News & Events

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.

Fall 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 Fall Term Weekly Classes with code FALL20W and receive 10% OFF through August 31, 2020.

UNION DISCOUNT*: AEA, AGVA, AGMA, SAG/AFTRA, WGA and Dramatist Guild Union Members 20% OFF Fall Term Weekly Classes through August 31, 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. 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.

 

HB Studio’s Summer Term Held Online

Dear HB Studio community:

The past weeks have brought unprecedented challenges to our Studio and to our community of artists. I am deeply grateful to all of you for your flexibility, determination, and for the willing and creative spirit with which you have grasped the virtual alternatives we have to continue our work together. 

Even as New York debates the schedule for reopening businesses, it is becoming clear that we will need more time and care before we can safely resume activity in our theaters and studios. Keeping with other cultural institutions and universities, HB Studio will hold our Summer Term of classes online and will cancel the 2020 Hagen Summer Intensive. 

We hope to be back at our home on Bank Street this fall. A careful decision on this will follow in the coming weeks, as more clarity on our shared situation is made known.

The work we do is intimate, and the safety of our community must come first. Our training is all about fitting actions to circumstances. Together, we will discover creative and meaningful ways to adapt. 

We are pleased to offer a host of 5-week online classes and workshops beginning this week. Enrollment is open for these classes, and on May 1st, registration will open for our Summer Term. Audits are encouraged for those wanting to test the waters of the virtual classroom.

We are faced with much uncertainty, but with it, opportunity as well. As we look ahead, we know one thing is certain: the virtual connections we build are here to stay.

For the first time in our 75 years, artists are able to engage with us from across the globe. What a wonderful and unexpected gift, to be able to connect in this way, to broaden and reimagine our creative workspace.

We recognize that our success depends not only on our ability to be open and agile, but also on our community’s willingness to join us. We call upon alumni and longtime friends, and warmly welcome those for whom training at HB is now made possible for the first time. 

Please consider joining us in class or supporting HB artists by making a contribution. Help us support each other and keep our community of artists thriving. 

With much gratitude,

Edith Meeks

Executive & Artistic Director

5-Week Online Classes & Workshops – Late Spring 2020

Join us for upcoming Spring Term “Part B” 5-week classes and workshops, held online via Zoom Conferencing: 

Acting 

Actuar en Español (Parte B) with Maria Fontanals & Pablo Andrade | May 5, 2020 – June 2, 2020 | Tuesdays, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Acting with the Camera 3: Skill Integration for Film (Part B) with Lisa Pelikan | May 9, 2020 – June 6, 2020 | Saturdays, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Scene Study Studio Practice with Jessica Hecht | May 7, 2020 – June 4, 2020 | Thursdays, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Scene Study Studio Practice (Invitational – Part B) with Mercedes Ruehl | May 7, 2020 – June 4, 2020 | Thursdays, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Movement 

The Art of Transformation (Part B) with Janice Orlandi | May 6, 2020 – June 3, 2020 | Wednesdays, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Stage Combat (Part B) with Christian Kelly-Sordelet | May 5, 2020 – June 2, 2020 | Tuesdays, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Workshops 

Lanford Wilson Scene Study (Part B) with Austin Pendleton | May 4, 2020 – June 8, 2020 | Mondays, 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Uta Hagen’s Acting Process (Part B) with Carol Rosenfeld | May 6, 2020 – June 3, 2020 | Wednesdays, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Singing Sondheim with Lonny Price | April 30, 2020 – May 28, 2020 | Thursdays, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm

Movement for Actors with Michelle Uranowitz | May 2, 2020 – May 30, 2020 | Saturdays, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

HB Studio will tailor our teaching and the topic to the virtual space and explore that creatively with our students. We hope not to stay in cyberspace for long for most of our classes, but while we’re there, we’re going to take advantage of the opportunity to get to know its possibilities. Just as on camera work is different from live performance in the theater or studio, the virtual sphere is a compelling new place for us to learn to play. Please check each course page for more information on how teachers will conduct specific classes online.

Those registered for online classes will be contacted via email with instructions on how to connect to your class via Zoom. You will need a device (computer, laptop, phone, tablet) with an internet connection. View this tutorial on how to join a Zoom meeting. We look forward to seeing you online!

Before your class, please review our Zoom User Guide for Students.

Union Discount: Union Members receive 10% OFF Spring Term classes.  The Union discount will automatically apply for HB-verified Union Members. To become verified, present your union membership card in the registration office or email a copy to registration. Discounts valid for classes only; not valid for workshops, programs or merchandise. Discounts cannot be combined nor applied retroactively. Union discount available to AEA, AGVA, AGMA, SAG/AFTRA, WGA and Dramatist Guild Union Members.

HB Recommends: Virtual Performances, Discussions, and Opportunities for Artists

Now more than ever we need engagement and support. In this time of isolation, we encourage you to stay connected and engaged with the field and with your craft. HB Studio has compiled a list of online performance opportunities, live-streamed performances, discussions with artists, and events for actors and theater-makers to explore. We will continue to update our list of recommendations as more opportunities become available (last updated July 10, 2020).

Newly Launched: RESET Theatre Coalition

Conch Shell Productions, in collaboration with Braata Productions and Kumu Kahua Theater, has formed RESET Theatre Coalition, which is committed to presenting new works by American playwrights – of African, Caribbean, Native American,  Latin American, Central American, Asian, European, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Polynesian descent – that will inspire a RESET in America.

Melissa Errico’s TWO SPRING SONGS FOR SUMMER

HB Teacher Melissa Errico released TWO SPRING SONGS FOR SUMMER available to listen on Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music.

Watch PERISCOPE by Ryan William Downey, directed by Theresa Buchheister

HB Teacher Ryan William Downey‘s play PERISCOPE, directed by HB Teacher Theresa Buchheister, will be presented along with OUT (123.73) by The Million Underscores (and featuring HB Teacher Michelle Uranowitz) on July 12, 2020.

Webinars from The Actors Fund

Join The Actor’s Fund for a webinar on career uncertainty amid the pandemic on Wednesday, July 15.

SEGAL TALKS: Paul Pryce: an update on the situation for theatre artists in New York City

Watch the interview with HB Teacher Paul Pryce, from the HowlRound TV network which aired at 12PM EST on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

Austin Pendleton discusses Scene Study Classes on Zoom with American Theatre

With ‘The Minutes’ on hold, Pendleton is passing time with ‘The American Clock’ and Zoom scene study classes at HB Studio. Read the interview.

Lorraine Hansberry’s LES BLANCS Available for Home Streaming

An archival recording of Lorraine Hansberry’s LES BLANCS, directed by Yaël Farber, will stream beginning July 2. This rarely seen drama confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution when a family and a post-colonial African nation fall apart under the pressure to determine their own identity. Danny Sapani, Sheila Atim, Siân Phillips, and Tunji Kasim star. More details on the National Theatre at Home lineup here.

HOLA Talks

The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) presents a series of webinars and discussions for actors and performance artists on topics ranging from screenwriting to social media management for artists. HOLA Talks are offered weekly.

HB Connects: Recommendations from HB Student Amanda Enzo

#HBConnects is a new series that features the many voices of HB – alumni, faculty, students, friends and colleagues. This week, we highlight Actress and HB Student Amanda Enzo.

READ
Voices of a People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove
Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration-and How to Achieve Real Reform by John Pfaff
The Birth of Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of Stephen Foster by Rhae Lynn Barnes
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

WATCH
Black Women’s Representation in Classic Hollywood Cinema, a presentation by Amanda Enzo
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, a 2015 film by Stanley Nelson Jr.
A Huey P. Newton Story, a 2001 film by Spike Lee
Time: The Kalief Browder Story, a 2017 Netflix docuseries
When They See Us, a 2019 Netflix miniseries
American Son, a 2019 film by Kenny Leon
Malcolm X, a 1992 film by Spike Lee
Who Killed Malcom X?, a 2020 Netflix docuseries