Washington D.C.’s Studio Theatre
With four stages, an acting conservatory and a location in a thriving downtown location, the Studio Theatre is the premier cultural performance space for contemporary theatre in Washington, DC. Located at the corner of 14th and P Streets, NW – and in the neighborhood of Logan Circle, it has come to represent what one woman’s vision can do for the theatre. Founded in 1978 in a blighted neighborhood, Joy Zinoman had scouted for an industrial space that could be converted into an acting school which is known today as “The Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory.” It shared space two blocks from the current theatre complex which was a former hot-dog warehouse. The conservatory recently celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015 in a location that is now filled with fine restaurants, multi-million dollar condominiums and high-end retail stores.
Three years after the founding of the acting conservatory and joined by designer Russell Metheny and arts advocate Virginia Crawford, Ms. Zinoman moved the theater to its’ permanent space establishing The Studio Theatre. It started presenting provocative theatre and helped to begin the revitalization of the 14th street neighborhood.
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Ms. Zinoman told us when we spoke with her: “I love actors and actresses, and I had to create the Studio because there were two ideas I had to act upon when I returned from living in Asia with my husband for thirteen years where I taught acting and directed theatre. One was that working with Asian theatre in Thailand, Laos, Taiwan and Malaysia, and studying the Peking Opera at American University and having also studied the early Constantin Stanislavski method with drama teacher Alvina Krause at Northwestern University, I could see combining the two acting methods to offer an integrated and different approach to acting.”
“I created the acting conservatory to training actors and directors to their fullest artistic potential by offering a rigorous and disciplined schedule of classes. We’re able to offer those who study with us: The Actors Process, Principles of Realism, Character and Emotion, Shakespeare, Greek Tragedy, Comedy, Voice and the Alexander Technique.” She went on to tell us: “The three-year curriculum is meant to showcase the actor’s process and then enter the third year of the program. I retired from running the theatre in 2010, but I continue to direct the conservatory. I teach now only during the fall semester classes, and love to teach Advanced Scene Study Workshops on Shaw, Ibsen, Chekhov and another one on Beckett, Pinter, Albee and Mamet.
Studio’s acting conservatory is joined with the Studio Theatre, producing a rich and wide-ranging repertoire of provocative new writing from around the world alongside unique special events and inventive stagings of contemporary classics.
Devoted to artistic excellence, the Studio Theatre continues to strive to present audiences with extraordinary writing, sophisticated design and stunning performance. When we spoke with Associate Artistic Director Matt Torney, he told us: “The Studio Theatre remains committed to connecting actors and audience. The Studio produces ten productions a year and wants to present “truthful acting with extraordinary attention to detail. The Studio Theatre is a “theatre for actors” with the idea that “the craft of acting” is prized highly and the theatre tries to push the boundaries of storytelling. When you come to see a performance, you can expect to see a combination of “brilliant acting and provocative work.” The Studio is a place for actors to take their craft to the highest level. The combination of exceptional acting and an amazing play creates magic. The selection process is very comprehensive and a literary committee lead by the Artistic Director David Muse allows several hundred plays to be read before deciding on what our season will be.”
The 2015-2016 Main series began with “Chimerica” in September, “The Apple Family Cycle” running from October through December, “Between Riverside and Crazy” in January, “Moment” in March and “Hedda Gabler” in May. The Studio also has another series called Studio X which presents purposefully eclectic plays that will benefit from particularly intimate or immersive stagings. In September, “Animal” was presented, “Constellations” opens in February, “The Object Lesson” is presented in May and “Hand to God” opens in July 2016.
The Studio Theatre’s Community Outreach Program includes “Youth on Stage” offering scholarships to The Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory’s rigorous Young Actors Program to youth who have the interest and discipline to pursue performing arts training but lack the financial resources. For info: The Studio Theatre 1501 14th St., NW Washington, DC. (202) 232-7267, www.studiotheatre.org
TOP HAT by Maribee