The Actor's Workshop of Ithaca
Big City Training, Small Town Attention

Course Materials

AWI Class and Studio Policies


  1. This technique is a joy to teach and, I hope, a joy to learn.  However, it may seem a little strange when you first begin and it does take a great deal of emotional courage.  Therefore, although I will try to explain why we’re doing what we’re doing, you must agree to suspend disbelief at times.  You must make a commitment to the doing of it.  Only then can you hope to understand it.
  2. Always remember that what goes on onstage has nothing to do with “real life.”  Don’t take your partner’s behavior towards you during the exercise personally after the exercise is over.  It’s an exercise, nothing more.
  3. Meisner believed, and I do as well, that for every hour you spend in class, you should spend at least half an hour outside of class practicing what you’re learning.  While that may be an impracticable amount of time for some of you, I would encourage you to work on the technique outside of class as much as possible.  Each student will be given a key to the studio at the beginning of the semester.  You may sign up to practice in the studio using our studio reservation system.  Please be sure to vacuum the space (prep room and studio) and lock the door behind you when you leave.
  4. One of the things that some students find frustrating about this technique is that they only get to work one or two times a class, unlike other classes that focus on group exercises.  However, it should be noted that if you pay attention to other exercises and the critiques that follow, you learn a great deal.  When I was studying I found I sometimes learned as much or more from watching other people and listening to the critiques as I learned when it was “my turn.” 
  5. Many students report that their experiences taking classes at the Workshop were “therapeutic.”  While I understand and appreciate that many students find value in taking this class the reach beyond their acting abilities, the purpose of your training at the Workshop is to learn to become a better actor


  1. This may be an unusual thing to have to state, but there will be no physical violence in the exercises: you are not allowed to hurt yourself or your partner.  Because the technique can lead to very raw emotional exchanges, it is necessary to state this rule as an absolute.
  2. Be on time.  If you are late, you cheat yourself out of valuable class time.  You also disturb the students who are working when you do arrive.  Late students, who have not called me in advance, must wait outside for the exercise in progress to be completed.  If you are very late and do not call and warn me this will be happening in advance, you may be unable to work. If you are consistently late without calling me in advance, or without a good excuse (job-related, health-related, or unavoidable personal reasons), you will be given one warning and then asked to leave the class. 
  3. Come to class every time.  If you are excessively absent without a good excuse (job related, health related, or unavoidable personal reasons), you will be given one warning and then asked to leave the class.  Exceptions will be made in the summer for travel.  If you can’t make it in, you must always call to let me know.  A message on voice mail or e-mail explaining your lack of attendance will suffice.   If we are doing work with assigned partners, such as scene work, call your instructor and call your partner to let him/her know you won’t be in class. If you are working with a partner, it is inherently unfair if you are excessively absent for any reason.  So, if you are excessively absent for any reason and you are working with a partner, you will be asked to leave the class. (If you wish to make up a class, you may contact Katie, David, or Eliza, depending upon which class you wish to substitute into, and ask permission to make up a class. Katie is the teacher of Tuesday/Thursday evenings [279-6236 or], David is the teacher of Tuesday/Thursday mornings [ or 262-6048], and  Eliza is the teacher of Monday/Wednesday evenings (339-999 or
  4. You may never, ever critique your fellow classmates during my critique. Comments are great, as are questions.   If I ask for your input, please, please speak freely. However, criticism of other’s work is another matter.  It puts people in their head and is therefore detrimental to what we’re trying to accomplish.
  5. Students may never critique my teaching or the way in which I run the class during class time.  If you have a comment or question about how I run the class or another student’s critique, I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.  However, it is never appropriate to bring up issues when class is in session.  Please feel free to talk to me during the break, before or after class or by phone.  Of course questions when you are being critiqued are always expected and welcome.
  6. Students may not come to class under the influence of any mind altering substances, unless they have been prescribed by a doctor.  This includes alcohol. 
  7. Students will be held financially liable for damage done to the studio beyond normal wear and tear.  If a student does damage to the studio s/he has three options. One, the student may pay Eliza the cost of having said damage fixed.  Two, they may hire a third party, approved by Eliza, to fix the damage.  Three, the student may, with Eliza’s permission, attempt to fix the damage themselves. If attempts at fixing the damage fail, the student will be held liable for the cost of further repairs.
  8. Students who want to borrow an item from the studio (wigs, clothing, etc) must return them promptly and inform their instructor.  Students who take things without asking will no longer be allowed to borrow from the Workshop.  Due to the overwhelming number of books “borrowed” and never returned, students are no longer permitted to borrow books from the Workshop.  Students wishing to read Workshop books are welcome to do so in the green room.  There are no exceptions to this policy.
  9. Desire to learn, expressed not only by timely attendance, but by respect for the instructor, other students, and the studio is required.  Some students will have difficulty with the Meisner technique.  If I determine that it is no longer in the interest of the student or the learning/teaching environment for a student to continue, I reserve the sole discretion and right to ask the student to leave the class.  I will only do so after good faith efforts to work with the student prove fruitless, as I see it.
  10. There are times students will leave AWI before graduating from our program. These students are not permitted to visit class or work with a current student in class. Visiting class when not enrolled in AWI is privildge reserved from graduated AWI alums only.
  11. Students may not be disrespectful or unkind to each other.  Ever.  The studio needs to be a safe space in order for people to take risks and learn.  Unkind behavior towards fellow students creates an atmosphere in class which makes it hard for the students to learn and teachers to teach.  You don’t have to love your fellow classmates, but you must treat them with respect at all times. 
  12. Finally, just as you are free to leave my class at any time, I am free to ask you to leave at any time. I get very attached to all the students I teach and want you all to have a great time and succeed.  However, part of what makes the class fun is the students shared commitment to learning.  Students who do not adhere to the above policies diminish class morale and make the class less fun for everyone. If you are breaking these rules, I will warn you that you are, as they say, treading on thin ice.  If you continue to break them, you will be asked to leave.  Students who are asked to leave will not be granted a refund



I read these policies out loud to the class on the first day of the semester because I believe they are critical to the success of the class for everyone.There is also a copy available to each student on the AWI website.  If you will not abide by these policies, you cannot participate in the Workshop, as we believe these policies are reasonable expectations for students and necessary for our acting studio to function properly.  If you feel one of these policies is unreasonable and would be difficult for you to follow, we encourage you to talk with your instructor after class.  By enrolling and continuing to participate in the Workshop, you are agreeing to the policies outlined above.




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Studio Use Policies 

The studio is a space used by all students at The Workshop.  Please follow the policies below so it can continue to be a clean, undamaged, safe space for all.  

If you want to rehearse in the space, please sign up via our reservation system. You may rehearse in the studio any time as long as the door to the studio is closed.

Put every last thing away exactly where you found it.

When moving furniture, lift it.  Do not drag it on the floor.

Keep all personal props, costumes, etc. in a labeled box in the costume room.  Anything left laying around for more than 24 hours will be brought to the Salvation Army or tossed.  No joke!   :-)

Vacuum the studio rug, the green room and costume room after every class. Sweep the studio floor after each class. Vacuum/sweep the studio and the green room after ever single practice session.  Each instructor has different policies regarding clean up after class.  Please strictly adhere to these policies.  

Close the door and lock it when you leave.  Turn off all lights.  Turn off the A.C.  Turn off the fan.

You may NEVER stick pins or pound nails into the walls of the green room or the studio.  You may not tape anything to the walls of the studio or greenroom without explicit permission from your TA or instructor unless you are doing an exercise.  If you need to tape something to the wooden walls in the studio during an exercise, please be sure the tape you use does not peel the paint off the walls. 

When doing an exercise, do not hurl your body against the wall, even the wood.  Use that actor’s voice!

Do not slam the door when entering the studio space from the green room.  (someone did this recently and broke the trim right off!)

Carry in, carry out.

Students may not use the studio for any purpose other than technique practice or rehearsing for showcases.