Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Matt Smith's Improv Intensive Experience by David Mielke

For the past few years I've been on a mid-life quest to do things I was afraid to do when I was younger.  I've worked for many years to reclaim aspects of myself that were shut down in childhood, due to having been perceived as an effeminate boy -- which was a bad thing to be in the 1960's backwoods Canadian town I grew up in.  I realize now that I wasn't really effeminate, I was just sensitive, and unfortunately at that time sensitivity was perceived as a girlish quality. The bullying I received had a squelching effect on me, and the pathway to freeing myself from the repercussions of that has been a long and winding one that has led to a desire to excavate my timid sense of humor.  I can see now how our humor is as personal and unique to us as our fingerprints, and how easily it can be shamed into hiding through childhood traumas.

I felt comfortable in Matt Smith's Improv Class Intensive right from the beginning when he explained his concept of "The FailureBow" -- a wonderful way of receiving affirming support when we do something we might otherwise have used to beat ourselves up with.  It gave me permission to try things and take risks with no negative repercussions -- just uplifting applause.  Matt also touched upon the therapeutic aspects of doing Improv; on how it can be another tool of self-discovery and healing, and that even though he wouldn't be putting an emphasis on that, a consciousness of the possibility of it was always welcome in the room.  Matt embodied a comfortableness in his own skin that helped me feel more comfortable in mine.  His  warm embrace of his own foibles and fumbles inspired me to hug mine a little more lovingly too.  He created a space where true spontaneous expression could feel safe to come out and play.

And play it did for the duration of the intensive!  I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. In the course of one three hour class I would go from feeling exhilarated to mortified to enthralled to foolish to free to stuck to triumphant to frustrated to up and down and all around and back through them all again.  It was thrilling to have that opportunity to be so present everyday; present to my own experiences on a moment-to-moment basis, and present to the privilege of witnessing the experiences of others.  All of us pushing boundaries together, all of us saying "yes! -- and!" to moving through our fears.  It was very bonding.  By the time we did our two performances we were truly a team in the best sense of the word, ready to jump in and support one another with no idea of where things might go. Truly improvising!  I am grateful to Matt and Freehold for the experience, and grateful to myself for having had the courage to do it.


Matt Smith will be teaching Improv at Freehold this coming fall.  For more information:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Freehold's Outstanding Acting Classes in Seattle are Now Open for Registration

Freehold Outstanding Fall Quarter Acting Classes in Seattle are Now Open for Registration  

Freehold has been offering outstanding acting classes in Seattle since the summer of 1991. All Freehold faculty are working professional actors, playwrights and directors whose credentials include recognized work on and off Broadway, in major motion pictures, on television, and in regional and international theatre venues. Freehold offers beginning acting classes for the absolute beginner as well as master classes for working professionals. Join us for Fall and "Explore the YOU You Don't Know!"
 To register for a class or to read more about the individual classes and their dates and times, click on the highlighted class below or call us at (206) 323-7499.
Join our email list by sending us your contact information via our contact page and you'll get early notification and discounts for registering early.

Here are our Fall Class offerings:

Step I: Intro to Acting with Meg McLynn, Section I
Step I: Intro to Acting with Meg McLynn, Section II
Step II: Acting with Text with Stefan Enriquez
Step III: Basic Scene Study with Dan Tierney
Directing and Acting for the Camera - Directors with John Jacobsen
Directing and Acting for the Camera - Actors with John Jacobsen
Auditioning with Darragh Kennan
Auditioning for the Camera with John Jacobsen
Improvisation with Matt Smith
Meisner: Foundation with Robin Lynn Smith
Playwriting I: Point of View with Rebecca Tourino
Public Speaking with Gin Hammond
Stage Combat: Rapier and Dagger with Geof Alm
Voice with Rhonda J. Soikowski
Voice Over with Susanna Burney

Check out some Freehold class testimonials:

Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio
2222 2nd Avenue, Suite 200
(located in downtown Seattle on 2nd Avenue between Bell and Blanchard)
Seattle, WA  98121
(206) 323-7499

Monday, August 11, 2014

Freehold Theatre Acting Class Testimonials

Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio is a Center for the Practice of Theatre. Since 1991, Freehold Theatre has been offering exceptional acting classes in Seattle taught by outstanding faculty.  We offer beginning acting classes as well as advanced actor training as well as Improv, Playwriting, Directing, Public Speaking, Voice and Voice Over classes and much more.

Here are some testimonials from students who have taken classes at Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio:

"I’m so grateful to have found my way to Freehold. It’s been my home for acting training for over six years now. They have an affordable, well-rounded course selection, a progression for advanced learning, committed and highly credible instructors and a wonderful sense of community." -Ryan Sanders

"I've been taking classes at Freehold for almost two years now and it has been a great experience. All of my teachers have been superb, very talented and dedicated, and the range of classes is amazing as well, There are classes for the curious with no acting experience (me a the beginning) to classes for someone who is serious about acting and wants a more in depth study (me now!). I found my experience at Freehold to be truly life changing, no exaggeration at all." -Alissa Cattabriga

“Admittedly, I have a crush on Freehold... But it's been a year and 3 months now, so it may be turning into something more serious! :-) I went from never having studied, or done performance, to taking 4 classes (Steps I, II and III, Exploring Solo Performance) and presenting a solo piece in the 2014 Incubator Studio Series. Mind-boggling transformation possibilities. Serious, fun, professional, enthusiastic, respectful, responsive, passionate, and compassionate community of instructors, staff, and participating students. We are beyond lucky to have Freehold in Seattle!” -Laura Nelson

"All the instructors at Freehold Theater have a great philosophy on acting, and a consummate passion for teaching. They seemed to know how, in a positive manner, to get the best performance out of you. Of course it's different for everyone, and it’s not rocket science, but you will be challenged. Whether you’re pursuing theater or film, if you're ready to get to the next level-- the sky's the limit on what you can achieve. Freehold Theater gives a safe and comfortable place to grow – you’re given the tools to do your job as an actor, while challenging yourself creatively. Highly recommend." -Melissa P.

"Freehold, its instructors, and the classes offered are extraordinary. I have learned so much, and have had so much fun. As a then 56 year old lawyer in "real life," starting out in Step One three years ago, I had no idea what to expect. The teachers, the content, the students, and the challenges have been so very much worth the time, effort, and expense invested. Enough cannot be said about the truly exceptional and dedicated faculty. I've loved my experiences at Freehold and have had SO MUCH FUN. In short: my time at Freehold has been the best thing, besides skydiving (which I did because we were assigned in one class to live out a fantasy), I've done in ten years. Thank you Stefan, Annette, Darragh, and most especially, Robin."  -Jacquelyn Beatty

"Freehold is the best place for acting training in Seattle! In my humble opinion. The faculty is incredible. They are also working professionals and many teach at Cornish. Best of all, they are so invested in their students and Freehold's mission. There is a great variety of classes offered and tuition is affordable. My own experience with Freehold has been very significant. I took the acclaimed, life-changing Meisner progression. Not only did my classmates and I walk away as better, stronger actors, but also as enriched artists. (Any Meisner alum will most likely agree with that about themselves...). I've also taken Voice, Movement, Solo Performance, and Shakespeare. All were beneficial to me as an actor, and just totally fantastic. There is a strong sense of community at Freehold and that has been priceless." -Julie Hoang

"Freehold is a truly unique and special Theater Lab & Studio. They offer a truly sacred space where you can be totally free and uninhibited. All of the instructors work in the industry and offer exceptional training and insight into the world of acting. I have taken introductory acting courses Steps 1-3 as well as rehearsal and performance and most recently the 9 month Meisner intensive course. Here I have truly discovered myself and my passion for the art of acting as grown exponentially. The training not only goes above and beyond what you would expect but each instructor has such a passion for the art that just being in their presence infuses you with an even greater urge to pursue and truly grasp the art. Beyond the exceptional training, safe environment, and great class mates each instructor not only provides you with a knowledge of the art but also empowers you to believe in yourself and go out in the world and pursue your dream. What I am most grateful for from my experience at Freehold has been this empowerment. A truly great teacher is one who makes you believe in yourself and empowers you with the confidence that you can go out in the world and be successful. They not only provide you with great training but fill you with such inspiration, passion, and drive that it is impossible to leave unmotivated or uninspired. Each of the instructors are truly great in this way and I would recommend Freehold to anyone interested in pursuing the art of acting and discovering what it is to truly experience and discover the art of the human soul and bring it to life on stage." -Tyler Stout

"I took my first class at Freehold after I suddenly decided to audition for a play and failed at it miserably. The experience made me want to try again, but to prepare myself better. I've taken Steps I-III, Voice, Singing for Actors and Movement at Freehold. Singing for Actors with Lucia Neare and Movement with Paul Budraitis, in particular, made me realize that there are different ways of finding the character's voice, and maybe I can do this. They gave me the courage to continue to try. I've found all the instructors to be knowledgeable, giving, and supportive. I've begun to be able to quiet all the reasons of why I can't do this, and learn to let myself do things and fail at them and keep doing them and become better because of it, and I've found the support to let that happen at Freehold, both from the instructors and the fellow students. I love Freehold, studying here has changed my life for the better. Highly recommend. It's an excellent and affordable training program for acting. I've drunk the kool-aid, too." -Elizabeth Herlevi

"I have fallen in love with Freehold, it's spirit and mission. Currently (Spring, 2013) I am taking the Point of View Playwriting class from Rebecca. What an experience! Regardless of the types of writing a person does (I haven't considered myself to be a playwright) the skills and information presented, the assignments, the class discussions, everything so far has been useful in my typical writing as well as introducing me to theatrical literature. Mindful of the importance of feedback but aware, too, of the pitfalls of traditional "critiques", Rebecca has provided us with a model for discussion of classmates work that is helpful and positive. You should know, the expectations for this class are high, from one's own writing, to reading classmates' and preparing for discussion, to reading well-known playwrights. But hey, you want your money's worth, don't you? A really wonderful class." -Janelle Kingsley

"I've been taking classes at Freehold since 1998 and without a doubt Freehold is the best place in Seattle for actor training (besides the academic programs at UW and Cornish). They also offer play writing and directing classes. The instructors are working professionals - many of whom also teach at Cornish and/or UW. Highly recommended."
- Andrew Tribolini

"I started classes at the Freehold a little over three years ago. I've taken steps 1-3, acting for the camera, singing for actors, rehearsal and performance, auditioning and the 9 month Meisner intensive. Not only have I had the best acting experiences there (I've been to other theaters as well as the theater program at SOU), I've meet incredible actors in the area, and have had teachers who have pushed me above and beyond where I thought I could be. Each teacher works in the industry and their passion is astonishing. I've been recommending Freehold to every actor I've met who hasn't heard about the theatre, so I might as well recommend it online as well!" -Kay Whitney

"I've taken Acting Step I to III at Freehold Theatre. It has been an amazing experience. In those three courses they took me from zero to acting and rehearsing with text. I joined because I wanted to improve my English and I ended up falling in love with acting and performing. I look forward to explore the other many classes they offer. Especially Rehearsal and Performance and eventually Meisner: Foundation.
I fully recommend Freehold Theatre for acting training." -Bernardo Rivas

"I've taken many classes at Freehold, from beginning acting all the way through Meisner. All classes have been excellent with inspiring and thoughtful instructors. Freehold is an excellent place for someone who is exploring acting as sideline or as a start to a full time career." - Mark Chandler

"Freehold Theatre will take you on a fantastic journey of your life. Take a class, commit to the journey, challenge yourself, you will not be disappointed." -Bonnie Quino

"I've taken a LOT of classes at Freehold over the past nine years, and I have learned a lot, from acting to voice to playwriting. They have excellent classes taught by working professionals." -Louise Penberthy

"You will find no better place to unleash your inner storyteller.  Whether it be acting, directing, playwriting or anything in between - if you value the exploration of the human condition, you'll want to join this community and call it home.  The instructors here are seasoned professionals from high and lofty places, but they are also the most approachable, caring, and nurturing teachers you will ever encounter.  They are so attuned to you and your craft that, in one quarter, you will make leaps and bounds far beyond what you thought possible.  I could not have navigated the crazy maze of theatre and film craft without Rebecca, Sarah, John, Annette and Christine.  You all/were such outstanding roll models and leaders within this community.  Thank you!!" - Elizabeth Wu

"I am a huge fan of Freehold!  Having taken many classes there the past several years, I have found the faculty and teaching artists to be knowledgeable, supportive and passionate about providing each student with what he/she needs to grow in their craft.  In addition, it has been a joy to meet and become friends with so many talented actors, directors and writers in town.  Freehold is a safe environment to experiment and take risks, regardless of your experience level.  The Meisner Progression taught by Robin Lynn Smith was life-changing and gave me the tools to raise my acting game to a whole new level.  With an impressive roster of classes, Freehold has something for everybody.  I highly recommend taking a class. You will have fun, gain confidence, make new friends and get better at your craft!" - Henry Mark

"I've just finished the first year of introductory classes at Freehold and it has been an amazing experience.  I previously did not have any acting experience, but really the only thing needed was an openness to new experiences and the will power to work hard.  In return, you get to explore new (or hidden!) sides of  yourself, learn what it means to really live truthfully under imaginary circumstances and become part of the amazing Freehold community.  All the instructors I've had are true professionals who are able to rapidly target areas of your scene which need work and who hep you develop a full toolbox of techniques that you can take with you anywhere in life.  I am really excited to continue with the Meisner progression next year!" - Sam McKennoch

"I am deeply grateful for Freehold. Seattle is graced by this sacred place that fosters growth, discovery, and artist-realization.  I recently completed the Meisner Progression course taught by Artistic Director and master teacher, Robin Lynn Smith. I found the education to be integrative, progressive, and holistic, teaching us how to access and awaken our truth through effective techniques and philosophies from all over the world.  I gained awareness in body, mind, and spirit that has truly deepened my work and enriched my life. I have also taken John Jacobsen's Acting for the Camera.  John has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and is very generous in sharing it.  I took forward invaluable information from his class. The studio is a haven for exploring yourself, your humanity, and your craft, with the guidance of  passionate, inspiring teachers and the support of a wonderful community of fellow artists. I've also told people it isn't just a place for artists, but really any human being who wants to grow." -Alexandra Gobeille

"Freehold is an awesome unique haven of in-depth, honest, knees on the ground learning. Taught by passionate skilled professionals with an atmosphere of authentic communal and self-exploration and focused honing of craft. Beginning and advanced students of the beautiful art of theater mix and are equally treated to a high standard of excellence and challenge. As a very part-time actor who has a great love for all that acting vies and can take us to, I am so grateful to be able to explore and partake and learn. Every time I take a class, I see and experience the world on richer soil, and find myself much more exactly expressive and receptive in my daily life and on stage." -Elizabeth D.

"I can't recommend Freehold enough! This is such an amazing space for artists of all types.  If you have never acted, come here, if you have acted all of your life, come here as well. There is something for everyone. If you are a working artist, this is the place to keep up on your training. Some of the most amazing instructors teach here. From Robin Lynn Smith to John Jacobsen, from Meisner training to Acting for the Camera! They have it all. Movement, voice, combat, Shakespeare ... All of the instructors are also working actors/directors. It's not just a school, it's a refuge as well. My home away from home.  My inspirational space. My craft has gotten so much more developed here. You won't regret spending your time at Freehold!" - Kristina Petroysan

"I just finished Rebecca Tourino's Playwriting Class.  I was blown away.  This remarkable woman led us through the most vigorous, thoughtful, safe and yet demanding class I could have imagined.  And fun.  If it's scary and fun, something's going on.  Rebecca set the stage for open and daring work and gave me the most solid and useful tools for critiquing that I have ever had laid out before.  And then she started the challenges - setting, characters, scenes. She started a freight train in my mind that kept rolling for 8 weeks. I could scarcely think about anything else. My play was born out of three exercises and suddenly it was dropping in chunks to me from the heavens. Each exercise she gave seemed at first glance not to fit with my plans. Of course that was the point. My play buckled and twisted and balked but I followed the assignment and something so much more interesting, so much deeper was born. It was truly a magnificent process and I will forever thank Rebecca for giving me the gift of this creative experience." - Susan McNally

"Anyone I've ever spoken to that has come out of Freehold has described it as life-changing  - and that's exactly what it did for me. I'm a better actor and person because of the Meisner courses with Robin Lynn Smith - best money I ever spent (the rest of the staff is absolutely amazing as well). Also, I honestly believe it's gotten me acting jobs. I'd spend the rest of my life taking classes at Freehold, if I could! [Do I sound like I'm drinking the Kool-Aid? I don't care - it is THAT phenomenal]." -Anna Giles

"I can't provide sufficient accolades for Freehold. I have taken a wide gamut of classes ranging from introductory, to the Meisner Progression and ETI (professional conservatory training). Other classes include playwriting, voice over, improv, mask, new play lab, and many others both for fun and advancing my knowledge and skills. My experiences have been great to outstanding, and I am proud and incredibly honored to be affiliated with Freehold as a board member. Freehold is a community for everyone, at all levels -- not just students and actors. Additionally, Freehold is active in community outreach bringing theatrical productions and training/mentorship to underserved communities like prisons, the homeless, and at-risk students to name a few." - Scott Maddock

"In addition to having extremely qualified industry professional teaching courses, the Freehold atmosphere is low-stress and so supportive. You learn that it is great to experiment and try new things and think new thoughts and that it is OK to fail. I would recommend a class to anyone interested in self-expression through theater or film." - Krista Erickson

"Freehold changed my life. The classes are taught with a kind of gentle ferocity that helped me push through my perceived limitations. Not only did I gain new and important skills, both professionally and personally, but also a new community and sense of purpose. I cannot recommend Freehold highly enough." -Kymberlee della Luce

"Freehold is a container for creative transformation. It is a place where artists can discover their authentic expression. Freehold's leadership in empowering artists to find their voice is evidence from the work they do in community - making the world a better place - one artist at a time. Strongly recommend Freehold." - Monish Gangwani

To check out Freehold's Fall Quarter 2014 classes, go to: