The Hagen Teacher’s Lab Online

August 3, 5, 7, & 9, 2020
Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday | 
10am – 3pm | $375
Apply Now! Applications accepted on a rolling basis.* 



Program Director & Acting Technique: Carol Rosenfeld
Acting Technique: Brian Mulligan
Scene Study: Mark Nelson
Voice Warm Up: Theresa McElwee

This August, HB Studio is offering a strategically modified, four-day version of the Hagen Teacher’s Lab, to be offered online over Zoom.

Founded at HB Studio where Uta Hagen taught her legendary professional classes for more than 50 years, The Hagen Teacher’ Lab provides a forum for artists and educators from around the world to continue their professional development and explore and expand their understanding and experience of Hagen’s approach to acting and teaching. This year, it will be a virtual retreat, a coming-together to share our online teaching successes and frustrations. It will also be an exploration of how Hagen’s acting exercises are opportune for online and distance learning, providing a rich home-practice for the solo actor and student.

¨(….), I came on the idea of working by myself at home to devise corrective exercises for all of the problems I was having by exploring personal behavior under a variety of circumstances. (…) in order to lay down guidelines and give a form to the exercises, I decided first to define and then to re-create two seemingly routine minutes of life when alone at home, two minutes spent in the execution of a simple task in pursuit of normal objective.¨ – A Challenge for the Actor, Uta Hagen

This is how Uta Hagen describes the origin of what have now become her world-renowned acting exercises. She was inspired by her own wish to create a practice that she could undertake solo, that was also physically immersive and behavioral, not just textual. This gave her a way to keep continuity in her work whether she was actively employed or not, and a methodical and deep way to prepare for a role, keeping it live and fluid and open, long before she came to work with her colleagues in the rehearsal room.

Given the current circumstances the theater community is experiencing, with so much work interrupted, Uta Hagen’s exercises provide an oasis of grounded and embodied physical solo practice that can then be shared and assessed with colleagues in the Zoom space.

Breaks and Guided Warm-Ups will be offered throughout the day, to step away from the screen, refresh, breathe, ground and recenter in our bodies.

Required Texts:
A Challenge for the Actor by Uta Hagen
Angels in America, Part I – Millennium Approaches by Tony Kushner

Daily Schedule:
•10am- 10:30am: Voice Warm-up
•10:35am- 12:05pm: Acting Technique
•12:05am- 12:55pm: Lunch
•12:55pm-1:25pm: Voice Warm-up
•1:30pm– 3pm: Script Analysis & Scenes


Every participant will be asked to present a rehearsed exercise assigned from Uta Hagen’s A Challenge for the Actor in class.  Hagen’s Six Steps serves as a template for every exercise. By preparing Hagen’s exercises “on location” in your living spaces and familiar locations where they were designed to be rehearsed, you have the opportunity to work with us on your rehearsal process in real time. During the virtual Lab we will watch each other’s exercises and discuss what to look for and how to respond to what would have been the final rehearsal at home. Looking toward the future, we will also discuss the steps the actor must take to transfer their exercise from their home to the classroom space, and how this work relates to company rehearsal and performance.


When we can’t explore scenes in a physical space in contact with another actor, Zoom teaching invites us to focus on the imaginative homework so fundamental to Uta Hagen’s approach: Script Analysis. In the Lab, we’ll sketch out the fundamentals of the actor’s mining of text, using Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. After a broad discussion of themes and through-lines (how does this story of loss and transformation during an epidemic speak to us now?), we’ll take a detailed look at key scenes using Hagen’s Six Steps. Finally, we’ll cast the scenes from the group, explore how well-prepared actors begin to connect across the digital divide, and test how a teacher’s feedback can support that connection.


Uta Hagen would often share with her classes that she wouldn’t dream of embarking on a rehearsal or performance without a warm-up of some kind. That her voice/speech/body warm-up served as a means of “clearing the runway for take off.”  That is the purpose of our daily Vocal Warm Ups, with the additional focus toward helping you bring your fully present, embodied self into this new Zoom playing space we are now asked to navigate. There will be breathwork and very light bodywork geared to the days’ activities, and this will be divided into two parts: A morning focus warm up, featuring breathwork from many pedagogies and methodologies; and a second, mid-day warm up designed to refresh your senses, give you a healthy dose of play, and serve as a bridge to the work you will do in the afternoon.

* Apply early, space is limited. Upon acceptance into the Lab, you must register in full by June 24 to secure your spot in the Lab.