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Conservatory


The FSU/Asolo Conservatory is committed to anti-racism and to eradicating racism and racial bias in all forms. Our faculty and staff are preparing strategies to better serve our BIPOC students, artists, audiences and communities. 


The FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training is a three-year graduate program culminating in a Master of Fine Arts degree. Only twelve students are chosen each year from the thousands who audition nationwide to work in a program that combines rigorous classroom training with guest artist workshops and professional production experience.

Upon graduation, all students are eligible to join Actors’ Equity Association and enter the ranks of this country’s most highly regarded professional artists. Graduates of our program have appeared on and off Broadway, in regional theatres, in feature films and on television. The program was initiated by the Florida State University School of Theatre in Tallahassee in 1968 and moved to Sarasota five years later to establish a permanent relationship with the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

Application

No formal application is necessary before the Audition. 

 

After receiving and accepting an offer from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, you will receive a Conservatory application and instructions for the FSU admissions process.

 

To be eligible for admission and an assistantship, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the last two years of college work or an acceptable score on the combined verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination taken within the last 5 years.

Audition Process

The first step in the application process is the Audition (either through URTA or a Private Audition). No University or Conservatory application should be started before receiving an official offer from the Conservatory Director.

 

PRIVATE AUDITION AND INTERVIEW 

Private auditions are 20 minutes each and guarantee an opportunity to present work (two contrasting monologues: one classical and one contemporary) and interview with our faculty. The fee for a private audition is $50.00.

 

To request a Private Audition, please visit: https://tickets.theatre.fsu.edu/asolo

 

After paying the $50 audition fee, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to submit your headshot, resume and audition preferences. You will receive a final confirmation email from the Conservatory with your audition date and time.

 

Requests for private auditions will be accepted beginning October 3, 2022. Space is limited and will be filled on a first-come basis.

 

2023 PRIVATE AUDITION DATES

  • NEW YORK CITY: January 21 & 22, 2023
  • CHICAGO: January 29 & 30, 2023
  • VIRTUAL (ZOOM): February 6, 2023

 

THE UNIVERSITY/RESIDENT THEATRE ASSOCIATION (U/RTA) UNIFIED AUDITIONS

U/RTA auditions allow students to audition for more than 40 different universities and resident theatre companies at one time for one fee.  To learn more about the auditions, contact the U/RTA office in New York at 212.221.1130 or visit their website at urta.com.

 

After a candidate receives an offer from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, they must apply for admission to the FSU Graduate School. Any other questions about the audition/admission process can be answered by calling 941.351.9010 Ext. 2316 or by emailing jcourtemanche@fsu.edu.

Brochure

Curriculum

THE FIRST YEAR 

The first year focuses on establishing a foundation in acting, voice, movement and text analysis. The training emphasizes an action-based method, supplying the student with a system of acting that they may be able to utilize throughout their training. During the year, students are not cast in productions to assure full concentration on these fundamental processes. First-year students also begin their relationship with the Asolo Repertory Theatre by serving as understudies for the professional season.

CURRICULUM

Acting: Principles of acting technique, intensive work on the actor’s instrument, beginning scene study in contemporary realism, characterization. 

Voice: Fundamentals of voice production, phonetics, articulation, speech, singing.

Movement: Sensory awareness, movement fundamentals, circus skills, impulse and action, combat and dance. 

Dramatic Analysis: Techniques of textual analysis of dramatic literature, with a focus on methods useful to the actor. 

Rehearsal and Performance: Understudy roles with Asolo Rep.


THE SECOND YEAR

The second year builds on the discoveries of the first, but the focus shifts to Shakespeare. The curriculum begins with developing a deep personal connection to the text, then moves on to partnering skills, actor-audience relationship, rhetoric, structure of the verse, sonnet, and first folio work. The Second-year students will learn stagecraft skills as they pertain to various stage configurations, and during the latter part of the year will explore how these techniques can also be applied to the performance of modern works. Students in their second year perform roles in the four-play Cook Theatre season, each production of which is chosen to provide the opportunity for students to explore the acting techniques being covered in class in front of a live and appreciative audience. This performance series is presented in the 161-seat Jane B. Cook Theatre as part of the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Each play is chosen specifically for the casting possibilities in the second year class.

CURRICULUM

Acting: The classical repertory, including the plays of ancient Greece, Shakespeare and Shaw. 

Voice: Verse forms, scansion, language structure analysis, dialects, advanced work on vocal instrument, continued work in singing.

Movement: Object work, physical research and characterization, period style, self staging, advanced work in movement fundamentals, circus skills, impulse and rhythm, dance and combat.

Rehearsal and Performance: Roles in the Cook Theatre season.

THE LONDON STUDY PROGRAM 

During May and June of the second year, FSU/Asolo Conservatory students take part in an intensive training session in the London Study Program, one of the most exciting aspects of the Conservatory curriculum. While living at the Florida State University London Study Center, located in the historic Bloomsbury area of central London, the students work with master teachers and internationally known artists including Mark Wheatley, Patsy Rodenburg and Charmian Hoare. The training in London continues the second-year concentration on the classic repertoire with special focus on Shakespeare. In addition, students work on developing original material and exploring the dramaturgy of new work. The experience not only provides the students with concentrated acting and voice classes taught by master British teachers, but also allows the students to immerse themselves in the theatrical and cultural life of London.


THE THIRD YEAR 

In their final year of the program, students become associate members of the professional resident acting company of Asolo Rep. Because Asolo Rep produces in rotating repertory, each student is guaranteed the opportunity to perform in several productions alongside seasoned, professional artists. Students also prepare for entering the profession by creating and rehearsing material for presentation in a showcase mounted for theatrical professionals in New York. Guest artists and industry professionals instruct the students in the business of acting as well as commercial techniques, film/television workshops and audition skills. Through the Actors’ Equity Membership Candidate program, all students are eligible to join Actor’s Equity Association upon completion of their three years at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory.

Our People

An intensely dedicated faculty of professional artists is devoted to developing within each of our students the emotional and technical skills that are essential to the successful actor.

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Support

For more than 40 years, the FSU/Asolo Conservatory and Asolo Rep have been linked in a unique collaboration that combines a classical academic training program with a professional regional theatre company.

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Andrei Malaev-Babel Begins Role as Director of FSU/Asolo Conservatory 

7.8.22

 

Andrei Malaev-Babel has been selected as director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, the Florida State University College of Fine Arts and School of Theatre announced. 

 

Malaev-Babel, an expert on Russian theater and acting techniques and an award-winning director and scholar who served as head of acting at the Conservatory for more than a decade, succeeds Greg Leaming, who recently retired. Malaev-Babel began his tenure on July 1.  

 

The Conservatory, located in Sarasota, is a three-year graduate program culminating in a Master of Fine Arts degree. Only 12 students annually are chosen to participate in the program, which combines rigorous classroom training with guest artist workshops and professional production experience through its partnership with Asolo Repertory Theatre. It has regularly been ranked among the top 10 programs in the United States and the top 25 in the English-speaking world.

 

“Having served as a faculty member at the Conservatory since 2006, Andrei Malaev-Babel is no stranger to FSU, Asolo Rep or the Sarasota community,” said James Frazier, dean of the FSU College of Fine Arts. “He is a true leader in the field of actor training, and we are thrilled to be engaging him in this new role.”

 

Malaev-Babel continues a distinguished international career, having co-founded and served as artistic director for both the Stanislavsky Theater Studio in Washington, D.C., and the Moscow Chamber Forms Theatre in Russia.

 

“The exceptional talent of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory students has been an important part of the success of Asolo Rep’s mainstage shows, and as head of acting, Andrei has greatly contributed to that level of excellence,” said Asolo Rep Managing Director Linda DiGabriele. “His passion for training young artists is inspiring, and we welcome him enthusiastically to this leadership position at the Conservatory.”

 

Malaev-Babel has authored numerous books and articles and received awards, including the 20th International Green Wave Book Fair Grand Prize in 2016 in Ukraine. In the same year, he was awarded the International Moscow Jewish Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for the film documentary “Finding Babel,” for which he served as co-writer and principal actor. In 2020, he received a Fulbright Award from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, hosted by The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Lodz.

 

Above all, Malaev-Babel is dedicated to the success and development of his students.

 

“Our job is to help our actors to train as fine professionals, but also to help them become better artists, who can bring positive change into the world,” he said.

 

Academically, Malaev-Babel is best known internationally for his work related to 20th century Russian theatre practitioner Nikolai Demidov, having translated many of his works into English and specializing in teaching Demidov’s School of Acting. 

 

“My work on Demidov is one of my accomplishments that I am most proud of,” said Malaev-Babel. “After I had the chance to recreate (the Demidov School) at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, I took it to Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, China and England, among other countries. Today, I head the Demidov Association and curate schools practicing these principles all over the world, some run by our alumni.”  

 

During the past two years, performing artists were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a professor and head of acting, Malaev-Babel stepped up to ensure that his students could continue their training in a meaningful way, setting an example for his peers around the world.  

 

“In March of 2020, like every acting teacher, I panicked,” he recalled. “How could you possibly teach acting on Zoom? But I went to my first online class pretending that is how it had always been done, and our students thrived.”

 

By May of 2020, Malaev-Babel was delivering a keynote address about how to teach acting online via Zoom to an international forum based in Shanghai. He credits the adaptability of the Demidov School for making this virtual transition, and later rehearsing while wearing masks, seem natural.