After two wonderful years in Takoma Park, The Performing Arts Training Studio has recently relocated to the Columbia Heights/Pleasant Plains neighborhoods. Conveniently located at 733 Euclid Street NW, PATStudio is now about 1/2 block from Howard University and 6 blocks from the Shaw/Howard University metro on the Green Line. That's prime real estate in a vibrant historic community. Of course, PATStudio will continue to offer professional level acting and playwriting training for adults and youth in the D.C. metro area.
"It’s really wonderful that we’re into our third year and now with a new midtown location. I feel that we’ll be able to help even more people achieve their dreams." Executive Director Denise Hart shared.
To celebrate, they’re hosting an Open House this coming Saturday, January 5th from 12-2pm. Stop by to see the space, win some prizes, and FREE give-aways while they last. Before you go, be sure to register for classes and meet the team.
Questions? Please contact the The Performing Arts Training Studio:
Address: 733 Euclid St. NW 2nd floor WDC 20001
In the midst of her preparations, Executive Director Denise J. Hart spoke with me about what inspired her to start The Performing Arts Training Studio and what students can expect once they enroll. Here's our conversation:
JACQUELINE LAWTON: What inspired you to start the Performing Arts Training Studio?
DENISE HART: Helping others achieve the skills they need to actualize their dreams is definitely a part of my life’s calling. Although, I’m a tenured professor of theatre at Howard University and have been teaching theatre for 25 years, I once had the dream of heading to LA and casting my hat in the ring of television acting. However, 20 years ago when I gave birth to my son I decided to remain here in WDC. I’ve had the pleasure of working locally as a professional actress with Wolly Mammoth, Alliance Theatre, African continuum and Arena Stage and I also play the recurring role of Miss Anna on HBO’s The Wire. So many of my mentors always told me that I was born to teach and I guess they were right. I’ve had the great privilege of studying under Vera J. Katz, Kelsie Collie, Al Freeman, Phylicia Rashad and Mike Malone. I see what I do as an instructor, playwright, director and even as the Executive Director at PATStudio as very spiritual service oriented work. People want to transform. They want to learn, grow, express and create space for people to think, laugh and just be. That’s what the theatre does for people and to people. I’m delighted for PATStudio to be a part of the long legacy of institutions providing theatrical training in Washington.
JL: What excites you most about moving to the Columbia Heights community. How do you feel this move will serve your students?
DH: As you know, Columbia Heights and nearby Logan Circle/Shaw are all abuzz with new restaurants, bars and a wonderful mix of historic architecture, long time residents and newcomers to the area. I purchased a condo on 14th street in 2011 and I wanted PATStudio to be connected to the wave of entrepreneurial energy impacting the area, the nearby thriving theatre district and the midtown location makes us that much more accessible to a wide range of people. As the word spreads that PATStudio is in the community, many are saying that although new restaurants and bars are nice, it’s a relief to have something different in the neighborhood. To Celebrate our move, we’re having Open House this Saturday, January 5th from 12-2pm. We welcome folks to stop by to see the space, win some prizes, FREE give-aways while they last, register for classes and meet the team. Conveniently located at 733 Euclid Street NW about 1/2 block from Howard University and 6 blocks from the Shaw greenline metro stop PATStudio will continue to offer professional level acting and playwriting training for adults and youth in the WDC metro area.
JL: Who are your typical students?
DH: Everyone from professional actors to newbies have benefited from our unique programs and our team of professional working Master Instructors. Our classes, workshops and camps help a wide range of people transform their craft and their career. Over the past two years we are thrilled to have served over 500 youth and adults!
JL: What type of acting classes do you offer? What is your pedagogical approach to acting?
DH: For the adult actor, this January we’re launching our signature training program, The Intrinsic Acting Method. A full immersion developmental program inspired by the principles of Stanislavski, Hagen an Spolin. Our philosophy is that all actors have within them the innate ability to craft characters from an intuitive space of authenticity and truth. Our unique training approach helps actors to create from this powerful imaginative space. For youth ages 5-16, we offer 3 developmental levels of acting: Acting Bonanza 5-8, Actor’s Playground 9-12 and Ready, Set, ACT! ages 13-16. We also offer two very popular musical theatre summer camps for kids ages 5-16.
JL: As a professional and award winning playwright, what is your approach to playwriting classes?
DH: Playwriting students also move though a developmental program from beginner to advanced classes culminating in our Playwrights Posse. A workshop style class designed to help advanced playwrights develop their plays for production, for entry into competitions and self producing at local and national festivals.
JL: Have your students gone on to work professionally?
DH: Many of our acting students frequently work locally and also work in New York, Atlanta and LA for projects. We pride ourselves on helping our students radically transform their ability to use imagination, intuition, body, voice and creativity in service to the world of the play both as actors and playwrights. Students who train at The Performing Arts Training Studio discover more meaning and value in their careers and craft as they learn how to better connect to themselves, their creativity, the text and the world of the stage.
JL: The classes sound amazing and fun! I feel like I’d learn a lot. How much do classes cost?
DH: Yes, folks will have fun as they work with our team of Master Instructors to strengthen their skills and excel in their craft. In keeping with the mission of our nonprofit organization to create accessible theatre training for the WDC metro area, our adult semester class tuition is $150 for a 5 week semester while our kids acting classes (ages 5-16) are $260 per semester. We also have payment plans available for adults who desire to complete their training in one year.
JL: As someone who casts readings, workshops and productions, I’m always on the lookout for new acting talent. Will there be an opportunity to showcase your students work?
DH: Definitely! Adult students can look forward to our culminating showcase production in November for invited special guests, friends and family; while youth share their growth with a free performance for family and friends at the end of each semester.
DENISE J. HART, Executive Director, holds her MFA in Playwriting from Sarah Lawrence College and a BFA in Acting from Howard University and is the founder and Executive Director of The Performing Arts Training Studio, which provides professional training in acting and playwriting for youth and adults. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at Howard University where she coordinates the Playwriting minor. She has authored and directed 16 children's musicals and authored the plays: Nothing to Lose, Sistah Girl, Masquerade Parade, Ring the Bell, My Soul is a Witness and This Joy, (former finalist in The Lark & Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights competitions). Her Directing and Dramaturgy credits include: Breath Boom, Secret Mist of Blue, Melancholy of Barbarians, The Exile & the American, Day of Absence, Zooman and the Sign, and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. Her acting credits include the recurring role as "Miss Anna" on HBO'S The Wire, African Continuum Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and The Theatre Alliance. Ms. Hart is also a Creativity Life Coach, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, The Dramatist Guild, The Playwrights Forum, and Theatre for Young Audiences.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!