Student Handbook

Actors Bridge Ensemble

Student Handbook

Fall 2023

By registering for classes at Actors Bridge Ensemble (ABE), you agree to the below terms and policies as well as fully release, discharge and indemnify ABE and its employees, agents and representatives from any and all claims which may accrue on account of your participation.

The Meisner Technique gets actors out of their head and into the moment. Our goal is to develop the actor’s ability to create emotionally truthful performances, to be emotionally available and present with a scene partner; to effectively read human behavior and assign meaning to that behavior which is personally significant; to recognize one’s organic impulses to stimuli and to act upon those impulses with immediacy and authenticity.


Admission Requirements

Sanford Meisner described his technique as a series of exercises that teach actors to “follow the truth.” No previous experience is necessary. All students begin at Module 1 because the technique is a consecutive set of exercises that build on one another, laying a strong foundation for being truthful under imaginary circumstances.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory. You will learn as much from observing as from participating in the exercises. Absences hinder your personal growth and the progress of the class in general. 

Students who miss more than one class will need to drop the course and reschedule for a time when their calendar allows them to be fully present. In scene study classes, absences also hamper the work of your scene partner. When one actor does not show up for class, the other partner does not get to work or move forward with their craft. It is essential that students respect that time, talent and financial resources that their partner has committed to this process.

Students who consistently miss classes throughout the various levels of their Meisner journey may be asked to discontinue their work with us so that we can better guarantee a positive experience for our committed student body.

In the event you will be absent please notify your instructor with as much notice as possible. If you are in a scene study class, please also notify your scene partner as soon as possible.

Tardiness Policy

If you are running late, please text your instructor so they can make arrangements to keep the class running on schedule. If the door is locked when you arrive, we are in the middle of scene work. Text your instructor that you are outside. We will open the door between scenes for you to enter.

Paying For Your Class

The Meisner Foundation is a 16-week program broken into three modules. The value of this training is $1085, but we have created a payment plan for students who wish to break these payments out. A $185 deposit is required to secure your spot in the program. Then, a payment of $300 for each of the three modules must be made before the module begins. Students who wish to pay for the entire program up front may do so at a $100 discount, for $985. Payment for each module must be paid in full before the first day of class.

Drop Policy 

If you need to drop a class prior to the start of the session,  you must give the office at least ONE WEEK’S NOTICE prior to the start of your class or workshop. 

If you do so: any tuition paid toward the class and the non-refundable $185 deposit will be kept on credit at the studio for up to one year, to be applied to a future class.

If you drop the class ON THE DAY OF THE FIRST CLASS OR AFTER, the full tuition is non-refundable but will be kept on file for up to one year and is also transferable to another student.

If you drop a class midway through the series, you will need to have a conversation with your instructor about when you will be eligible to retake the class. Tuition payment is required again.

Health and Safety

We ask students to use their best judgment when attending events with a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 while enrolled in classes at Actors Bridge. 

If you are running a fever or experiencing COVID, flu or any other communicable illness symptoms, please do not come to class. 

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or its variants, please follow CDC guidelines. As long as you do not have any symptoms, you may continue attending classes. 

In terms of mental health and emotional well being, the Meisner Technique may have some emotionally therapeutic benefits, but it is not therapy. Your instructors are not mental health professionals. We have a resource list of licensed therapists if you need a referral.

The Meisner Technique will never ask you to relive your personal emotional past or draw on past traumas to find emotional authenticity. We always work from our imagination, never painful past experiences. 

Outside Rehearsal

Students should plan to meet with a scene partner at least one time between each class session. You will achieve the greatest success with the Meisner Technique when you put in as much time outside of class as in class through a combination of self-study, memorization work, and rehearsals. 

Rehearsals may take place in a mutually agreed upon location determined by the scene partners. Some students choose to meet in Nashville Public Library meeting rooms that are available free of charge at most branches. Reservations must be made in advance. More information is at

Students are expected to abide by the Student Code of Conduct and Sexual Harassment Policy detailed below. Any student who violates this policy will be dismissed.

Student Code of Conduct and Sexual Harassment Policy

We acknowledge that each student in our acting school has the right to bodily autonomy and that we each have unique physical boundaries that must be respected for creative imaginations to flourish. 

Students must ask consent before touching another student in a scene. We will have respectful discussions prior to performing scenes and exercises that have the potential to be triggering. Open discussions about each actor’s comfort level/boundaries, and clear consent that is Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic and Specific, (F.R.I.E.S) are vital for creating a framework in which actors can take creative risks in a safe environment.

All students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times while they are members of the ABE community both at the studio and in outside rehearsals with a scene partner and agree to be bound by this Student Code of Conduct and Sexual Harassment Policy.

In Tennessee, the law states that sexual harassment occurs when a person makes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal, written, electronic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Students who engage in this or any of the following conduct are subject to disciplinary proceedings, suspension, expulsion, referral for criminal prosecution and/or suit for civil damages:

  1. Harassment, including sexual harassment, hazing, and any behaviors which intimidate, threaten, coerce, or endanger the safety of others, or which interfere with the safety of any member of the studio community or its guests.


  2. Physical assault and/or physical abuse of any students, guests or staff of Actors Bridge Ensemble.


  3.  Discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender expression, or age, and behaviors which interfere with the rights of others to experience an environment free from such discrimination.


  4. Violation of any federal, state, county, or municipal law, ordinance or regulation.


  5. Theft or abuse of personal property of Actors Bridge Ensemble students, employees, or guests. This includes abuse, vandalism (including all forms of graffiti), or theft of Studio property.

 (This is not an exhaustive list of prohibited conduct, but merely guidelines as to the type and nature of conduct that is prohibited. Any conduct that the Producing Artistic Director, Class Instructors, or Staff determines could endanger the safety or security of members of the Actors Bridge Ensemble community, or is harmful to the Actors Bridge Ensemble environment, is also prohibited.)

All students agree to abide by this policy and to refrain from any such conduct. Students also agree to cooperate in any investigation by Actors Bridge Ensemble of any such alleged conduct, or any unprofessional conduct of any kind, including submitting any requested written or oral statements and participating in any meetings or hearings regarding disciplinary actions contemplated under this Student Code. All students agree to be bound by the final determination of any disciplinary proceedings so conducted and the decision of the ABE Producing Artistic Director shall be deemed final, and not subject to appeal, including any decision made by the Producing Artistic Director regarding sanctions such as suspension or expulsion from all aspects of the program (classes, auditions, rehearsals, performances).

A Word About Dating

For contracted theater artists, ABE maintains a no dating policy. It is a violation of this policy for instructors to date students. While we do not require the same policy among students, it is our experience that when students become romantically involved, the quality of their attention to their craft and classwork can be negatively impacted. 

For those students who do choose to date, we ask that you remember ours is a professional environment. Please do not involve classmates or your instructors in the details (positive or negative) of your relationship. We have found that when relationships between students do not work out, it can impact their interest in continuing their study and affect the friendships they have forged in their cohort.

Inclusivity Statement

As theater artists whose work relies on empathy, we aspire to create a community built on respect, belonging, collaboration, and imagination. We are invested in exploring multiple human perspectives and fostering social justice. We embrace the value of all people. Therefore, we reject any form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred, and we seek to cultivate an environment in which our differences are explored with generosity and openness.

ABE will not tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace or classroom. Failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and/or dismissal.

Drugs/Alcohol Policy 

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students is prohibited during classes. Please do not come to class under the influence of illicit drugs and/or alcohol. 

When required in scene work, non-alcoholic consumables are the responsibility of the student. Tea is a good substitute for brown liquor. Water for vodka. Cranberry juice for red wine, etc. If you need a recommendation, consult your instructor.

There is no smoking in the Darkhorse Theater or ABE Studio. Prop cigarettes and/or prop cannabis for use in scene work are the responsibility of the student. Prop cigarettes are available on Amazon. Dried oregano for marijuana, etc.

Privacy Policy

In order to be free to take risks and make bold choices, we maintain a privacy policy. By participating in our classes, we ask that you keep your classmates names, personal stories and details of their class work confidential.

In online classes, taking screenshots or recording of any kind is strictly prohibited. Exceptions to this policy are afforded at the sole discretion of your instructor on a case-by-case basis and with the consent of all students.

If and when you are sent filmed portions of your class for educational purposes, all clips are to be kept private and confidential. They are not to be shared with anyone nor posted publicly (social media, etc.). They are not to be used to promote yourself or to be used for your reel. This is copyright infringement and can result in a heavy fine to the student and to Actors Bridge Ensemble.

Education Only

The work done at Actors Bridge Ensemble is for educational purposes only. No audition or job is implied in any way in connection with any work done in classes or workshops conducted online or in-studio at ABE.

Image Release Consent

We love sharing photos of the exciting work our students are doing at our studio. By agreeing to this policy, you also agree to our image release consent agreement. This agreement states that ABE has your permission to use your photograph or likeness publicly to promote our classes and programs. You understand that the images may be used in print publications, online publications, email promotions, social media posts, and on our website. You understand that no royalty, fee, or other compensation shall become payable to you by reason of such use.

Student Review and Evaluation 

At the 10 week mark, ABE faculty will meet individually with students (in person or by Zoom) to discuss their progress with the Meisner Technique and collaborate to determine the best track for their work beyond Emotional Preparation (Improvisation Track or Scene Study Track). 

Students will receive written notes on their progress at the end of Week 16 (after Emotional Preparation).

At a Glance: Principles of Conduct in the Classroom and in Rehearsal 

The standards governing rehearsal in the professional theater respect the individuality of the artist in the workplace, yet allow for collaboration with and respect for fellow artists. These standards are also the basis for conduct in classes and rehearsals at Actors Bridge Ensemble.

  •  While areas of artistic invention and freedom are to be encouraged in all the work undertaken at ABE, it is vitally important that students apply principles of common sense and good judgment. We reject any form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred, and we seek to cultivate an environment in which our differences are explored with generosity and openness. If you witness or experience any form of hate speech, bigotry or discrimination, please report this immediately to your instructor.
  • Students must ask consent before any physical touch in class or rehearsal. In the context of an improvisational class, a student can incorporate consent into the exercise by naming the action (e.g.“I would like to hug you.”) but must receive verbal consent prior to completing  the action (doing the hugging). In the context of a scene study class, Actors Bridge uses mirroring exercises to communicate intimacy boundaries prior to the staging of any physical touch. If you witness or experience any unwanted advances by anyone involved in your ABE training, please report this immediately to your instructor.
  • The possession and use of illegal drugs and substances in class, rehearsal or performance is strictly prohibited.
  •  Cell phone usage is only permitted before and after class. Text messaging during class is not permitted. Recording and picture taking of classes is strictly prohibited and violates privacy laws.
  •  If you are going to be absent, notify your instructor immediately of the cause of absence (see attendance policy). 
  • Please dispose of all debris in containers in the kitchen provided for this purpose. Recyclable items (plastic/cans/cardboard) should be emptied and placed in the proper bin as marked in the kitchen.
  • Students must be responsible for any and all “independent activity” props and costume items brought into rehearsal or class and make sure that all such items are removed from the building once the scene or exercise is completed.
  • The use of knives, clubs, firearms (including blank guns) and any other item that could be construed as a danger to the student or to others, are not to be used at any time.
  • There is NO SMOKING permitted in any part of the building. You may smoke on the sidewalk outside of the studio or in the courtyard, but please dispose of your cigarette butts.
  • In the event of severe inclement weather (snow, tornado, etc.) or disaster, check your email for the most current information. If school is canceled or has a delayed start time, this information will be announced via email.
  • We maintain a “Lost and Found” box in the studio office. Please check with your instructor to report a missing item. Please be sure you have your personal belongings with you when you leave the classroom.
  • There is a First-Aid Kit in the kitchen above the Actors Bridge Fridge. 
  • We all share this treasured old building. Please notify your instructor of anything you observe that needs attention by our landlords. Please clean up after yourself and use garbage and recycling receptacles provided.


  • There is video surveillance that monitors all entrances and exits from the building. If you have a distance to walk to your car after class and feel unsafe, please use the buddy system or let your instructor know.
  • Never prop open an exterior door and leave it unattended. This is a violation of our lease agreement and can result in a fine to ABE.
  • Do not park in the loading zone in front of our door unless you are actively loading or unloading. This is a violation of our lease agreement and can result in a fine to ABE.
  • Best parking options are street parking on 47th Ave, the Truist Bank lot at 46th and Charlotte (when the bank is not open) or Richland Park. Use caution crossing Charlotte as folks drive fast down our street. Do not park in the Citizen’s Kitchen lot across the alley. There are several food trucks that recharge in that lot. They will tow you.