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Artistic Development Classes

Our classes are geared toward all levels of ability and experience. Classes offer a chance to explore material and techniques that can’t be covered in a rehearsal setting. Our teaching artists are industry professionals with decades of experience in regional, professional, and educational theatre who believe strongly in their own continued education and networking in order to bring the most exciting & innovative classes to our students.

Please note:

  • In-person classes run in 2 terms:  FALL: October through December & SPRING: January through April. Summer session dates and offerings vary.

  • In-person classes are held at Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14605 in Room 206.

  • Classes run for 14 sessions ($420 per class for the full semester, all 14 sessions).

  • Cost per 90-minute class is $30 weekly (*classes must be taken and paid for in full, you cannot register for partial classes).

  • EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT:  Register more than 2 weeks in advance and receive 10% off your total tuition! (*discounts not combined)

  • Pay in Full by your registration and receive 15% off you total tuition! (*discounts not combined)

  • Not all classes are offered at all times.

  • Any class with fewer than 5 registered participants may be cancelled.

  • Participation in classes Level II and above requires completion of prerequisite classes or instructor approval.

  • Online Masterclasses with Artists-in-Residence will be offered soon more information to follow.

  • Online class times listed are Eastern Time Zone.

  • All online classes are held via

  • Online classes are scheduled at the convenience of the instructors.


MIND OF THE ARTIST | *Offered Fall 2021 

There is art in everything! Students in this class will discover exactly what performance art means, and how the artistic and design process moves from initial inspiration to finished product. We'll look at how a script can inspire the director, set designer, costume designer, and more, and how that inspiration turns into what you see on stage. This course will have a showcase presentation at the end of the semester. (Mondays @ 6-7:30 PM)

INTRO TO ACTING |  *Offered Fall 2021 

An introduction to basic acting techniques with emphasis on creativity, concentration, relaxation, physical and vocal awareness.  Through individual and group exercises, improvisations, monologues and scene studies,this class, eclectic in method, helps students develop their acting potential and sharpen their skills in interpreting scripts. Previous theatre study is not required. This course will have a showcase performance at the end of the semester. (Wednesdays @ 6-7:30 PM)

INTRO TO DIRECTING |  *Offered Fall 2021 

Introduction to basic principles: determining production concepts and approaches to the dramatic material; oral patterns; and working with the actor staging dramatic material. Students will incorporate the five stages of directing as interpreted by NYC theatre professional, Robert Moss, who Judy worked and studied with for four years, into their ability to work with actors. Each student will have time to direct and act in class for each of the stages. In this introductory level, language will not be utilized in this class in order to concentrate on behavior and communications. Out of the box thinking and problem-solving techniques will be utilized. This class is required in order to proceed to Directing II in which you will use these same steps accompanied with professional texts. Or Directing III in which students will actually direct short one-act plays to be performed for a paid audience! A showcase performance will round out the semester. (Mondays @7:30-9 PM)

INTRO TO DESIGN |  *Offered Spring 2022 

Bring your designs to life with this class! You will have the opportunity to learn and explore the world of design by actually designing and working collaboratively with students from the Directing III class. In putting our feet to the pavement, at Studio Z, you will be given the opportunity to be treated as an actual designer for a paid audience! Working with a selected director(s) you will design all elements of a given script: Costumes, Sets, Lights, Sound, Props, Hair, and Makeup for our “Two-Nights of One-Act Plays” to be performed for our season audience. There are classes in which you will learn how to design these elements for your selected scripts as well as to work collaboratively during class with your directors. This is a unique opportunity at Studio Z as this type of design work is normally only available at the collegiate level. In addition, you can test your work for a “preview” audience during our end of the Spring semester showcase performance. Mind of the Artist is a mandatory prerequisite for this course.


DIRECTING II / APPLIED ACTING |  *Offered Spring 2022 

This course builds off of Introduction to Directing continues to explore Robert Moss’ Five Stages of Directing, this time through utilizing plays and text. Student directors will direct as well as act in each other’s scenes. Actors registered for the course will be able to act in multiple scenes and apply their acting skills to a variety of genres.  All students will explore multiple bodies of dramatic work to get a taste of how to direct and act in comedy, tragedy, and everything in between.  Introduction to Directing is a mandatory prerequisite for this course for all students registering as directors. This course will have a showcase performance at the end of the semester.  


Unlock the rich world of Shakespearean theatre and performance by learning how to interpret and embody the text. Using Kristin Linklater’s technique to “Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice,” actors will use intense speech and rhythmic exercises as well as monologue work and scene study to re-create Shakespeare’s voice through his characters as if it was the actors’ own. This course will have a showcase performance at the end of the semester. (Wednesdays @ 7:30-9 PM)

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT |  *Offered Spring 2021 

Course in intensive character analysis and development. Using Stanislavski's Method through Strasberg’s lens, students will understand the motivations and intentions of the character through scene study and monologue work. Actors will explore “The Method” by learning how to portray characters from page to stage by imbibing the emotions of the character through asking simple questions such as “Who am I?” “Where am I?” “What do I want?” and “How will I get it?” as well as other vital yet deceivingly simple queries in which their depth into the world of the character will explode. This course will have a showcase performance at the end of the semester.


This course concentrates on external tools the actor uses to create different characters as well as dramatic performances on stage. Honesty and compelling performance energy are focused on as essential ingredients. Mainly based in improvisation technique and cooperative learning, actors will be required to step outside their comfort zone and dive into physical-based acting. They will begin to adapt “The Viewpoints” technique developed by NYC theatre professionals, Anne Bogart and Tina Landau, who Judy has taken workshops with. This creates genuine and honest physically capable performances by actors through removing of text and breaking down barriers. Actors will grow leaps and bounds through this technique. Final projects will apply this technique to text through monologue and scene work. This course will have a showcase performance at the end of the semester.​ (Saturdays @ 10-11:30 AM)


DIRECTING III |  *Offered Spring 2022 

The culmination of Introduction to Directing and Directing II this course gives feet to our mantra that students lead the way and can have professional resume-building opportunities at Studio Z. Students in this course will work intensely with Robert Moss’ Five Stages of Directing by applying the stages to a One-Act Play of their choosing and by working hand-in-hand with designer(s) from the Introduction to Design course (see below). In true theatrical collaboration, the directing students will cast, direct, and work with designer(s) to create a finished product which will be a paid performance for our “Two-Nights of One-Act Plays,” which will be billed as part of our Studio Z season and will perform for a live, paid audience. In addition they will have the opportunity to test their work on a “preview” audience during the end of semester showcase performance. This is a unique opportunity and one that is normally only incorporated into collegiate-level study. Both Introduction to Directing and Directing II are mandatory prerequisites for this course.



Bring the world of comedic acting to life! Any seasoned actor knows, comedy is three times harder to play on stage than tragedy! Learn how to interpret comedic scripts and applying the rule of “threes” to specific moments on stage. Using the expansive works of the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Neil Simon, we will explore the depth of comedy and how it can utilize the Viewpoints and The Method effectively for the actor to interpret the life of the character on stage. Introduction to Acting, Intermediate Acting and Character Development are prerequisites for this course.



Live the life of an actor by exploring the world of acting through “Meisner’s Technique.” This technique forces the actor to “get out of their head” through repetitious exercises and focusing on the other actors as well as the world that surrounds the actor on stage. This is a culmination of Stanislavski’s Method and a deeper exploration through Bogart’s Viewpoints. It is enriching and enlightening for the actor to capture themselves alive in the moment-to-moment life of the text and the world around them. Studying acting can be an enriching experience that also needs to be explored in a safe environment. This course embodies both of these for the seasoned actor. Introduction to Acting, Intermediate Acting, and Character Development are all mandatory prerequisites for this course.

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PRIVATE LESSONS | Scheduled directly with Judy Zanin. Call or text 585-451-1413 or email at

Private in-person and online lessons are tailored to meet the needs and interests of the student. Whether you are preparing for an audition, want to study new or more challenging material, or just want to gain experience working one-on-one with a professional, private lessons are a great choice.

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