News & Events

HB Studio Hosts Virtual Open House for Interested Students on November 19th, 2020

Want to pursue a career in acting and unsure about how to get started? HB Studio faculty members and alumni offer guidance and answer your most pressing questions on getting started in the field of acting in an intimate online forum held on Zoom.

This is a forum intended for those new to the field and new to HB Studio.

Getting Your Start in Acting:

A Virtual Open House for Interested Students

4:00-5:30PM, Thursday, November 19, 2020 | RSVP HERE

Space for the Open House is limited and available on a first-come basis by reservation.

Please RSVP early.

An introduction to the HB Studio training philosophy and its flexible and progressive course structure will be followed by an open discussion with distinguished members of the Studio’s faculty. The HB Studio faculty is comprised of practicing theater artists recognized for their professional work in performance in film and theater, both on and off the stage. Attendees are encouraged to raise questions and make connections among peers and mentors.

The Uta Hagen Institute at HB Studio Launches One-Week Hagen Actor’s Lab Online

The Uta Hagen Institute at HB Studio has launched a one-week actor training program online. Applications are currently being accepted to the Hagen Actor’s Lab Online, which will be held over Zoom, January 3-10, 2021.

The Hagen Actor’s Lab Online is an intensive week of online artistic practice and immersion into legendary actress and acting teacher Uta Hagen’s exercises and approach to script analysis. Offered by HB Studio, where Hagen taught her professional classes for over 50 years, the Lab provides grounded and embodied physical solo practice for the actor.

The Hagen Actor’s Lab Online offers an intensive training week for actors to maintain continuity in their practice at a time when much work in the industry has been interrupted. Actors from across the U.S. and abroad that are seeking an immersive training program are encouraged to apply.

The program is led by Carol Rosenfeld, founder of the Uta Hagen Institute at HB Studio and a student of Uta Hagen.

Rosenfeld will lead acting technique, Mark Nelson will guide script analysis and scene study, and Theresa McElwee will provide vocal exercises. Breaks and guided warm-ups will be offered throughout each Lab session to give actors a break from their screens to refresh, breathe, ground and recenter.

Hagen Actor’s Lab Online Schedule:

  • Meet and Greet: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021
  • Lab Sessions: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, Jan. 4, 6, 8, and 10, 2021
  • Wrap-up: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021

The application deadline is November 12, 2020. Upon acceptance into the Lab, participants must register in full by December 10, 2020 to secure their spot in the Lab. Learn more about the Hagen Actor’s Lab Online.

The Wall Street Journal On Actors Watching Their Work With HB Teacher Lisa Pelikan

Many actors have avoided seeing themselves perform until now

When the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of Americans to shelter at home in March, Jamie-Lynn Sigler chose to do something she had avoided for decades: watch herself in her most famous role on television.

“I was actually way better than I thought,” Ms. Sigler said after viewing the 1999 pilot of “The Sopranos,” the hit HBO series in which she plays Meadow Soprano, the teenage daughter of mobster Tony Soprano. She said she’s now watching an episode of the 86-part show every week or so.

For many actors, the idea of seeing themselves perform is flat-out unbearable. They have an aversion that industry observers say is due to a mix of obsessive self-criticism and fear of losing the confidence required to pull it off in future roles.

“You lose precious innocence when you watch yourself,” said Lisa Pelikan, an acting teacher at New York’s HB Studio.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.

HB Studio Hosts Virtual Open House for Interested Students on August 19th, 2020

Want to pursue a career in acting and unsure about how to get started? HB Studio faculty members offer guidance and answer your most pressing questions on getting started in the field of acting in an intimate online forum held on Zoom.

This is a forum intended for those new to the field and new to HB Studio.

Getting Your Start in Acting:

A Virtual Open House for Interested Students

2:00-3:30PM, Wednesday, August 19, 2020 | RSVP HERE

Space for the Open House is limited and available on a first-come basis by reservation.

Please RSVP early.

An introduction to the HB Studio training philosophy and its flexible and progressive course structure will be followed by an open discussion with distinguished members of the Studio’s faculty. The HB Studio faculty is comprised of practicing theater artists recognized for their professional work in performance in film and theater, both on and off the stage. Attendees are encouraged to raise questions and make connections among peers and mentors.

 

Sign Up Now for Online Fall Term Classes!

Fall Term Weekly Classes:

  • All Classes Offered Online, in two 5-week Parts: With the exception of our Playwriting and Playwriting Technique classes, all Fall Term classes are offered in two 5-week parts, Part A and Part B. A $15 discount will apply when registering for both parts:
    • Part A: Sep 14 – Oct 18, 2020
    • Part B: Oct 19 – Nov 22, 2020
  • Browse Classes and Register Online. Classes available in:
  • Audit Online Classes: All classes will be held online via Zoom, allowing artists to train from any location. We encourage you to try virtual learning with us by auditing a class.
  • Classes Tailored to Online Space: HB Studio will tailor its teaching and the topic to the virtual space, taking advantage of the medium’s unique creative possibilities. Please check each course page for more information on how teachers will conduct specific classes online, and read more about HB’s online classes here.

Fall Term Workshops:

  • Special-focus topics, with short & long term options
  • Check back often; workshops updated regularly
  • Browse Workshops and Register Now

Discounts:

UNION DISCOUNT*: AEA, AGVA, AGMA, SAG/AFTRA, WGA and Dramatist Guild Union Members 10% OFF Fall Term Weekly Classes. Discount will automatically apply for HB-verified Union Members. To become verified, present your active union membership card in the registration office or email a copy to registration@hbstudio.org.

*Discounts valid for weekly classes only; not valid for workshops, programs or merchandise. Discounts cannot be combined nor applied retroactively. Union discount applies for Classes taken by cardholders only and cannot be used to enroll family or friends.

Auditions and Prerequisites:

AUDITIONS: Interested in our upper level classes? Audition & consult with a panel of HB’s faculty. For details and sign up info, visit Auditions & Prerequisites.

REEL SUBMISSIONS: Are you a working professional seeking a place to practice? Submit your reel for placement into our studio practice classes.

HB Studio Committed to Supporting Students on F-1 Visas

Dear HB Artists, Friends, and Colleagues,

We were shocked and disappointed to learn of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) July 6th directive which states that, starting in Fall 2020, international students on F-1 visas whose classwork is wholly online will no longer be allowed to remain in or enter the United States. The news was sudden and is raising confusion and concern across the educational sector. New York State has not yet cleared New York City’s cultural and educational organizations for reopening. Our theater work requires interactive and vocal practices that amplify the transmission of the aerosols that are known to spread COVID-19. 

HB Studio is resolutely committed to supporting the international students affected by this policy. We will do everything we can to ensure that we are meeting SEVP standards and requirements and that students are able to continue their studies at HB without interruption. The artists from abroad who work and study with us are essential to the character, culture and ethic of our Studio, of our city, and of the world we wish to foster. We are working with our colleagues in the academic community to understand the full implications of the directive and to frame reasonable and safe solutions for “hybrid” (online + on-site) study for our full-time students. Our International Student Office will help address your questions and concerns, and we will keep you informed as we learn more. In adjusting to these guidelines HB will put the health and safety of its students, and its community of artists, first. As previously planned, HB Studio will host its regular suite of studio classes online.

In responding to the current pandemic, the cultural and educational communities have worked tirelessly and responsibly to adapt their programs in accordance with public health guidance and the evolving understanding of the virus. HB Studio joins its University colleagues in urging the Department of Homeland Security to continue a more flexible approach to visas for international students for the Fall 2020 semester.

Sincerely,

Edith Meeks

Executive & Artistic Director

Sign Up Now for Late Summer Online Classes

Summer Term “Part B” starts July 20th, and consists of five-week Classes and Workshops. You may join Part B classes without having taken Part A, so browse these late summer offerings and sign up now:

Summer Term “Part B” Weekly Classes:

Summer Term Workshops:

  • Special-focus topics, with short & long term options
  • Check back often; workshops updated regularly
  • Browse Workshops and Register Now

Discount:

UNION DISCOUNT*: AEA, AGVA, AGMA, SAG/AFTRA, WGA and Dramatist Guild Union Members receive 10% OFF Summer Term Weekly Classes. Discount will automatically apply for HB-verified Union Members. To become verified, present your active union membership card in the registration office or email a copy to registration@hbstudio.org.

*Discounts valid for weekly classes only; not valid for workshops, programs or merchandise. Discounts cannot be combined nor applied retroactively. Union discount applies for Classes taken by cardholders only and cannot be used to enroll family or friends.

Auditions and Prerequisites:

AUDITIONS: Interested in our upper level classes? Audition & consult with a panel of HB’s faculty, or send in an online placement submission. For details and sign up info, visit Auditions & Prerequisites.

REEL SUBMISSIONS: Are you a working professional seeking a place to practice? Submit your reel for placement into our studio practice classes.

HB Studio’s Fall Term Held Online

Dear HB Studio Community:

As you may be aware, New York state is rolling out its phased NY Forward business reopening plan, which holds arts, education, and entertainment industries until the final reopening phase. Additional eligibility for reopening will be determined by health metrics for our region. We are also reviewing CDC guidelines for reopening of schools, OSHA guidelines for workplaces, and the developing Actors Equity Association standards for safe work conditions for actors. Much is still uncertain, and we will continue to stay abreast of the rapidly evolving situation.

Safety remains our primary concern.
 Much of our work is physical and actively vocal, and thoughtful restrictions and safeguards need to be established before we can convene again at the Studio. There is a risk associated with having multiple groups moving in and out of the same spaces, and so we need to be attentive to class sizes. Our reopening planning is an intensive process and requires our ongoing attention and assessment.

Following much consideration as we look to the weeks and months ahead, HB Studio will:

We remain hopeful for a return to the Studio at the start of next year. Decisions regarding our return must follow the New York state mandates as well as the best practices befitting our organization and our profession. When we do return, it will be with arms (safely) wide open in celebration!

In the meantime, we are grateful for the opportunity to stay connected to our artistic community and to discover new perspectives and approaches through our work online.

In our conversations with industry leaders, we will continue to evaluate how we can best serve the needs of our artists while meeting the demands of the ever-changing business. We would like to hear from you, too. Please reach out and let us know how HB Studio can be there for you during this time.

If you haven’t yet done so, please consider trying virtual learning by auditing an online class in our Summer Term, which begins on June 13th. More information about our online offerings can be found here. We look forward to seeing you there.

Stay well,

Edith Meeks
Executive & Artistic Director

Sign Up Now for Summer Online Classes

Summer Term Weekly Classes:

  • All Classes Offered Online, in Two 5-week Parts: With the exception of our Playwriting Technique class, all Summer Term classes are offered in two 5-week parts, Part A and Part B. A $15 discount will apply when registering for both parts:
    • Part A: June 13 – July 19
    • Part B: July 20 – Aug 23
  • Browse Classes and Register Online. Classes available in:
  • Audit Online Classes: All classes will be held online via Zoom, allowing artists to train from any location. We encourage you to try virtual learning with us by auditing a class.
  • Classes Tailored to Online Space: HB Studio will tailor its teaching and the topic to the virtual space, taking advantage of the medium’s unique creative possibilities. Please check each course page for more information on how teachers will conduct specific classes online.

Summer Term Workshops:

  • Special-focus topics, with short & long term options
  • Check back often; workshops updated regularly
  • Browse Workshops and Register Now

Discounts:

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT*: Register for Summer Term Weekly Classes with code SUMMER20W and receive 10% through May 30, 2020.

UNION DISCOUNT*: AEA, AGVA, AGMA, SAG/AFTRA, WGA and Dramatist Guild Union Members receive 20% OFF Summer Term Weekly Classes through May 30, 2020, and 10% OFF thereafter. Discount will automatically apply for HB-verified Union Members. To become verified, present your active union membership card in the registration office or email a copy to registration@hbstudio.org.

*Discounts valid for weekly classes only; not valid for workshops, programs or merchandise. Discounts cannot be combined nor applied retroactively. Union discount applies for Classes taken by cardholders only and cannot be used to enroll family or friends.

Auditions and Prerequisites:

AUDITIONS: Interested in our upper level classes? Audition & consult with a panel of HB’s faculty, or send in an online placement submission. For details and sign up info, visit Auditions & Prerequisites.

REEL SUBMISSIONS: Are you a working professional seeking a place to practice? Submit your reel for placement into our studio practice classes.

The New York Times Covers HB Studio’s Transition to Virtual Learning

‘The World Goes Away’ and Other Lessons From Online Acting Class at HB Studio

‘The World Goes Away’ and Other Lessons From Online Acting Class

Remote learning may not be ideal, but Zoom encourages acting students to be more nuanced, more private and more intimate.

By

Christian Kelly-Sordelet was leading his HB Studio class onstage combat through leaps and tumbles. He demonstrated uppercuts and parries, and how to pretend to be hit. He showed how not to obscure your face from the camera when making a slashing motion with a stage knife.

That last bit, useful for movie and television work, was particularly apropos: This was a Zoom class and students were watching on their screens. And with everyone stuck at home, the weaponry got creative. There was a rolled-up magazine, something that looked suspiciously like a pen and a particularly intimidating spatula.

Like so many social interactions these days, acting classes have moved online. This was, at first, daunting to even the most experienced teachers.

“We were all really scared,” Austin Pendleton said of his fellow instructors at HB Studio, in Greenwich Village. “We had tutorials every day.”

There have been complications — in addition to worrying about their lines, actors now must troubleshoot frozen screens and disagreeable laptop mics — but for many the online experience is proving challenging in a good way. “I think I’m learning a lot from this — I just don’t yet know what it is,” added Pendleton, who has been with HB Studio since 1969.

Reacting to a scene partner’s body language and expressions is an integral part of learning how to act. Zoom, clearly, isn’t optimal in that department. But certain rules were followed in the classes I sat in on: Students turned off their audio and video feed unless they were performing a scene. When two people rehearsed a scene, they disabled their self view so they could see only their partner. And students were finding ways to make the most of it.

Portraying the closeted headmistresses in an excerpt from Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour,” Krista Magnusson and Amanda Fox used their surroundings and props: Magnusson arranged books on a shelf, Fox looked as if she were grading papers or writing down notes.

“Anything you play is always about the other character,” Pendleton said after the class. “This is where Zoom helps because all you see onscreen is your partner. The world goes away.”

“I was surprised in yesterday’s class by how connected I felt to my scene partner,” said Magnusson, who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She had studied with Pendleton in 2018, and when HB Studio announced its spring term would be online, she jumped at the opportunity to work with him again. (Another HB alum, Lawrence Ong, attends Carol Rosenfeld’s course from Shanghai, where the three-hour sessions start at his 10 p.m. The virus may have stopped international travel but it has not stopped international exchange.)

New York Times covers HB Studio Online Acting Classes
Mercedes Ruehl, third row middle, teaches her class on Zoom. She said her students instinctively pitch their performances to a small screen, adding nuance and intimacy.

Some instructors have focused on the intimacy that Zoom creates — the idea of getting closer is built into the name, after all.

Mercedes Ruehl, the Tony and Academy Award-winning actress, said her HB Studio students “instinctively pitched to the small screen so they became more nuanced, more private, more intimate as actors.”

“The flick of an eye can make a difference,” she added. “I didn’t have to say anything — they were like homing pigeons.”

An essential part of any educational process is feedback, and that seemed to work online much the way it works in person, dependent on each instructor’s style. Pendleton tended to give notes in the form of anecdotes pulled from his extensive acting and directing career, leaving it to the student to figure out how the anecdotes could be applied. Ruehl was more granular, giving directions on inflection and rhythm, and even where to look. When a student was supposed to whisper and slipped into a regular speaking voice, Ruehl requested the exercise be repeated; she also invited comments from her group.

Online teaching actually suits the acting pedagogy of Uta Hagen, the influential actress and author who was a mainstay at HB Studio for decades. She insisted on “psychological realism and using the self authentically,” Edith Meeks, HB’s executive and artistic director, said an email. “We use the real physical, emotional, sensory relationships of our own lives to test the authenticity of the relationships we create to tell the story of the play. Zoom does allow an intimacy that lets us see into one another’s spaces.”

While nobody is arguing that remote technology can make up for people sharing a room — a vital part of acting, even for film or television — it allows for flights of fancy that are not dissimilar to performing in front of a green screen.

“We were doing some Ibsen and someone put a picture of a fjord as their background,” said Evan Yionoulis, the Richard Rodgers director of the drama division at Juilliard, adding that students were even finding ways to do some tricks: “Somebody spills water on one side and the splash comes in another square.”

But Yionoulis said that class is still “about doing the work of acting — you can really tell if somebody is talking and listening, even on Zoom.”

At least the HB folks knew what they were getting themselves into; they started the spring term directly on Zoom. At Juilliard and scores of other schools across the country, faculty and students had to adjust quickly.

Read the full article on HB Studio at The New York Times.