The art of teaching involves helping each student take ownership of their possibilities as an artist. The standards that teacher holds to is key to the lasting affect.

Our flagship Teacher Development Program returns for a 20th year and for the first time in Los Angeles, presented in collaboration with the USC School of Dramatic Arts, June 5-16, 2017. Three exceptional and internationally recognized teachers will lead the two-week intensive: Ron Van Lieu from the Yale School of Drama returns, as does Russian director and educator Slava Dolgachev, and will be joined by USC faculty and Stanislavski active analysis expert Sharon Marie Carnicke. Join us for an inspiring and revitalizing 12 days devoted to the craft of teaching acting.

2017 Teacher Development Program

June 5-16 — USC School of Dramatic Arts — Los Angeles, CA


Program Details

Our Teacher Development Program provides a rare opportunity for both established acting teachers and professional actors interested in teaching to return to the classroom under the guidance of true masters of the field. In the two-week intensive, participants study again as acting students, but with an eye toward the craft of teaching. While encouraging the exploration of approaches and pedagogical practices, the program helps to reconnect teachers with their passion for the craft and deep sense of purpose in the pursuit of artistic excellence.

In the 20 years since its inception the program has graduated more than 200 alumni, many of whom are now teaching at premier institutions across the country. Its faculty over the years have included an extraordinary group of teachers and guest artists including its four founding faculty: Earle Gister, Michael Kahn, Lloyd Richards, Ron Van Lieu; who have been joined in the ensuing years by Maria Aitken, Christopher Bayes, Per Brahe, Robert Cohen, Slava Dolgachev, Olympia Dukakis, Richard Feldman, Joanna Merlin, Jane Nichols, Peter Jay Fernandez, Fay Simpson, among others.

Presented in collaboration with

Participants in this workshop will be introduced to some of the most respected teachers from the United States and abroad. The goal is to reinforce the tenets of the craft the participants would impart to their students. While the workshop is offered as a seminar for the benefit of established teachers or established actors who are starting to teach, it will be conducted essentially as an acting class. Everyone will work on their feet every day. Questions will be answered in “the doing.” Issues of teaching methodology will be examined first through experiencing them, then through specific hours set aside to discuss their particular merits.

The workshop is an intensive two-week immersion. Classes run Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 10:00pm with additional acting classes on Saturday morning.

For full consideration, please submit all materials by April 21, 2017.

Enrollment is limited. We encourage you to apply early to avoid disappointment. Admission is made on a rolling basis to give applicants time to secure funding. Some education institutions have funds available to support faculty in professional development.

Admission is based on your stated personal approach to the actor’s process, your background, and your demonstrated interest in personal and professional development. To apply, please prepare the following items and attach on the application form at the bottom of this page.

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Teaching Resume

Acting Resume

Statement of Interest

1-2 pages about your own teaching and/or approach to the craft.

Tuition for the 2017 Teacher Development Program is $4,000.

Some education institutions and foundations have funds available to support faculty in professional development. We encourage all participants to explore these avenues for financial support. Discounts are also made available to existing members of the National Alliance of Acting Teachers and alumni of the program.

Participants are responsible for their own housing accommodations.

We have recently launched three new professional development fellowships for acting teachers providing full scholarship to the program.

In addition, we offer a limited number of partial scholarships for adjunct faculty, instructors, and coaches without access to professional development funding. We also offer need-based and merit-based scholarships to individuals who would otherwise not be able to attend. In order to be eligible for scholarships, individuals should first submit their application to the Teacher Development Program. Subsequently, please write to Managing Director, Alex Birnie at to inquire about scholarship availability.

The Teacher Development Program originated at The Actors Center in 1996. When the Alliance for the Development of Theatre Artists started The Actors Center that year, we brought together leading teachers from America, England, Russia and other countries. Our initial intent was to provide established actors with access to master teachers throughout their careers, but we soon realized that these same master teachers, assembled under one roof, could and should also be made available to established teachers seeking further growth and renewal.

Since that time, TDP faculty and guest speakers have included:

Maria Aitken
Christopher Bayes
Per Brahe
Robert Cohen
Slava Dolgachev
Olympia Dukakis
William Esper
Peter Jay Fernandez
Catherine Fitzmaurice

Richard Feldman
Earle Gister
Michael Kahn
Joanna Merlin
Jane Nichols
Lloyd Richards
Fay Simpson
Ron Van Lieu

From Past Participants

“What the Teacher Development Program has done is to remind, inspire, and transform those of us who have the daunting responsibility to teach actors of today and tomorrow what it all truly means … And in doing so passing down a humanity that they have instilled in hundreds beyond count.”

— R. Scott Lank

University of Evansville

“I cannot express in words how inspiring, thought-provoking, stimulating and fulfilling the program was last June. You cannot put a price on or name to what I learned in the classroom.”

— Anna Steers

California State University, Long Beach

“You have given me a renewed commitment and perspective. You have given me a deeper understanding of my place and of my work. A vigorous assertion back toward my ideals and what I truly love and find rewarding. It has been a redefining of my artistic self. It is, in essence, a truly valuable second chance.”

— Ramsey Faragallah


“To people who have asked, I say that walking into a master’s class is like walking onto a tennis court, thinking you can play a little tennis, and then Roger Federer walks in on the other side. Often what I learned was not about what was taught, but how it was taught. Master teachers don’t earn that designation simply because they have been teaching for a long time, but because they are that much better at what they do.”

— Bill Gelber

Texas Tech University

“Simply put, the five summers I spent in The Actors Center Teacher Development Program rank among the most important acting experiences I’ve had. For any acting teacher, nascent or seasoned, serious about improving their approach toward, eye for, and understanding of the actor’s work this program is de rigueur.”

— Hugh O’Gorman

California State University, Long Beach

“All the classes were tremendously stimulating, and I know my work will benefit and be informed by those experiences for years to come. I hope that when I get back to teaching this season, I’ll be able to pass on at least some of those traditions that Ron, Chris and Slava embody. Thank you for an experience I will always cherish.”

— William McNulty

Actor/Teacher, Actors Theatre of Louisville

“Easily the best training I’ve encountered anywhere. The two weeks of exceptional teaching, vital discussion, and intensive hands-on work continue to inspire me on a daily basis, and the connections I made with the talented and dedicated theatre artists who were my classmates have been strong and surprisingly lasting. I was challenged, encouraged, and renewed.”

— Amy Herzberg

University of Arkansas

2017 Faculty

Since 2004 Ron Van Lieu has served as the Lloyd Richards Professor Adjunct of Acting at Yale School of Drama. He served as Chair of the Acting program from 2004 through June 2014.

Mr. Van Lieu 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. For 29 years he was a Master Teacher of Acting at the New York University Tisch Graduate Acting Program. For many years he served as Chair of the NYU program where he also founded and headed Studio Tisch, a developmental workshop for graduates of the 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, Mr. Van Lieu 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 he is a member of the board and continues to teach both professional actors as well as teachers of acting. Students who have trained with Mr. Van Lieu over the past 35 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.

Sharon Marie Carnicke is Professor of Theatre and Slavic Languages and Literatures and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the USC School of Dramatic Arts, and a founding fellow of USC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching. Fluent in Russian, she is the internationally-acclaimed author of Stanislavsky in Focus (now in its second edition), which lays bare the significant ways in which the American Method and the Stanislavsky System of actor training differ from each other. Reviews call her book essential reading for actors, directors and theatre scholars alike.

She publishes widely in the fields of acting on stage and film, Russian theatre, dance, and performance in the town festivals of Puerto Rico. Among her other publications are The Theatrical Instinct (about the avant-garde director Nikolai Evreinov), Reframing Screen Performance (with Cynthia Baron), her nationally-produced translations of Chekhov’s plays in 4 Plays and 3 Jokes (including the Kennedy Center award-winning translation of The Seagull), and Checking out Chekhov.

Her articles on film take readers beyond star studies to the actual work of actors, such as Jack Nicholson, John Wayne, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Elizabeth Taylor. Carnicke has worked professionally as an actor, director, dancer and master teacher of Stanislavsky’s Active Analysis. She regularly collaborates with the National Institute for Dramatic Arts (Australia) and the National Academy of Arts (Norway). Her speaking and teaching engagements have included: the Moscow Art Theatre (Russia), the Sorbonne and CNRS in Paris, the Institute for Puerto Rican Culture in San Juan, the University of Helsinki (Finland) and the Institute for Theatre Research (Tampere, Finland). Her mission is to bring Stanislavsky’s Active Analysis to the 21st century professional actor. To this end, she has already adapted it for Cinematic Performance Capture Technology through a joint project with USC’s engineering school and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Viacheslav Dolgachev is regarded as one of Russia’s leading theater directors. He has directed over 50 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 (Tennesee 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).

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 Pontremoly, 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.

A number of other guest artists and teachers will join us during the two-week program for shorter workshops and panel discussions. Further faculty and a complete schedule will be announced in the spring.

Apply Now

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