WINTER Semester, 2017

The New Surry Theatre’s Performing Arts School, now in its 45th year, offers numerous classes in performing arts. Each of these classes is open to inexperienced and experienced adult students from thirteen years of age to octogenarians. The ninth and last class of the semester will be “Open House Performances” for the community, bringing all of the classes together.

Winter 2017 Class Descriptions

The Craft Of Acting/Acting as Truth
with Bill Raiten

Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

This class teaches acting as truth and the craft of acting using improvisation, mind occupation, creative team scenes, and discussion. The methods of well-known American acting teachers will be used and discussed to help the student understand the actor’s responsibilities to the playwright, the audience, fellow-actors and to themselves. Improvisation will be used for the actor to hone the skills of listening, sharing and creating a character with truth. These skills, when fully understood and mastered, enable and empower the actor to convey the playwright’s feelings with such strength that they and the audience become one with the script. Experienced and non-experienced students of all ages will share the stage and learn together.

The Art of Theater Makeup
with Elena Bourakovsky

Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Stage makeup is a studio class, involving relatively little outside preparation but commitment and concentration when in class. The objective of the course is to learn the basic techniques for the design and application of makeup for the stage by individual practice. This class uses a hands-on, project-based learning approach.

It is relatively easy to learn and practice, moving from simple steps to more and more skillful and intricate ones. The class both has a solid structure that has to be followed while also being very personalized and creative. Most parts of the course are appealing and fun for both male and female students. Theater makeup is individual work while also being team work, with students helping each other to master the craft. The class teaches students some basics of human anatomy and asks them be more aware of other people through observing and remembering different features, colors and the aging process. The class also gives participants the chance, perhaps for the first time ever, to look very closely at themselves from a very different perspective. Skillful makeup application can produce a dramatic effect, which can be appreciated by the whole group and becomes a pride for its creator. 

Scene Study
with Bill Raiten

Wednesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

This class is open to experienced acting students. Participants will perform a selected scene chosen by the instructor from a contemporary American or English play. Each scene will perform for the teacher and fellow students every other week during class. During the weeks that they do not perform, the students will be the audience for other student’s scenes. The students will be expected to meet with the other actors in their scene to rehearse on their own time in order to progress in performance quality before each time they perform for the class. They will also be expected to comment on each scene they see with dialogue that will be helpful to their fellow actors. The instructor will direct each scene during class as if it were in rehearsal. The scenes will be performed for an audience of friends and family at the end of the semester.

Singing for the Stage
with Daniel Conte

Thursdays, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Learn to use that most powerful, yet delicate musical instrument - your voice! Participants will be given tools to build a resonant, expressive and reliable vocal instrument. Using the repertoire of musical theater, we will explore ways in which the voice can convey story, character and emotion in song. We will learn to sing as an ensemble and each participant will be given guidance and assistance in preparing a solo piece for performance. The class will also include stage direction for each song by Bill Raiten.


Elena Bourakovsky, The Art of Theater Makeup

Elena Bourakovsky headed the large costume department of the Komedy Theatre of Leningrad, Soviet Union, (St. Petersburg, Russia) for fifteen years where she presided over the design and implementation of costumes for a repertory theatre that performed more than twenty plays each year. In 1990 she was invited to come to The University of Maine, Orono as a J1 exchange Professor of Costume Design to work in the Costume Department and to teach Theatre Make-Up. She has designed costumes, make-up, or the entire production for more than fifty plays,operas and musicals. She has worked with professional and community theatres, colleges, and youth groups in Maine, Canada, and California.

Bill Raiten (NST Artistic Director), The Craft of Acting/Acting as Truth & Scene Study

Bill Raiten was born, raised and schooled in New York City, and has always been involved in theater.  A stand-up comic in the 50’s, a writer in the 60’s, a director, acting teacher and producer since then, he has always found his way to the theater. He has directed, taught and performed in New York, Hollywood, and Maine in as well as in the USSR, Glasgow, Scotland and Canada. He has educated people, young and old, using his brand of theater as a vehicle for them to find and like themselves. He has filmed an original short documentary with Maine Public Broadcasting that was aired in May 2001 and nominated for a New England regional Emmy Award. Using his teaching methods at the Maine Youth Center with Seymour Paper of MIT, incarcerated youth wrote and edited their own film. He now teaches acting in Maine, farms organically and is the Artistic Director of the New Surry Theatre. Many of his students have continued in or gone on to illustrious careers in farming, teaching, carpentry, photography, film and even in The Performing Arts.

Daniel Conte, Singing for the Stage

Daniel Conte has been singing and directing choirs and ensembles in Maine since the 1990's. Before that he was involved in church music as well as theater, film and recorded music in New York. He has composed many psalm settings, masses, and choral works as well as secular and instrumental pieces. Currently he is Music Director at St. Joseph Church in Ellsworth, ME. He is a member of the St. John's Chamber Choir in Bangor, Maine. He also conducts the Brooklin Band and teaches private voice, piano, and theory and composition lessons. He lives in Orland with his wife Dorothy and his youngest son, Ed.