Summer 2019 Newsletter
July/August | Summer 2019
Dear Freeholders,

Happy Summer!

Hope you are enjoying longer days and warmer nights as the season gets into gear - perfect time to turn on your creativity with a class designed to spark your imagination, and of course, Freehold has several that fit the bill. From Acting classes in the emerging series to Shakespeare and the more generative Play Lab and Solo Per-formance classes, there's something for everyone.

This newsletter brings a top 5 list from Freehold's playwriting instructor, Elizabeth Heffron regarding the upcoming New Play Lab. Hollywood actor and stunt person, Danielle Reierson (who also happens to be a Freehold alum), candidly shares the story of her journey from Seattle to Los Angeles! Yours truly has written an article about Solo Perfor-mance and Playwriting experiences, from Freehold to local stages ...and of course we've got more info on all the exciting and inspiring things Freeholders new and old are working on.

...and don't forget to come see Engaged Theatre's dynamic new production of As You Like It , directed by Robin Lynn Smith at the home of Seattle Musical Theatre in Magnuson Park! There's also an abridged outdoor performance (part of Seattle's Summer Outdoor Theatre Fest 2019) at Volunteer Park with a workshop component, to whet your whistle, so grab a few friends, pack a picnic and enjoy some Shakespeare with your sunshine!

Please don't hesitate to read, offer feed-back, and suggest ideas for future content - if you'd like to write an article about some aspect of how a class or instructor here at Freehold has influenced your life and activities, feel free to email me and propose away! Everyone's journey is different, and Freehold is invested in your continued work, exploration and success, however that may unfold - even if it's not specifically theatrical. Art (and theatre) benefits more than just those practicing it.

Last but not least, whatever you're doing, enjoy these warm summer months, and drop by and see us sometime!

Elizabeth Heffron, Playwright Extraordinaire

Top Five Reasons to enroll:

Summer Quarter

ONE. Finish a first-draft of that one-act or full-length play you’ve been noodling on.

And once you finish that rough and shitty first-draft -- I say ‘rough and shitty’ because almost everybody’s first drafts are shitty, so let’s just cut to the chase and embrace the shittiness that is the first draft -- you’ll be in a great position to…

 TWO. Hear what your play is asking to be. What the characters really want and who or what is getting in their way.

Which then allows you to…

THREE. Discover your play’s true story spine. And start to activate the ‘wright’ part of the word ‘Playwright.’ You’ll begin to craft what you have – throw out what no longer fits the story’s architecture and build additional scenes that help to keep the action moving relentlessly forward.

Once you’ve coughed up that rough and shitty first draft, you might…

FOUR. Welcome the act of rewriting. You’ll learn techniques that help you stay open to moments of discovery and inspiration.

Which ultimately leads to…

FIVE. A chance to hear a selected 20 minutes of your play in a public, rehearsed staged reading format. You’ll find out if the play you’ve been hearing in your head sounds the same in actors’ mouths. You’ll learn to sense when language might be unnecessary or redundant or when your words actually get in the way of the character going after what they want – and you’ll be able to cut and refine your text, further focusing your work to keep your audience leaning in.


“Theatre is a touchy line of work. One feels vulnerable and is exposed. The Playwriting workshops & Play Lab at Freehold teach a blessedly positive method of giving and receiving criticism. It makes all the difference.”

-Freddie Brinster
Freehold Playwriting Student and
Former theatre critic for the Bellevue Journal-American

"I took the very first New Play Lab several years ago, while trying to complete my very first play. As a fairly seasoned actor, it was delightful to witness the instructor giving actors blocking that helped illustrate the subtext, which I was so thrilled to find out was implicit in my script. I highly recommend the Lab to any playwright looking for a little script clarity beyond the computer screen - was a useful reminder that playwriting doesn't happen in a vacuum, it is meant to be performed!"
-Carolynne Wilcox,
Freehold Alum,
Actor and produced Playwright

Elizabeth's New Play Lab still has a few spots available, if you're interested. Learn More
Register online , or call 206.323.7499 or emailing Nikki .
From Corporate Gloom to Hollywood Stuntperson and more!
After having done a few plays in high school, then moving on to the work/corporate world, I came back to acting after stumbling onto an article about Freehold in the Puget Sound Business Journal. It was an article by a Freehold student who was waxing poetic about how acting classes had made him a better business man, by giving him better presentation and listening skills, among others. I had always dreamed of making a living as an actor, but had grown up thinking that acting wasn't really a viable career choice and was living the life I thought I *should* rather than the one I really wanted. I used that article as an excuse to follow my dreams and enrolled in a beginning acting class at Freehold. That article, and the ensuing time at Freehold, changed my life.

I got my feet wet, slowly, the first year, taking one class per quarter from the Step 1-3 progression - Intro to Acting 1 , Intro to Acting 2 , and Basic Scene Study , ramped it up in year two by taking two classes per quarter, did the Meisner progression , with Robin, in year three, and then I quit my six-figure (soul crushing) corporate job and enrolled in the Ensemble Training Intensive (ETI) in year four. I couldn't even list all the amazing classes I took - Suzuki , Meyerhold , Voice , Speech , Shakespeare Intensive , Stage Combat , Audition , and many more. I was especially inspired by stage combat classes as they enabled me to merge my love of acting with my love of physicality, and proceeded from there to also learn how to do more high profile stunts including high falls into an air bag, and full-body fire burns.

In 2006, I moved to Los Angeles to continue my journey as an actor. Very often when I met someone and told them I had moved to L.A. from Seattle, they would ask "Oh, you moved here to become an actor?" I always responded "No, I already AM an actor. I moved to L.A. so I could make a living at it!" It was important to me to own that I was an experienced and well trained actor, and my years at Freehold gave me the confidence (and the education!) to do that.

I never wanted to be famous - what I wanted was to make a good living doing what I love - and that is exactly what I've been doing, for the last decade, in L.A. I was even able to buy a house, here, with the down payment I earned from a union commercial job I did, which was one of my proudest L.A. moments! In addition to principal acting and stunt jobs, I also use my acting skills in my job as a rehearsal actor for multi-camera television shows. This means that I play the principal actor's part, during camera blocking rehearsals, so everything will be dialed in when the actors arrive on set to shoot the scene. I love doing this work, because I am using my acting skills to help create a television show, even though I'm not the one being filmed. This work also contributes to my eligibility for health and pension benefits through SAG-AFTRA, just as principal acting work does. It's a great "side job" in between other acting gigs, and just one of the many ways actors can use their skills to make a living.

My only disappointment, as an actor, is that we are always having to fight for fair wages and working conditions. There are so many people who want to act, that they can fall victim to exploitation in this business. That is why I joined SAG-AFTRA and why I only work on "union" projects. I know that in other parts of the country, actors aren't able to enjoy union protections - to you I would like to say - please never be afraid to stand up for yourself. Make sure you're getting something of value for your work, whether it's a wage that's commensurate for the job, footage you really need for your reel, or the gratitude of a good friend who has asked you to help them with their project. Never let yourself be taken advantage of, because you want to work, and always say no to something that feels sketchy or unsafe. This is how you can continue to love the job for as long as you choose to do it. 

Lastly - I have always planned, if I ever won an Academy Award, to thank Robin Lynn Smith in my speech. Since I don't know when exactly that will be, here's a practice run:

Thank you to the members of the Academy for this honor. Thank you to my friends and family, and all the people who have helped me on my journey. I would especially like to thank Robin Lynn Smith for her "tough love" that helped me break through a block that I didn't even know I had. That block would have affected my acting career negatively, had I not worked through it during my training. Instead, I get to hear directors say things like "I love that you are so directable!" and "You take direction so well!" and "I would love to work with you again!" I wouldn't be here without her. 

I probably won't get to say all that when I win my Oscar, since time will be short and I'll have a lot of people to thank, but I'll definitely thank Robin and everyone I learned from at Freehold. 

Shakespeare's Comedy, Directed by Robin Lynn Smith Opens 7/17!
Experience this universal tale of exile and metamorphosis through music, movement, Shakespeare’s stirring text and iconic characters!

Freehold & Engaged Theatre Artistic Director Robin Lynn Smith directs a seasoned, diverse company of actors and creatives, exploring the power and possibilities of the natural world in the magical Forest of Arden as they navigate this primeval space where something truly earthy and human can emerge. 

Featuring the work of: Sherif Amin, Evan Barrett, Rachel Beaver, Doris Black, Corynn Carignan, Maren Comendant, Madilyn Cooper, Dennis Culpepper, Sunam Ellis, Mack Fisher, Morgan Grody, Brandon JonesMooney, Sylvester Kamara, Sofie Kline, Riley Gene Larimer, Dara Lillis, Meg McLynn, Dani Norberg, Hannah Prendergast, James Shilling, Vanessa Skantze, Quincy Van Steenberge, Wilysha Walton, Danny Willis, and Srdjan “Gino” Yevdjevich

Performances for Seattle audiences are as follows: 20-minute abridged performance and workshop at 4pm July 13th at Volunteer Park as part of Seattle's 2019 Summer Outdoor Theatre Festival; full performances at 7120 62nd Ave NE in Magnuson Park (Home of Seattle Musical Theatre) 7/17, 18, 20 & 22 at 8:00pm; 7/21 at 4pm (NO SHOW 7/19).

In our efforts to continue fostering radical accessibility, all tickets are Pay-What-You-Will and can be reserved here .
Freehold Alum/Marketing Coordinator's take on Solo Performance
The first time I took Solo Performance at Freehold was in 2003. It was called Original Performance back then, taught by Susy Schneider. Several of my Meisner classmates had given the class the thumbs up and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but as a lifelong writer, though I hadn’t specifically written for the stage before, felt comfortable enough I wouldn’t completely embarrass myself.

I started to feel discouraged after a few weeks of class, however, as Susy was constantly making me do weird exercises every time I brought in a piece of writing: big, uncomfortable, physical things my fellow students weren’t being asked to do, and I felt a picked on and singled-out. When I finally had a bit of a meltdown in class, Susy explained my writing style was very “narrative” and she was trying to get me to think and write in a more “spoken” fashion. Feeling stupid, frustrated and VASTLY untalented, I asked a friend who had previously taken the class if she had any tips for me. The one thing that resonated was a simple, “Why don’t you try writing the way you act?”

This stirred something, and the muse came calling the very next morning in my living room. Having performed in Genet’s The Maids two years before, it had always bothered me how my character, Solange, was left hanging at the end of the play, forever in a weird kind of limbo, and she was the muse that knocked, asking me to please tell the story of what happened after The Maids…and before I knew it, I had an easy 10-minute solo performance, complete with 3 distinct character voices. I performed this short piece for the class final, and it subsequently became a fully-fleshed, hour-long, 5-character play that was workshopped in Freehold’s inaugural New Play Lab, and received readings not only as part of a late-night, post-Studio Series reading event, but also at LiveGirls! Play lab.

I went on to write several plays, but didn’t feel compelled to do solo work again until the tail-end of grad school, when I took a “Theatre of the Ear” class, illustrating how one could actively partner with sound. The first piece I wrote, produced and performed in was a ten-minute short called Pandora and The Box, a solo piece where I was mic’ed and my voice was modulated for all the exciting and creepy characters inside The Box. It was workshopped and presented first at Freehold’s Studio Series 2009, then went on to play at Stone Soup Theatre’s Play Festival that year, as well as ACTLab (as part of eSe Nuevo y Solo) in 2012.

Following that, it was time create a mythic triptych, highlighting 3 immortals from Greek myth…the first one being Pandora, already written. I decided to take Solo Performance again at Freehold in 2013, this time with Marc Kenison, expecting an exciting convocation of muse voices to come to me.

Marc’s version of the class immediately began with all sorts of crazy physical and verbal exercises for everyone, and since I was well-versed by this point, it didn't faze me. The bulk of the exercises are structured towards unearthing bits and pieces of personal stories from students' lives, so no one has to come in with an idea already in mind. In both the classes I took, there were some pretty varied topics:

One student in kidney failure, also an amazing and evocative writer, came in with stories about his treatment, ailments and dealings with physicians. Another discussed her nearly lifelong obsession with Star wars while still a third regaled the class with tales of his time in Japan. There were stories of personal struggles with performing, struggles within jobs and employment, and one multi-published novelist brought in weekly excerpts of a novel, hoping to bust through writer's block by turning the work into a monologue!

After several weeks of crazy exercises, we began cull the things that resonated into performance pieces, under Marc's insightful coaching and direction, and before we knew it, we had several semi-polished 5-10 minute performances just in time for our final showcase!

As for me, Persephone came calling, and I created a 10 minute piece about her eternal journey from her mother to her husband, and subsequent dealings with the dead in the underworld. The piece, Queen of the Dead, debuted during our final classroom showing, and went on to be shown at Freehold's Studio Series 2014, and at On The Boards in February 2015.

So, thanks to Solo Performance, I have TWO segments in my mythic triptych. AND, I took NeoBurlesque in 2017, and came up with a possible third character: STYX Rivera, so maybe I will take the class for yet a third time and create a hybrid burlesque/solo piece to round out the larger work...stay tuned! Or better yet, join me in class later this month!

Exploring Solo Performance with Marc Kenison begins July 13 and runs Saturday 12-4pm through August 31 . More info . Register online , or call 206.323.7499 or emailing Nikki .
Summer Quarter Classroom Announcements
15% Discount!
If you're registered for one class and are eyeing another, now's a great time to jump in with both feet, as we are offering a 15% discount for that 2nd (3rd & 4th...) class - Summer Quarter Only, please call/email Nikki: 206.323-7499/

Acting for the Camera with John Jacobson, SECTION II
Yes indeed, a second section has been added, for those of you who are interested, and it runs: August 5 - September 23, Mondays from 6-10pm! Invite a friend and have some on-camera fun.

Performance & Production Opportunities
Author Lisa Price is looking for readers:
" I am looking for readers for my event: A Series of Public readings of the Mueller Report .
The first will be on July 10 (Wednesday) from 5:30 to 7 in the CD cafe Squirrel Chops.
I am hoping to find two readers. Any help would be very much appreciated. 
I have a free beverage, a treat, intellectual stimulation and activism to offer the readers."
If interested, please contact Lisa directly HERE .

Mythodical Ensemble is looking for a lighting designer and a video editor/creator for the world premiere of A Series of Small Cataclysms, coming in February 2020. Stipends are available.
Project link: - please inquire here if interested in either.

If you have a project you need to cast, need singers, performers for anything, need crew or designers, or are soliciting play submissions, feel free to email us with all info (including compensation and contact info) and we'll put it in our next email blast, which goes out to 5000+ Freehold community members. We generally send out about 2 per week.
What Are You Up To?
Student/Alumni Summer Accomplishments & Brags

Aaron Moore
" Linda Cleckler and I are in Measure for Measure which runs through the last week of July in the parks ( More Info )." 

Telisa Steen
"I've been really blessed with amazing film work this summer! I just wrapped my role in the feature film Big Trouble in Seattle, have a short film coming up called Us+, another short called Three Minutes, and also booked the role of a lifetime: the central character in the feature film Powerless, where I play a high functioning alcoholic who is a deputy sheriff."

Andrew Tribolini
" Team Industrial Conceit is participating in the 48 Hour Film Project in July. Includes Freehold Alumni  Kevin Traywick and  Alissa Cattabriga  and  Andrew Tribolini . "

C arolynne Wilcox
"My short play, Fate Demands It was produced for a play festival with Itinerant Theatre in Louisiana, and I wrote a play in Elizabeth Heffron's Playwriting class this past spring, which will be featured as one of As If Theatre Company's Kenmore Quickies in July ( More Info ) . I'll also be writing/acting in the 48 Hour Film Challenge ( More Info ) spearheaded by Freehold alum Maristela Diaz. Currently in pre-production for A Series of Small Cataclysms, which I co-wrote with Freehold alum Jen Smith Anderson and will also act in. More Info ."

I’m Escalus in Primrose Players Measure for Measure with  Aaron Moore Jacquie Stock , and  Steve Myers ... come check it out. ( More Info )" 

"I'll be playing the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet at Seattle Shakes ( More Info) ."

"I will be appearing in a tv show in July, just finished shooting a short film that I wrote, which is going into post production, and acting in the 48 Hour festival in July. Thanks for asking!" 

Shawn Backstrom
"This summer I will be in two shows: Performing as Algernon Moncrieff in Burien Actors Theatre’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest . And two roles in As If Theatre Company’s Kenmore Quickies - a collection of 8 ten-minute original plays by local playwrights inspired by murals in Kenmore, WA. I will also be a cinematographer on a 48 hour film project. Thanks to Freehold for all you have provided in training and support!"

Steve Myers
Cast in Measure for Measure in various venues this summer, with Primrose Players. More Info .

Eric Franklin
"1.) In post-production on a sci-fi cyberpunk feature film also with Freehold alumni  Neil Wang and Ivy Bona 2.) In pre-production on another feature film, a dramatic comedy. 3.) Participating in my first 48 Hour film festival under the team "X-Force" 4.) I've signed up to make another short film for Seattle's premiere horror event "The Nightmare Emporium". 5.) I will be playing a major supporting role in the upcoming Spider-Man 4 fan film."
Freehold has three studios and a mezzanine space available to rent for rehearsals, readings, meetings, photo/film shoots and even tech-lite performances (and soon to be outfitted for more tech-heavy performances).
Our entire facility is equipped with WiFi and Air Conditioning. Reservations can be made by phone (206.323-7499) or in person during office hours (10-6 M-Th). Reservation requests may also be made via  email. More info on cost, specs and availability here.