The Second Conservatory Company

The Arts — By on September 19, 2006 at 8:01 am

The Northeast Theatre presents The Second Conservatory Company, Professional Level Actor Training in Scranton.

PSA (30 Seconds)

Do you have a vocation as an actor? Perhaps you want to advance your training, or you?re looking for an affordable alternative to college. Maybe you need training to be accepted to the degree program of your dreams. Or maybe its just time to go back for the training you never got twenty years ago, so you can enjoy your art at a deeper level. For any of the above, check out The Northeast Theatre?s Conservatory Company, an intensive, 13-week, comprehensive training program for actors. The next term begins in February 2007. For complete information visit or call 570-558-1520. Professional theatre in the heart of Scranton.


The Northeast Theatre?s Conservatory Company is an ongoing program of professional level actor training suitable for both early career and mid-career actors: student, amateur, and professional. The training includes daily classes in voice and speech, Meisner-based acting, Feldenkreis-based movement, show business, and a wide variety of workshops in specialized aspects of the craft for a total of more than 330 hours of instruction in 13 weeks. All ages are welcome. Those who complete the first term are eligible to be considered for professional apprenticeships and more.


The Faculty Includes:

Mary Ethel Schmidt (acting): has been an Associate Faculty member of the American Academy for ten years and has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Lycoming College and Marywood University. She has an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts where she was the recipient of the Levin Scholarship for three years and where she studied Meisner with Bill Esper. She received the Revson Fellowship to study at The Directors Company and then served for four years there as an Associate Artistic Director. As an actor and director she has worked consistently in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and as playwright her plays have been performed across the United States. She has studied at the National Theatre in London and Classic Stage Company in New York and is a member of both Actors Equity and the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers. Page Clements (voice and speech): is an actress and private coach in New York. She is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, GA and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts/New York, receiving degrees in acting from both institutions. She was the recipient of the Wesleyan Woman of the Year Award in 1984. In 1990, she received the Charles Jehlinger Award for acting and Lawrence Langer Award in voice/speech, respectively from The American Academy, and was the first recipient of the Neil Simon Foundation Scholarship. She was also a member of the Academy’s prestigious third year repertory company, and then served as an associate professor of voice and speech at AADA for nine years. She has appeared in over forty productions in theatres across the country, including The Roundabout Theatre, The Northeast Theatre, The Metropolitan Playhouse, and The Ensemble Studio. Currently, she teaches dialects, voice/speech, and Shakespeare at the T. Schreiber Studio in NYC. She is a member of Actors Equity Association.Connie Rotunda (movement) – is a Guild-Certified FeldenkraisĀ® Practitioner, trained with David Zemach-Bersin and continues to deepen her understanding of the Method in her work as the training program practitioner and organizer of the NYC FeldenkraisĀ® Professional Training Program. She holds an MFA from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. A professional actor and director, she has worked regionally and off-Broadway. She has studied the Viewpoints with Anne Bogart & The SITI Company, contact improvisation with K. J. Holmes, and Sara Shelton Mann, and Linklater technique with Kristin Linklater, Andrea Haring & Rebecca DuMaine. She has taught actor movement at the FSU Asolo Conservatory, the Metro Playhouse, and the American Academy. David Zarko (show biz) – a professional director for thrity years and a theatre administrator for fifteen, he has been a member of the associate faculty at Long Island University (C.W. Post Campus), SUNY Old Westbury, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (New York Campus), and has taught workshops in colleges and universities across in this country, in Italy, and Lithuania. He is active with Kennedy Center / American College Theatre Festival as a respondent and workshop leader. He is the founding artistic director of The Metropolitan Playhouse of New York, and is currently producing artistic director of The Northeast Theatre. He has well over 100 professional directing credits, and as a playwright has had scripts produced around the country. Workshop leaders may include: Barbara Blackledge (Theatre Department Chair, Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Mark Medoff (Tony Awarding winning playwright, Emeritus Chair at New Mexico State University, screen writer, director, and actor), Don Wildman (Los Angeles based actor, writer and director, radio producer, commercial actor, movie actor), John Cariani (Tony nominated actor, award winning playwright), Zuppa del Giorno (international commedia troupe), and many others. When and Where

  • Audition Dates: Fall, 2006 – various dates in Scranton, New York, and Philadelphia
  • Program Dates: February 11 – May 24, 2007 (with a break the week of April 2)
  • Closing Production Series: May 23 – June 17, 2007
  • All classes, workshops, and performances take place in the Performance Space at the Jermyn, downtown Scranton, PA

Fee, Audition and Registration

  • Full Course Fee: $3,295
  • Auditions will be held in September, October, November, and December 2006
  • Deadline to sign up for an audition is on the 25th of each month prior
  • Audition appointments are announced the last five days of each month for the month following
  • Prospective students will be auditioned at the location closest to their residence
  • Tuition assistance may be available
  • For appointments and further information:, or call 570-558-1520 (if answered by voice mail, leave a message in box 2)

About The Northeast Theatre?s Conservatory Company

In the winter of 2003, when The Northeast Theatre offered its first weekend workshops in acting it was with the hope that they would grow into something more substantial. Those first workshops held at Keystone College attracted no more than five or six people each, and several had to be canceled for lack of enrollment. Gradually, with Keystone?s help, the workshops were better attended and the Conservatory did grow. Finally for the 2005-06 season, it blossomed into a ten-month training program with weekly classes in acting, and 20 weekend workshops in specialized acting technique. This season, the Theatre is taking it one step further.

“The Conservatory for 2007 will be a more intense version of what was offered last season,” explains producing artistic director David Zarko. Students will be offered more than 330 hours of professional level training from February though June. This will include 20 hours of classes each week in voice, speech, acting, movement, and the business of acting, Mondays through Wednesdays, with special skills workshops on Sunday and Monday evenings. In addition to formal instruction, there will be structured rehearsal time, production opportunities, and internship experience. Students who successfully complete the first term will be eligible for professional apprenticeships the following season.

The faculty has designed the program to suit a wide variety of individual needs and for people of all ages and many levels of experience, but there are a few specific categories of students for whom it is a particularly attractive opportunity.

For one, it is perfect for recent high school graduates who were unable to gain admission into a theatre program at a university — which have become increasingly competitive in the past few years. “Many young people of great talent and enthusiasm are being kept away from quality training,” says movement teacher Connie Rotunda, “and the Conservatory offers them an alternative. It will, first of all, increase their chances of being admitted to a desirable program should they decide to try again. But it may also give them the boost they need, which coupled with a year or two of apprentice work, might enable them to enter the profession without going the college route.”

Zarko elaborates: “If you are interested in being a professional actor, college isn?t always the best way to go. For one thing, it often puts you into the world with huge debts which represent a sometimes crippling burden to an actor trying to develop artistically. Another thing is that at 22 or 23, many agents in larger markets view you as being almost too old for them to consider taking as a client, and by the time you get the exposure you need to attract an agent, you?re 27 or 28. It?s certainly not impossible, but can be more difficult.” The Conservatory is designed to develop the actor’s craft, but it also affords graduates professional contacts, business training, and a professional resume, so when they start to audition they are well prepared for what they encounter.

But the Conservatory is not just for the young. “We say it’s for early-career actors,” says Zarko, “and that means anyone, of any age, who is becoming more serious about acting as a major aspect of their life.” That expands the relevance of the program to include those who have decided to change careers and want a relatively quick investigation of what it might mean to become an actor; or who have been performing as talented amateurs for years and want some formal training to make the experience more fulfilling; or to those who are mid-career, that is, professionals who feel the need to buff up their skills and broaden their artistic horizons.

“It also works for young people who aren’t sure they really want to act professionally but want to catch a glimpse what the world could look like as a professional actor. After a relatively small expense of time and money, they’ll have a much stronger idea of what their choices are, and can make larger decisions based on real experience.”

Admission to the Conservatory is by audition because the faculty believes that a prospective student must feel strongly enough about joining the program to put the time and effort into creating a really complete and representative audition. “It’s not so much a test of talent, as it is a test of resolve.” says acting instructor Mary Ethel Schmidt. The faculty truly believes that no one with real commitment and enthusiasm should be turned away, so long as they have some affinity for the art. A great talent makes the road easier, but even a little talent can blossom into something spectacular given the right nourishment.

Nourishment is what the Conservatory is about. “If a graduate decides, even after a year as an apprentice, that he wants to become a fire fighter, well, he’ll be a better one for having been trained as an actor,” says voice and speech teacher Page Clements. “Acting teaches you how to listen, how to respond truthfully, how to work with a team without losing your sense of self. What career isn’t enhanced by such things?” The Conservatory is designed to nourish those qualities, and to better each student’s experience in life, no matter what choices are made.

An audition can be arranged by visiting the Theatre’s web site (, clicking on “TNT Conservatory” and following the instructions outlined in “General Information”. Full information about the program can also be found on the web site. Prospective students can also call 570-558-1520 (if the call is answered by voice mail, they should leave a message in box 2.) Auditions will be held at the beginning of every month between September and December. Deadline for sign-up is the 25th of the month previous to an audition.

    1 Comment

  • Just a question says:

    Is the young actor able to earn equity credit towards AEA membership by participating in this program? Thank you.

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