Acting for the Stage: Performance Classes at the Guthrie

Guthrie Education is excited to announce our newly restructured Performance Pathway - performance based classes for individuals ages 18+ looking for actor training opportunities. Whether you have experience on the stage or are exploring acting for the first time, our Performance Pathway classes offer something for all levels of experience!   

How it works: If you are just starting out, our Introduction to Acting Classes provide a foundation for the performer in voice, movement and text.

Once the foundation is set our Intermediate Acting Classes allow performers to continue building their foundation with a wide variety of classes. From text analysis to auditioning and advanced character work to exploring specific acting techniques such as the Alexander Technique -  these classes offer the actor continued training opportunites to learn and grow.

The Advanced Acting Classes are structured for the actor to continue to explore and refine their practice with longer form classes such as the Studio Intensive classes where students work intensively on scene work and monologues to be performed at the final class for an invited audience as well as shorter master class workshops to expand the skills of the actor. 

To see our full lineup of fall classes including our Explore Classes, visit us online


Choose from three distinct levels of comprehensive classes with professional Guthrie artists, all designed to develop your acting chops and hone your voice, movement, text analysis and musical theater skills.

Introduction to Acting Classes:

No prerequisites are required and classes may be taken in any order. Many introductory classes are required to take intermediate and advanced classes. To ask questions or discuss relevant experience, contact the Education Team at 612.225.6172.

Theater Basics
Through a variety of theater exercises, you’ll explore the fundamentals of acting and create a foundation for continued training, including improvisation, building a theater vocabulary, performing in front of an audience and approaching text.
No prerequisite. Capacity: 14. This class is a prerequisite for intermediate classes.

Voice and Speech I

Study the basic principles of voice and speech, including breath, resonance, range, articulation, projection, phrasing and expression, while releasing excessive tension and providing a foundation for vocal practice. Dive into assigned readings, experiential exercises, class discussions and practical application. No prerequisites. Capacity: 12. This class is a prerequisite for intermediate classes.

Physical Approaches I

The body is an actor’s instrument. Gesture and physicality are used to tell a story in concert with the voice. In this introductory class, you’ll explore a variety of physical approaches to performance and gain insight on how to approach acting from a movement-based perspective.

No prerequisite. Capacity: 14. This class is a prerequisite for intermediate classes.

Musical Theater: Singing I

Designed for beginner-level singers, this class will help you develop a solid base in vocal technique using several songs from musical theater productions that are suitable for auditions. From up-tempo songs to ballads, you’ll learn a variety of techniques, including breath support, song interpretation and performance skills. No prerequisite. Capacity: 10.

Dance Styles I

Warm up your body, develop your dance vocabulary, understand body placement and sample a variety of dance styles from tap to jazz to ballet. You’ll be comfortable on your feet as fast as you can say, “Five, six, seven, eight!” This is a movement class only – no singing required.No prerequisite. Capacity: 18.

Intermediate Acting Classes:

Dance Styles II

Sharpen your dance vocabulary in this intermediate-level musical theater dance class in a studio format. You’ll sample a variety of dance styles from tap to jazz to ballet while focusing on connecting your acting to your movement for musical theater performance. It’s a perfect class to work on your moves, prepare for auditions, get a workout and just have some fun. Prerequisite: Dance Styles I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 18.

Auditioning and the Business of Acting

What makes a great monologue? What do casting directors look for? This class focuses on the skills and insights necessary to pursue a career in acting and offers tools to help you prepare for auditions, including preparing a resume and headshot, navigating talent agencies and finding work. Prerequisites: Theater Basics, Voice and Speech I, Physical Approaches I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 12.

Creating a Character

Strengthen your imagination, focus your concentration and hone your listening skills by delving into the creation of original and scripted characters. This class will explore a variety of approaches for character development and empower actors to find their unique approach to character work.  Prerequisites: Theater Basics, Voice and Speech I, Physical Approaches I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 12.

Exploring the Text

Building upon foundational skills established in our Explore classes, you’ll dive into the creative, complex and amazing world of the script. Learn how to identify and activate textual clues to enhance storytelling, spark actions, build characters, define relationships and engage an audience. Prerequisites: Theater Basics, Voice and Speech I, Physical Approaches I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 12.

Physical Approaches II: Devising Through Movement

Explore how full use of the body, understanding theatrical space and precise use of gestures can create unique, engaging and unexpected performances and stories. You’ll learn the building blocks of devising – a collaborative approach to story and theater-making where the ensemble builds the script through play and improvisation. Prerequisites: Theater Basics, Voice and Speech I, Physical Approaches I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 12.

Voice and Speech II

This six-week course is a continuation of Voice and Speech I that focuses on breath, resonance, range, articulation, projection, phrasing, expression and body-mind exercises. You’ll set goals and be supported in developing a daily practice to improve your skills and expressiveness, including an opportunity to perform or present material of your choice.

Prerequisites: Theater Basics, Voice and Speech I, Physical Approaches I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 12.

Scene Study

Explore scenes from select plays in the Guthrie's current season that focus on character development, crafting the story and how to creatively engage with an artistic team. Delve into several roles while stretching your abilities and discovering new methods to approach scene work. Get your water bottle, pencil and movement clothes ready!

Prerequisites: Theater Basics, Voice and Speech I, Physical Approaches I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 12.

Musical Theater Singing: Developing Your Vocal Audition

Singers with performance experience will focus on strengthening vocal technique while preparing three pieces of music. Two songs will be provided by the instructor, and you’ll provide a ballad of your choice for one-on-one coaching sessions. Performances will be shared regularly in class. Prerequisite: Musical Theater: Singing I (or equivalent experience). Capacity: 10.

The Alexander Technique

Developed more than 120 years ago, the Alexander Technique has been used as a powerful tool for actors to integrate voice, speech and movement. At its heart is the conviction that we are perfectly designed to express an impulse with honesty. Through this psychophysical tool for body, breath and imagination, actors learn how to release habitual tension and instead bring freedom, poise and presence to their performance. This experiential class focuses on the technique’s principles and the art of self-direction using warm-up, monologue and partnering work, all designed to help you be comfortable in your own skin and create onstage intensity without tension. Prerequisite: Must be 18+. Capacity: 12.

Advanced Acting Classes:

Studio Intensive with Candace Barrett Birk

This advanced scene studies class will focus on ways in which character can be discovered, developed and played. Considering your individual goals and drawing on acting techniques created by great theater instructors throughout history, you’ll work intensively on a contemporary scene with one scene partner for eight weeks. The class will culminate in a show at the Guthrie for invited family and friends. You’ll rehearse with your scene partner outside of class, and rehearsal space will be provided (as available) at no additional cost.

The instructor will grant admission based on level of experience. Capacity: 12.To apply, send headshot and resume to [email protected].

Questions or concerns? Email [email protected] or call (612) 225-6172.

Contact information

Guthrie Theater
Madeline Achen
Web site

Posted September 21