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Actors Arena

The Actors Arena

Event Calendar

Actors Arena

Mission Statement

Actors Arena provides dedicated, experienced professional actors a forum in which to hone and develop skills, facilitate substantive artistic exploration and nourish the artistic spirit.

Through hands-on workshops, invited personal perspectives and roundtable conversations, we create a space for dialogue and artistic growth in order to inspire, rejuvenate and strengthen our D.C. theater community.

For a membership application, please email

2016-2017 Schedule

This season Actors Arena is exploring the theme of “Upping Your Game”. Featured presenters include nationally renowned theater artists Molly Smith, Christopher d’Amboise, Howard Shalwitz, Michael Dove, Jackie Maxwell, Shana Cooper, David Catlin, Sylvia Herndez-Distai, Timothy Douglas, and Eugene Lee. We will engage in workshops, master classes, and greenroom discussions to enlighten members with skills that will challenge, support, and cultivate their artistry.

Whether it comes in a flash or late in the process, character is the essential lens through which actors shine, illuminating recognizable, fascinating, potentially outrageous, three-dimensional human beings with memories, experiences, tensions, opinions and a unique perspective and point of view. Some of us grind this lens from outside ourselves; others find the lens within. Join us to create and develop character.

All times 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

September 2016
Greenroom Discussion with Molly Smith
Sit down with Arena Stage Artistic Director, Molly Smith as she speaks on the importance of creating a professional development program like Actors Arena for the Washington, DC arts community.

October 2016
Moving Story Workshop with Christopher d’Amboise
MOVING STORY is a choreographic exploration of movement, gesture, emotion, and abstraction focused on expanding the awareness of expression of emotion, character, story and mood in theatrical context. Guest are welcomed to participate or observe.

November 2016
Greenroom Discussion with Howard Shalwitz and Michael Dove
Join the Artistic Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Howard Shalwitz and the Production Artistic Director of Forum Theater, Michael Dove as they share insight on creating and portraying character.

November 2016
Actors Gymnasium Discussion/Workshop with David Catlin and Sylvia Herndez-Distai
Meet the award-winning team that created Moby Dick.  Director/adaptor David Catlin and Aerial/AcrobaticChoreographer Sylvia Herndez-DiStasi of Actors Gymnasium as they discuss the value of collaborative art, the importance of being a multi-disciplinary performer, and maintenance needed to keep a long-term professional partnership. Actors Gymnasium uses a distinctive, multi-disciplinary, artist ensemble-based, process to create their critically acclaimed and award-winning shows.

January 2017
Scene investigation of Classic Plays Workshop with Jackie Maxwell
This hands-on workshop will focus on how to build and orchestrate long and intricate scenes from early/midcentury classic plays such at Watch on the Rhine and Little Foxes.

February 2017
World at Large Greenroom Discussion with the Ten Chimneys
Join as local actors; Holly Twyford, Rick Foucheux, Chris Bloch, Naomi Jacobson and more, as they discuss the success and challenges of performing in the world beyond the D.C. Theatre Community, and share their experience participating as Lunt-Fontanne Fellows in the Ten Chimneys Experience- Mentoring the Mentors retreat.

March 2017
Essence Work with Shana Cooper
Director Shana Cooper leads a workshop on her core artistic method, “Essence Work”. This method explores the use of non-verbal performance to challenge the physical, visual, and aural landscapes of a play. Through this method, actors will be empowered to operate from instinct impulse, and accessing visceral expressions.

April 2017
Freeing the Natural Actor Workshop with Timothy Douglas
Based on the work of Kristin Linklater, this movement-based lecture/demonstration culminating in two or three individuals working on a few lines of Shakespeare verse with me in front of the group.

May 2017
Discussion with Actor Eugene Lee
Actor, writer, and director Eugene Lee leads a discussion on what it takes to start and keep a successful career in film and stage. With a career spanning over 40 years, Eugene Lee is considered a “Wilsonian Warrior” for his work as an actor in the plays of August Wilson (He’s performed in eight of Wilson’s 10 cycle). Some of Lee’s credits include works at The Negro Ensemble Company of New York, Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.


The 2015/2016 Season for Actors Arena was a resounding success for interest and participation. The core mission for Actors Arena has always been to provide a space for dedicated experienced professional actors to hone their skills, explore relevant issues, and deepen their artistry.

For the 2016/2017 season, we have decided to refocus our programing toward our intended professional actor community by instituting a membership application process.

To request a membership application,
or for more information about Actors Arena,
please email

Actors Arena is
generously sponsored in part by
the Actors' Equity Foundation.

Actors Arena
Steering Committee

Naomi Jacobson
Sean-Maurice Lynch
Larry Redmond
Jefferson Russell
Dorea Schmidt
Stephen F. Schmidt
Kimberly Schraf

  • past events