What is The Actors Workout?

The Actors Workout is an ongoing class for experienced actors offered in association with the Guthrie Theater.  Focusing on the growth and development of the individual artist and presented in a supportive and challenging environment, the class deals with issues relevant to an actor’s creative process as well as various working circumstances. It is designed to free the actor’s creative spirit and to nurture innovation, openness and courage. Scene work from film and theater is the primary focus with critiques following.

The Actors Workout is not for beginning actors or those under 18. It is primarily geared for actors with significant working experience or extensive professionally oriented training. This is a continuous class which gives the actor the ability to have a place to work on an ongoing basis.

What is the basis of the acting instruction?

This training is based in the mainstream of the American Acting Tradition.  It emphasizes the moment-to-moment real behavior of real people in real situations, experiencing real feelings and emotions.  It encourages any and all imaginative, creative and personal approaches to achieving that end.  It is not intended to foster a particular method of acting or to replace the individual approach an actor may have evolved from previous training or experience.  The aim is to build and expand upon what the actor already has going.  As any acting teacher is a product of the teachers and artists with whom he has worked, a look at Raye Birk’s bio will give some additional insight on his teaching perspective.

Who teaches The Actors Workout?

Raye Birk created and teaches all of The Actors Workout classes.  Additionally, from time to time, The Workout will host Guest Artists.  The aim is to bring theater artists who live and work in the Twin Cities, as well as those who may be working here temporarily, to meet and share with the members of The Workout.  Past Guest Artists have included:  Andrew Wade, internationally renown voice coach and Shakespeare authority; Thomas Prattki, former Head of Curriculum at the Lecoq School in Paris and currently the founder and director of the London International School for Performing Arts (LISPA);  Lucinda Holshue, master teacher of the Roy Hart Vocal Technique;  Jon Ferguson Twin City director and master teacher of physical theatre.  Guest Artists who have shared with the Workout students “In Dialogue” include: John Miller-Stephany, Associate Artistic Director and Head of Casting at the Guthrie Theater; actors Peter Michael Goetz, Helen Carey, Sally Wingert, Colman Domingo, Kristine Nielsen.

What happens in the class?

Scene work is the barre work of acting: it is the arena where the most dynamic growth happens. The Actors Workout addresses any and all elements relating to the professional life and development of the actor.  While this may include issues relating to casting, castability, auditions, career administration, rehearsal strategies, professional ethics and the like, the primary focus is scene work. The Actors Workout is a place for actors to bring work, share it with others, and receive feedback from a single source with an eye to the individual actor’s growth and development.

A class will usually consist of 3 scenes or exercises.  Each will be followed by a critique.  The critique is recorded and made available online at The Actors Workout website.

Who is in the class?

The Actors Workout is open to actors who have, by virtue of training and/or experience, developed some reliable sense of how they go about doing what they do as actors.  It is not for beginning actors. The make up of the class is as wide and diverse as the world of the theatre itself.

A special note to writers and directors: There has been increased interest on the part of directors and writers to join the class as a way of enhancing their understanding of and their ability to communicate with actors.  The Actors Workout has proved to be an excellent opportunity for that.  So, though directors and writers may not have the acting background outlined above, serious commitment to the goals of the class will suffice

When and where does The Actors Workout meet?

The Actors Workout is an on-going class that meets every Monday from 1:30 to 5:00 at the Guthrie Theater.   The class does take an occasional hiatus announced several weeks in advance.

How much does it cost?

Every effort is made to keep The Actors Workout affordable.  The cost is $30.00 per class.  For purposes of bookkeeping, the classes are sold as a block of four classes for $120.00.  There are some general policies relating to absences and how soon the individual classes must be used, that are explained in “The Actors Workout Policies & Guidelines” on this site.

How do I get in?

Admission to The Actors Workout is by interview and audition. Go to the “Contact Information” or “Sign Up” link on this site to find out how to book an Audition/Interview.