All classes and workshops are suitable for ages 16 and up.

Please note that tuition payments are non-refundable unless we have to cancel the class or the class has to move to an online-only format due to public health considerations

photo of Jen Whitley
Jen Whitley

In-person class at Mayo Street Arts, Portland
5 weeks, Wednesdays, March 1-29; 6:00-8:00pm
Instructor: Jen Whitley
All Students: $110

Advanced Improv will continue to build on the foundations of improv, including the philosophy of “yes, and”. Students will explore scene work in depth, with an emphasis on creating characters, along with developing skills such as physicality and object work. If you are looking to take your improv skills to the next level, gain confidence speaking in front of others, or just want to have fun collaborating in a friendly and creative environment, this class is for you!


JEN WHITLEY has performed and taught improv all over New England for over twelve years. She has trained in classes at Improv Boston, Upright Citizens Brigade (NYC), Improv Acadia and has taken countless workshops to hone her skills. Teaching improv is a delight for Jen as she enjoys watching students surprise themselves while discovering their innate improv abilities. Jen has been performing with Stranger Than Fiction (Portsmouth, NH) for ten seasons and is also a current member of Yes & Co. (Portland, ME). In her spare time she can be found trying out yoga poses while hiking, and playing improvised songs on the ukulele, usually not simultaneously.

In-person class at First Parish Unitarian Church, 425 Congress St. Portland
3 weeks, Mondays, February 20-March 6; 6-7:30pm
Instructor: Mark J. Parker
All Students: $85

Mark J. Parker

Join acting coach, award winning independent filmmaker, and casting director Mark J. Parker for a fun and informative three-week class about acting for the camera. Participants will practice at least two scenes from film and TV that fit their “type” during this session: one with a scene partner and one on their own with a reader. This class is great for both new and experienced actors, and for those who would like to get more comfortable on camera and learn the technical aspects of this art form. Memorization will be important as the weeks go on. Scenes will be recorded and actors will be sent videos of their work to see how they’re doing. Mark will give feedback and adjustments in real time, plus there will improv warmups and questions about the business. Some scenes will include adult language.


MARK J. PARKER is an acting & screenwriting coach, award winning independent filmmaker, casting director, digital content creator, podcaster and SAG actor, with over 25 years experience in film, TV, and theatre. After living in New York for 14 years, where he worked for companies like ABC, he made the move to Kittery, ME in 2020. He hosts and produces the podcast Release Date Rewind, which airs in shortened video form on Portland Media Center’s Channel 5 and YouTube channel. His short films Family History, Your Last Summer, Twin, 25 Years After Woodsboro, and Sticks can be watched online on various sites, and his next short film Casting Kill is in post-production for the festival circuit. In addition to making his own films, he casts and produces local independent projects, and most recently acted in Acorn’s Zoom production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Jynx Productions’ Joe Biden biography special for Galileo TV. Some of his acting clients and students have not only gone on to secure an agent or manager, but went on to audition for Steven Spielberg and book roles on SNL and Sesame Street.

In-person class at First Parish Unitarian Church, 425 Congress St. Portland
5 weeks, Thursdays, March 23-April 20; 6-8pm
Instructor: David Susman
All Students: $110

David Susman

This class is for both novice and experienced playwrights, and will be run primarily as a workshop. In other words, students will write each week, and we will spend much of our class time discussing one another’s work, offering feedback, suggestions, and encouragement. The course will also cover the basic components of playwriting, including plotting, character development, and dialogue. Our focus will be on short (ten-minute and one-act) plays, though projects of all sizes are welcome.


DAVID SUSMAN’s short plays have been staged at festivals across the United States and in Canada. (The Maine Playwrights Festival remains one of his favorites.) His works have appeared in anthologies by Smith and Kraus and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, and several of his plays have been made into short films, with screenings at the Boston International Film Festival, The New Indie Film Festival of London, the Sedona International Film Festival, and elsewhere. When not writing plays, he teaches English to college freshmen and sophomores, and can often be heard hitting wrong notes on a piano.

Gift Certificates Available

Give the gift of an Acorn class! Use the links below to purchase a gift certificate for one of our classes.