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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:

2017-2018 Schedule

This season Actors Arena is exploring the theme of “Coming to Mastery”. Featured presenters include local and nationally renowned theater artists Molly Smith, Erika Rose, Kara-Tamekia Watkins, Collin Hovde, Patrick Pearson, Jenna Duncan, Kelly d’Amboise, Victor Vazquez, Naomi Jacobson, Dody DiSanto, Steven Dietz, Deb Tannen, and Caleen Jennings. We will engage in workshops, master classes, and greenroom discussions to enlighten members with skills that will challenge, support, and cultivate their artistry.

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


November 2017
Empowering the Artist - PANEL/DISCUSSION
How does art connect with activism? Sit down with Molly Smith, Erika Rose, Colin Hovde, and Kara-Tamekia Watkins as we dive into what empowers an artist beyond their art. This discussion with enlighten members about the active artistic work that is happening within their community and beyond. Activate your art!


December 2017
Casting in Washington D.C. – PANEL/DISCUSSION
Join us for a discussion with Casting Directors, Jenna Duncan (Olney Theatre), Victor Vazquez (Arena Stage), Patrick Pearson (Fords Theatre), and Kelly D’Amboise (Signature Theatre) come together to share what it is that they look for when scouting talent for the most prestigious theaters in our community.

January 2018
Auditions: From Start to Finish – WORKSHOP
Learn from one of the most celebrated actors in Washington D.C. area. Naomi Jacobson is a well-respected actor who has graced the stages of some of the nation’s most well-known theatres. Join as Naomi shares the secrets to an audition that will leave a lasting impression. From start to finish.

February 2018
Performance Gym: building the poetic body - WORKSHOP
Join as local teaching artist Dody DiSanto shares a training technique; ‘actor-creator’. For the serious beginner and experienced actor, this work embodies a dynamic and physical approach to acting and is strongly based on the work of master teacher Jacque Lecoq. Come explore.


March 2018
Mastery and Beginner’s Mind - WORKSHOP
We accept on faith that the goal of the student is to become an artist. Mastery does not come through repetition - it comes through rigor and doubt, passion and curiosity, humility and persistence. Drawing on his 30 plus years as a director, playwright and teacher, Steven Dietz models this lively workshop on how we initiate, illuminate and interrogate our own work.

April 2018
How We Talk with - DISCUSSION
How does your geographic region, class, ethnicity, age and gender dictate how your say what you say? Dr. Deborah Tannen has been studying these influences on ways of talking for decades. In this discussion, Deborah Tannen will talk about what makes up conversational style, how it can differ, and the consequences of those differences—articulating and deconstructing phenomena that actors have always been aware of and use in their work.

May 2018
Writing for Your Own Art - WORKSHOP
Educator and writer Caleen Jennings shares her techniques and experience of writing. In 1999 she received a $10,000 grant from the Kennedy Center's Fund for New American Plays for her play Inns & Outs. Her play Playing Juliet/Casting Othello was produced at the Folger Elizabethan Theatre in 1998. In 2000, her children’s play Free like Br’er Rabbit was produced for the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices festival. Learn what it takes to cultivate your own words into works.


The 2016/2017 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.

This season will also include a brand new scheduling format for Actors Arena. Still focusing on panel discussions, workshops and round-tables, the seasons events will now be divided into 3 series: Fall, Winter, and Spring. Each series will included two or three events a season.

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

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

  • past events