San Francisco is one great theater town; in fact at times the rest of the country thinks the city is home to some zany, free-spirited, over-the-top personalities anyway. Yet for those talented souls looking to pursue a real-time acting career — or something like it — San Francisco has a lot to offer in that direction. Not only does some of the city’s colleges and universities offer first rate degree granting theater and drama programs, but some of the city’s premiere theater companies have their own teaching programs as well. In fact, several San Francisco theaters are as well known for their acting classes and degree programs, as they are for their fine theater reputations.
American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.)
Established in 1965, A.C.T. is a well-respected, Tony Award winning theater and training facility. It is the largest theater company in San Francisco, employing many teachers, artists, technicians and related staff. The theater offers a variety of programs and classes, including a Masters of Fine Arts Program in Acting. The Summer Training Congress offers world-class 5 and 2-week summer sessions in teh heart of San Francisco’s theater district. The10-week Inside Studio A.C.T. course even earns college credit.
The Actors Center of San Francisco (ACSF)
A professional acting studio serving all levels, ACSF offers beginners serious training in dramatic acting. The school also provides coaching to working actors, film makers and writers. As a bridge for non-actors and professionals who have a love of film and wish to try acting as means of strenghtening their communication skills, the school claims the Stanislavsky-Strasberg Method acting for Theater and film.
The San Francisco Acting Academy
The San Francisco Acting Academy is a professional On-Camera workshop school. Their mission is to prepare actors to audition and work in the Bay Area theater market. To this end, the academy’s mission is to provide space for both new and experienced actors to work on their camera skills and ready themselves to compete in the Bay Area acting market.
Bay Area Acting Studio
This facility specializes in the Meisner Technique, named after Sanford Meisner, its creator. This technique was developed as a way to teach actors to be fully “in the moment,” as they learn to access their emotions authentically and become more aware of “who they are” emotionally and physically. The Acting Studio promotes this technique as one in which actors replace the imitation of “acting” with a genuine connection that is deep and truthful.
Since 1961, nationally recognized Shelton Studios has been delivering the art and craft of acting. Founded by Robert Elross and Jean Shelton, who brought with them from New York their experienced knowledge of method acting for both film and theater. The Studio, located on Pier 26 on San Francisco’s iconic Embarcadero, offers full in-depth and part-time study.
San Francisco State University, Department of Theater Arts
The Department of Theater Arts offers programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Various aspects of theater are explored, and is rich in providing students with professional programs. The Master of Arts in Drama is a full program for students wishing to increase their competence in all phases of history and literature of theater: acting, directing, theater design, and production.
City College of San Francisco, Theater Arts Department
Course offerings at CCSF are here to serve students wishing to explore a future career in theater, as well as satisfy student understanding of the art forms that theater study provides.
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