University, Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and The Actors Center in New York; Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois in Chicago; Portland University in Portland, Oregon; and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Kenneth Noel Mitchell USC School of Dramatic Arts
Beyond Pedagogy

Kenneth Noel Mitchell is a professor of theatre practice in musical theatre and head of musical theatre at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Prior to that, he was the founding head of acting for the New Studio on Broadway and the associate chair at New York University. He served as the coordinator of acting at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Professional Theatre Training Program.

As a director, Mitchell’s work has been represented in New York at the Home for the Contemporary Theater and Art, the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Soho Rep, The American Globe Theatre, Musical Theatre Works and The Sanford Meisner Theatre. Regionally, he has directed productions for The American Stage, Stage Works, Bristol Valley Theatre, White River Junction Theatre Festival, The Asolo Conservatory Theatre, The Eckerd Theatre Company, The Fredonia Opera House, the Guthrie Experience and the Provincetown Theater.

As an actor, he has appeared at The New York Shakespeare Festival, The Atlantic Theatre, The Performing Garage, The American Globe Theatre, The Dramatist Guild, Bristol Valley Theatre, American Stage the Greenbrier Valley Theater and Stageworks. Mitchell has served as the artistic director for American Stage and Theater Outrageous, and he has been affiliated with the New Shakespeare Festival, Circle Rep and the Manhattan Theatre Club. He is a member of Actors Equity, the Actor Center and on the board of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers.

Ron Van Lieu Columbia University
Performance Pedagogy Seminar

Ron Van Lieu was the Master Teacher of Acting and eventually Chair of the NYU Graduate Acting Program where he taught from 1975 to 2004. In 2004 he was appointed the Lloyd Richards Professor of Acting and Chair of the Acting Program at the Yale School of Drama where he taught until 2017. He now serves a Professor of Professional Practice on the faculty of Columbia University.

Ron trained at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. His acting credits include major regional theaters, leading roles off-Broadway, New York Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, and a member of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s acting company. His directing credits include productions at Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, Syracuse Stage, the Greer Garson Theater in Santa Fe, and over 50 productions at the NYU Graduate Acting Program. In 1993 he was awarded the New York University Distinguished Teaching Medal, the university’s highest award given in recognition of outstanding achievement in classroom teaching.

In addition to his university work, Ron is a founding faculty member of both The Shakespeare Lab at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater where he headed the actor training for 10 years, as well as The Actors Center in New York where continues to teach both professional actors as well as teachers of acting. Students who have trained with Ron over the past 43 years have won every major award in the field of theater and acting including the Pulitzer Prize, the Academy Award, Tonys, Drama Desk Awards, Golden Globes, Emmys, Obies, etc. Ron serves on the Advisory Council of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers.

Apply Now

Before you start your application, please check that you have the materials listed above.

  • What year(s) did you previously attend the TDP?
  • Are you a current member of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers?
  • Accepted file types: pdf.
  • Accepted file types: pdf.
  • 1-2 pages about your own teaching and approach to the craft, as well as why you wish to attend the Teacher Development Program.
    Accepted file types: pdf.