Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Academy functions are on pause while we determine how to deliver courses virtually.

Acorn Productions operates a training school for actors of all ages and levels of experience. Our model is that of a conservatory-style program in which actors progress through various levels of classes depending on their skills and interests.


Acorn strives to provide a quality, progressive experience for actors of all experience levels and ages. In a safe, inclusive environment we offer a wide variety of classes, ranging from one-time Master Classes to Semester-long classes to Weekend Intensives. With a skilled, compassionate faculty we continue to consistently bring Portland and its surrounding areas a positive, secure and pedagogically complete set of classes that will continue to push, engage, invite, and illuminate.

The Acorn Acting Academy believes that the strongest acting occurs when actors are living truthfully in the moment on stage. Our methodology is strongly based on the improvisational work of Viola Spolin and the voice work of Kristin Linklater, with influences from many other classic acting teachers including Stanislavski, Robert Lewis, and Keith Johnstone. We also use activities from Viewpoints and variations of the repetition work pioneered by Sanford Meisner. The cornerstone of our program is open scene work, in which actors bring their own choices and characterizations to short snippets of dialogue that are written in a neutral style.

Acorn offers extensive training for teen and adult actors wishing to learn how to work with Shakespeare’s language, as well as development for playwrights through classes and our annual Maine Playwrights Festival. Our goal is to provide actors with the tools they need to succeed in Greater Portland’s active theater community.


Daniel Burson

Dan Burson
Dan Burson

Daniel is the Artistic Director of the Maine Playwrights Festival. He has developed and directed new plays for theaters including Penobscot Theatre Company, Mad Horse Theatre, Saco River Theatre, Boston Playwrights Theater, and Portland Stage Company, where he was previously Literary & Education Manager. Other Maine credits include the world premieres of One Blue Tarp at Penobscot Theatre and Legbala Is A River at Mayo Street Arts, as well as productions at Portland Stage, Penobscot Theatre, AIRE, Dramatic Rep, and Deertrees Theatre. He is also a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.