One-Day Workshop:  Mindfulness for Actors – An Introduction to Mindfulness through Silent Meditation      Saturday, March 24, 2012

Feeling stressed? Distracted? You’d like to be in the moment, but life is swirling around you. Performers, in any art discipline, know the importance of focusing on the task at hand.  Developing mindfulness is an essential element of any actor’s/performer’s craft.  

Consider silent meditation as a means to mindfulness. This two hour workshop will explore what meditation is and what it isn't. Drawing upon principles of Yoga, as well as other disciplines, Dr. Jackson introduces students to essential steps/stages of successful meditation including how to prepare for meditation, maintaining a meditative state, and how to exit the meditative state.  Students will have the opportunity to discuss their individual experiences for the benefit of all.

Note:  Please wear comfortable clothes and bring something comfortable to sit on.

Kimya Imani Jackson, Ph.D. is a dance-physical theater artist and holds a doctorate in Biobehavioral Health with a concentration in Gerontology from Pennsylvania State University.  Ms. Jackson’s special training also includes alternative medicine modalities and how they can reduce stress and enhance concentration. Please refer to Breath and Body a four-week preparatory class that will maximize the benefits of working with Dr. Jackson.


Improvisation for Fearless Young Actors  (Session One: 10 to 12 years old)  Limited to 10 students. 

6-week course:  Saturdays, March 10 to April 28 from 11:30AM to 1:30PM 

This course was developed around a single question:  What type of class would be most helpful to the developing young actor?  

Instructor, Stevie Neale has a special interest in working with children to develop what she calls “fearlessness.”  Ms. Neale believes that through improvisation, students learn to trust their creative instincts.  Guided improvisation builds self-respect, develops an appreciation for cooperation, and nourishes responsible fearlessness (self-confidence) that will benefit young actors both on and off stage.  

Finding the spotlight is easy.  Discovering our own personal light is priceless.

Stevie Jan Neale holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of West Florida.  She has taught acting classes throughout the State of Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in Guatamala.  Her preparation as an instructor for Improvisational Theatre has lead her to study dance, singing, aerials (trapeze), tumbling, theatre games, and movement.  A certified Yoga instructor, Ms. Neale is currently adding an M.A. in Urban Studies – Arts in Transformation.

An Introduction to Voice Over  (Includes Spanish/English VO)    8-week course: Thursdays, March 8 to April 26 from 6:30PM to 10PM

For the past ten years, this has been the acclaimed course that sets the course for a career in voice over.  All the information you need to help you make an informed career choice is offered in this class.  Students will learn how the body functions as a musical (sound producing) instrument that relies on strong, controlled breath technique. Principals of resonance detail how moving, vibrating air (voice) is amplified, colored, and textured in the chest cavity, throat, mouth, and sinuses. Articulation is presented as a physical event based on visualization, placement, and coordination of the lips, teeth, tongue, and shape of the oral cavity. Breath, resonance, and articulation are the fundamental skills for voice actors.

In addition to basic body work, students will be given an overview of the industry and how to market themselves in a highly competitive industry.  

Students will be guided through commercial and industrial/narration scripts and will receive honest evaluations of in-class progress.  This class sets a standard of excellence in VO training in Philadelphia and has trained students from New York, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC, as well as all over Pennsylvania.

This course will include special instruction in Spanish-English voice overs.  Please ask about Spanish-English VO when you register for classes.

Please note: Guest Lecturer, Victor Rodriguez, B.A., Voice Performance – Choral Arts, University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Victor Rodriguez is a bi-lingual Voice Actor.  Mr. Rodriguez is an experienced music director, actor, recording artist, composer and vocal arts instructor here in Philadelphia.

 Joanne Joella--M.A., English and B.A., Communication Arts & Sciences is a recommended Voice Arts Instructor with a special focus in voice/speech development. For nearly forty years, Ms. Joella has coached beginners through professionals. She is recommended by Philadelphia recording studios and has discussed regional speech and accent reduction on WHYY's Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane.

Ms. Joella has developed an effective Voice Over curriculum that has prepared numerous voice actors who work locally, regionally, and nationally.


Heat Up Your Cold Reads  6-week course:  Mondays, March 5 to April 9 from 6:30PM to 8:30PM

Are your “cold reads” freezing you out of auditions?  Then it’s time to turn up the heat.  Actor, Kimberly Fairbanks, M.A., will show you how to approach a cold read.  She will guide you through simple steps toward “de-mystifying” the process of presenting cold reads. Students will learn reliable strategies that work to build professional skill and personal confidence to help you make bookings. Your auditions can and should be enjoyable and that will lead to positive results.  

Kimberly S. Fairbanks is a Philadelphia-based actress with an impressive resume that includes numerous voice overs, commercials, and independent films. Ms. Fairbanks holds a Master's Degree in Theatre from Villanova University. In 2011, she was a KCACTF Irene Ryan National Finalist and was the recipient of the National Partners Theatre Classical Acting Award. Most notable on-camera credits include the role of Gail in It's a Miracle (PAX TV); the role of Dr. Houseman in The Fall Before Paradise (Eden Productions) which received awards in the Directors View Film Festival and the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival; and the feature film What Happens Next (starring Wendie Malick & John Lindstrom). In addition to her on camera credits, Kimberly has performed with many regional theatres including InterAct Theatre Company, The Mint Theatre (off Broadway); NJ Repertory Company; and the Walnut Street Theatre. Favorite roles to date include Denise Reeves (The Rant/ InterAct Theatre Company) and Medea (Medea/Villanova University).


Breath and Body    4-week course:  Wednesdays, March 7 to March 28 from 6:30PM to 8:30PM

This may be one of the most beneficial courses you will ever take.  Even if you have previously studied breathing and breath support in singing, speech or acting classes, or you have gained an understanding of the importance of controlled breathing in such disciplines as yoga or martial arts, we recommend your taking this brief course.  

Deep, controlled organic breathing is presented in a user-friendly way.  Students will experience increased  physical power, flexibility, and easy, fluid movements when breath power and muscle power work co-operatively.  Dancers, actors, singers, athletes as well as individuals who want increased wellness will benefit from these four sessions.

Students are consistently amazed to learn that they are under-utilizing their breathing potential.  Everyone benefits from being more relaxed and able to resist stress.  Think of using your breathing as an internal massage!

This class is team taught by Joanne Joella and Gabrielle Rineer-Joella.  No more than 10 students will be admitted to this class to allow the instructors to give special attention as needed.

Gabrielle Rineer-Joella, Professional Dancer – Tribal Style

Breath and Body is a perfect preparation for Dr. Kimya Imani Jackson’s workshop.


Acting for the Camera – (Session One – 12 to 14 years old)  6-week course: Saturdays, March 10 to April 14 from 4:30PM to 6:30PM

Acting for the camera is not the same as acting on stage.  Film actors operate from a very definite set of skills. This fundamental course focuses on basic acting techniques, as well as the specialized techniques that are necessary for working in front of a camera.

The instructor addresses the all-important ways and means to achieving comfort while being filmed, and how to work with the camera and not react to it. This course carefully coaches students toward appearing natural in front of the lens and having a sense of play.  Also addressed is audition technique for film projects.


Langston Darby holds a BFA in Theatre (special focus in Performance) and is a Magna cum Laude graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi.  Mr. Darby has performed and understudied in professional theatre, regional theatre, summer stock, outdoor theatre, and educational tours.  

He is the recipient (2009-10) of the Dorothy Haas Acting Apprentice at the Walnut Street Theatre; the Simrall Award in Theatre, Scholarship (2008); and was a finalist in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition (2007) at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.