What’s up fellow thespians! Happy New Year to you all! 2013 is going to be a great year!
Today I’m sharing with you a Q & A I did with Denise J. Hart, Executive Director of The Performing Arts Training Studio, a Washington DC nonprofit specializing in professional theatre training for adults and youth with an emphasis on Contemporary Acting and Playwriting. They also offer classes that help all people develop their creativity!
Q – Where is The Performing Arts Training Studio located?
We’re excited to have recently moved to the Columbia Heights/Pleasant Plains neighborhoods. We’re conveniently located at 733 Euclid Street NW about 1/2 block from Howard University and 6 blocks from the Shaw Green Line Metro stop. As you know, Columbia Heights has been experiencing a real boon of development and many have responded that they’re glad that something besides another restaurant or a bar has moved to the area.
Q – What kinds of people train at your studio?
Over the years we have helped hundreds of people from all walks of life to strengthen their skills – everyone from professional actors to newbies to the craft of acting and playwriting. Many of our acting students frequently work locally and also work in New York, Atlanta and LA for projects. For adults, the studio offers The Intrinsic Acting Method, a developmental training program that focuses on developing the actors total instrument. We pride ourselves on helping our students radically transform their ability to use imagination, intuition, body, voice and creativity in service to the world of the play.
We offer a developmental playwriting program for beginners to advanced playwrights. Our Playwrights Posse is an excellent workshop for developing the full length play.
Q – What’s your philosophy?
I believe that the theater is the ideal environment to help people learn to transform the world. Subsequently, our programs engage and help young people and adults to develop the capacity to use the theatrical creative process to expand their creative aptitude, analyze their world, learn effective problem solving, and develop cultural sensitivity.
Q – Talk about your team of Master Instructors.
Our Master Instructors are esteemed in their respective disciplines and hold our students to high standards. Most have the dual benefit of holding a degree in the craft as well as professional experience. As a result, students receive a strong foundation of theory and experiential and applied technique. Students who train at The Performing Arts Training Studio discover more meaning and value in their careers and craft as they learn how to better connect to themselves, their creativity, the text and the world of the stage.
Our Master Instructors are experts at providing training that helps the artist rid themselves of poor habits which has a transformative impact on the theatre artist’s approach to their technique and their ability to work in the industry.
Q – What’s the price range for your classes and workshops?
Our adult semester class tuition is a reasonable $150 for a 5 week semester while our kids acting classes (ages 5-16) are $260 per semester. We also offer musical theatre summer camps for kids. Adults participate in a culminating showcase performance at the end of the semester for invited special guests and friends and family, while youth share their growth with a free performance for family and friends at the end of each semester.
Q – What’s your background? How long have you been Executive Director?
I have been involved in the performing arts for 30 years, since my days in my home town of Omaha, Nebraska performing at the Center Stage Theater. I’ve studied dance, acting, directing and playwriting as well as visual art.
In the early 90’s, at Howard University, I studied under the legendary Vera J. Katz who remains my mentor and friend to this day. In addition, I received my MFA in theatre from Sarah Lawrence College where I benefited greatly from the college’s close proximity to NYC. Over the years I have graced the stage in the DC area performing with Wooly Mammoth Theatre, The Alliance Theatre , African Continuum Theatre and Arena Stage, as well as playing the recurring role of Miss Anna on HBO’s The Wire.
I’m a tenured professor of theatre at Howard University and at this stage in my career, my heart’s passion is teaching and helping people ascend to their next creative level. I have been an Executive Director for 19 years and enjoy the creativity it requires and balancing the left and right brain energy that the role requires.
Q – What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Helping people to access the highest creativity that exists inside them. My passion is ignited when someone experiences an “AHA” moment and their perspective and abilities ascends to their next level. My greatest joy is knowing that something I said or did helped that person to make a difference in their own lives and the world.
Address: 733 Euclid St., NW 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20001