Struggling artists? Only in a manner of speaking.
Rich Goteri, Artistic Director of Michigan Actors Studio (formerly Detroit Ensemble Theatre) and Rachel Bellack, Managing Director, are struggling to keep pace with success.
It’s a good problem to have, even if it means working 24/7 to keep everything on track. Because the hard work is paying off.
Their instructors and students have found work in every major film project to hit Detroit since the incentive program first starting luring the big names to Motown. (Goteri has landed a bunch of juicy roles, lately. Too many to list here!)
The studio is now a State of Michigan Registered Trade School, which puts it on a footing with community colleges in terms of offering certification programs, college credit and financial assistance.
And at long last, Michigan Actors Studio is officially established in its all-new, bigger-and-better digs – just a couple of city blocks east of their previous studio at Nine Mile and Woodward.
In fact, they’re already expanding their expansion – taking over adjacent space to build out a dedicated area for the complete curriculum of youth classes they’ll be offering this fall. (Given the adult content of some of the standup comedy and improv classes, establishing the kids in their own sound-proof space just seemed like a good idea.)
We took a tour of the 7,000-foot space (photos below), which is in the first phase of a remodeling effort. In addition to cool offices for the instructors, there’s ample studio space for various classes and workshops, a recording studio, a writers’ room, a lounge area for chilling out between classes, and a dedicated theatre space. Still in the planning stages, this theatre will include a fixed, stage platform, elevated lighting booth, and re-configurable backdrop system.
Once this theatre is in place, expect to see more staged readings and professional productions (like their amazing Edmond) to follow.
In the meantime, between now and the full fall semester, Michigan Actors Studio has announced a roster of innovative workshops to help professional actors and newbies hone their skills. From standup comedy to character workshops … proven techniques for nailing the audition … or instruction for making the transition from stage to film … the classes are razor-focused on helping students perfect a specific, marketable skill set.
Goteri points out that that the instructors are all working professionals. That means that if a member of the faculty has a rehearsal conflict or a film shoot, one of the other pro’s steps in to take the class. Students benefit from working with the deep bench of talent that Michigan Actors Studio consistently provides – plus they get the skinny on what’s happening locally in the working world of film and theatre.
Ultimately, Rachel Bellack points out, it’s more than just a school. ‘It’s about building a community where people can be with other people like them … people who get it.’
If you’re obsessed with theatre … have always wanted to try standup comedy … or just need some inspiration to get that screenplay out of your head and over to an agent, this is where you start.
Stop by 648 E 9 Mile Rd (2 blocks east of Woodward) in fabulous Ferndale, call 877-636-3320, or email [email protected] to learn more.
It’s time to hook up with some people who share your obsessions, and know what to do about it.