Acting 101: Beginning Acting


Looking for a fun introductory acting class that’s open to everyone?  In this enjoyable beginning-level class, held on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, you’ll learn how to create characters; how to memorize dialogue and short scenes; and how to use your voice, body and emotions as acting tools. We’ll do warm­ups and theater games, improv and scene work.  You’ll also get information about Seattle’s film and theater scenes, and learn about auditioning opportunities in Seattle. 

Whether you’re considering taking an acting class just for fun, to get over your stage fright and get more comfortable in front of people, or have professional aspirations to act in television or movies or on stage, everyone is welcome.   The instructor has directed stageplays and feature films, and has taught acting and filmmaking courses for over 15 years. His movies have played at international film festivals.  Note: You can take this class by itself, or as part of a Certificate Program in Acting.   Instructor: Nils Osmar

  • Tuition: $150 for general public; $145 for UW students (plus $10 reg. fee)
  • Co-sponsored by the University of Washington’s Experimental College
  • Where: University of Washington campus (Seattle branch)
  • When: This class is offered every quarter.  Pick the one that works best for you:

Friday night class (starts in May): May 16-June 6th  7-9:30 p.m. (4 meetings)
General Public: $150 tuition Take Class
University of Washington students: $145 tuition Take Class

Sunday night class (starts in May): May 25-June 15, 5:30-8 p.m. (4 meetings)
General Public: $150 tuition Take Class
University of Washington students: $145 tuition Take Class


Nils Osmar ’s background includes over twenty years as an actor, playwright, producer and director. He has made his living in the arts since 1986.  His stageplays have been produced in the Seattle Fringe Festival, New City Theater Directors’ Fests and other venues.  His independent films have played at major international film festivals.   He has taught both accredited and non-accredited classes in Seattle for over twenty years, through the U.W.’s ASUW Experimental College,  Antioch University’s Heritage Institute (a teacher certification program in Washington state), and  • Nils Osmar’s IMDB (professional film credits) page


Student comments about our BEGINNING ACTING class:

After just 2 classes with Nils, I auditioned for an independent film against actors with many years experience and I got the part. Nils teaches confidence and he freely shares his knowledge of the acting. – Robert C., Actor (Hollywood)

I really think you are a great instructor, and you seem to have a genuine interest in and enjoy helping people develop their skills. And it was fun! – Pritam (Seattle)

Hey Nils, thanks for the class  –  had a really good time this quarter.   I really came at the class from the direction of directing.   I had successfully directed two plays back in Britain, but I always felt that I was on shaky ground when I tried to give advice to actors that went beyond “okay, say it louder this time.”   There’s nothing that makes you feel a fraud quicker  than standing up in front of lots of people who look to you for advice and not having any to give.

The class definitely helped…  I really enjoyed the improv element of the class. It always felt like just one step away from playing a childish game, which I always enjoy.    It was also great to have a chance to work on a monologue with you, especially in front of a small, friendly audience. Your advice on the ‘business’ side of acting was also very useful.  - Cheers, Mark (Seattle and London)

A week after your class (I) went to my very first audition!   Talk about absolute terror.   I did the same monologue I did in class, and guess what?   I got offered not only one role, but two roles from two different directors,  from that one petrified , shaking monologue, on my very first audition!  I was shocked…I couldn’t have done it without your great class.  Thanks! –  Randy T.   (Seattle)

I’d like to thank you.   After taking your (Beginning Acting and Let’s Make a Movie) classes last year, I now have had two acting gigs.   One in a movie called Sideways Japan… it was a Fox production…  and I was in a commercial in Hollywood, that was a Time Warner production.   The reel we made (in the Let’s Make a Movie class) was very useful helping me perform in front of camera and the fact (that I was) comfortable in front of camera got me the gigs.

Tell  everyone to not give up and give it your all if you want to make it.   It was a slow start, but now I’m living in L.A. and loving it. Thanks again, your classes are good. – K. S.  (Hollywood)

Hi Nils,   I just wanted to thank you for a great class last night! Clearly, people were a little nervous about getting up to perform their monologues, but you have fostered a very supportive environment which makes it much easier to get up there.   I think you did an excellent job at figuring out how to help each individual to take the next step with their piece,  despite a wide range of skill levels.   I’m looking forward to next week!  –  Marnie M.  (Kirkland)

Hi Nils,  I want to thank you for inspiring me to follow me dreams. I left Washington. I am down in California.   I have started a television production company and I auditioned for a Harley Davidson Commercial yesterday as an actor.  Everything is moving at light speed…and in a positive direction. It all started with you in that classroom at the U of W.  – Robert C.,   Hollywood

Students looking for acting classes in Seattle may also be interested in: Let’s Make a Movie and Intermediate Acting.

Frequently asked questions

Why are there two versions of the Beginning Acting class? (One on Sundays, the others on Tuesdays)?  Beginning Acting is one of our most popular courses. To keep it from getting overcrowded, we’ve split it into two sections, one on Tuesdays, one on Sundays.

What’s the difference between the two sections?  There’s no difference at all in the class content.  It’s the same class, with the same exercises and the same instructor.  Just sign up for whichever section works best for you.

Where is the class held?  Both sections are held on the University of Washington campus.

Is it an accredited University of Washington class?  Our acting classes are co-sponsored by the ASUW (the student government at the University of Washington).  They are not accredited, so you don’t earn University of Washington credit; they are non-credit classes intended for personal enrichment and learning, for the general community. This means there are no grades to worry about.  You can have fun exploring acting and focusing on developing your acting skills in a relaxed environment, without worrying about tests or grades.

Are there more advanced classes, for people who complete Beginning Acting?  Yes, The other classes in the series are:

Another section will start in July. The links for the July class will become active soon:

WEDNESDAY NIGHT CLASS: July 9-July 30,  7-9:30 p.m. (4 meetings)
General Public: $150 tuition Take Class
University of Washington students: $145 tuition Take Class