Sybil Lines - actress, instructor

photo of Sybil

Program Sessions for Non-Actors

The workshop "Practical Communication" (see details below) uses imaginative exercises, improvisation and specific text to expand communication skills in the private and business world. All other workshops listed below are for the enjoyment of learning more about great plays.

"Meeting the Masters", "Absolutely Fabulous Shakespeare!" and "First Steps" are workshops that examine a wide variety of play scripts. There is information on the plots, the philosophy and the characters' motives. Some participants may prefer to simply listen during the sessions. Others may find speaking the words of these funny, dangerous and inspiring characters too much fun to resist. Workshops can be tailored to a few hours, a weekend or a series of sessions. For more information on scheduling of classes email

Meeting the Masters: The chance to explore scenes from plays of various eras including : Shakespeare; the villains of the Jacobean Revenge plays; the wit of Moliere; the hilarious characters of Restoration Comedy and the giants of 19th Century Europe and 20th Century America. No homework is required and all text material is provided.

Absolutely Fabulous Shakespeare! Offers the opportunity to explore scenes from Will's serious and funny plays. Whether you have been inspired, bored or intimidated by Shakespeare, you will find characters whose traits you will understand, enjoy, despise and admire. No homework is required and all text is provided.

First Steps into Shakespeare, Ages 12-16 years: Basic acting techniques are combined with a gentle immersion into Shakespeare's scripts. A mix of academic and practical information useful for auditions and in the high school classroom. All text material provided.

Practical Communication: Creativity and good communication are considered the lynchpin of success in our personal relationships, careers and over-all happiness. Yet how often do we take the time to explore our own creative potential? Linking the impact of various art forms and experiencing situations from another person's point of view can be inspiring and have very practical applications. Thinking outside our usual box can help with solving problems, alleviating the fear of public speaking and showing the best of ourselves in job interviews and with clients. Participants have ranged from business managers, housewives, farmers and technical designers to plumbers, nurses, international secretaries and adult students. Teachers have found this approach especially helpful in enlivening a myriad of subjects from history to political science.

Venues & Scheduling: Sybil has held workshops and seminars for non-actors in a variety of schools, business, religious and private institutions for groups as small as 8 and as large as 100. Sessions can consist of a one-time workshop or a once-a-week course for several weeks. Venues and schedules have been as diverse as an all-day seminar at the Archives of Literature, Marbach am Neckar (Schiller's hometown in Germany); an evening birthday celebration that included a specially devised theatrical event at a private house; a weekend coordinated with visits to art galleries in Washington D.C. for a group of retirees; and a 2-day series of seminars at the Chateau de Portales in Strasbourg, France for business trainees. Teachers from Norway, Turkey, Spain, Lithuania, America, Germany and France attended sessions with Sybil on developing creative ways to teach a foreign language. In London she directed teachers of various disciplines in imaginative exercises that culminated in a production of the play Female Transport and repeated this in Orlando, Florida using scenes from Hamlet. For details on how to coordinate a workshop, please email


Included here are comments from participants:

Everyone can suffer from attacks of shyness - I know I can! Showing us just a few adjustments in our physical and mental attitudes has really helped me overcome those self-conscious moments.
— Mary Vogt, contract administrator

By entering the mindsets of fictional characters and true-life historical powerbrokers we experienced decision making from a viewpoint other than our own. When specific business problems arise it is a tool I have since found useful.
— Eric Green, manager

I enjoyed the imaginative exercises and also appreciated that no one was made to feel uncomfortable, out of their depth, or unwillingly in the 'spotlight' at any point in the evening.
— Jennifer Price, midwife (retired)

Of course, given my profession, I am a devotee of the visual arts but Sybil's links of history, politics, and literature to the paintings at the National Art Gallery gave new ramification to some of my old favorites.
— Ron Lieberman, professional photographer

The weekend session with Sybil made me realize that sometimes we can 'know ourselves' with too narrow a definition. She's encouraged me to explore some aspects of life I have never made time for.
— Valerie Adlam, housewife

Sybil's 'self-expression' evening was the first time that I've pushed myself forward at one of our group's meetings - it was all too intriguing to stay on the sidelines.
— Malcolm Hollingsworth, engineer

I'd always wondered what Shakespeare was all about. In one evening with Sybil I 'got it' and had a thoroughly good time. The added bonus was that in forty years of marriage I never knew my husband expressed himself so well in public.
— Anne Stolt, nurse (retired)

To suddenly find myself included in the family of a Russian aristocrat from 1904 was magical.
— Donald Smith, author and contributor to National Geographic

I never understood a word of Shakespeare when I was at school. Suddenly I was reading Portia's speech and absolutely loving it!
— Elisabeth Ward, vicar

During the weekend I acquired some new methods of approach for my job but what was really a revelation was an insight and sense of relief about the passing of my father.
— Perry Nichols, physical exercise trainer for children with special needs

Examining our own integrity by examining the integrity of fictional characters was enlightening. Particularly encouraging were the exercises that tackled how to conquer long-standing stumbling blocks with the proof that old patterns can be changed no matter what one's age.
— Jackie Goss, Director, Evaluation and Inspections, Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice. Past president of the Federal Bar Association

The 3-hour session revealed new aspects and interests to me about my friends. It's opened up a wider variety of subjects in our conversations.
— Richard Mancini, designer at Smithsonian Museum (retired)

We train young people in their twenties toward careers as international secretaries, business managers and technical designers. We wanted Sybil to give our students a better understanding of spoken English with active exercises and text from English literature. The surprise to our faculty was that after only one day, our students had enough self-confidence to present a funny and entertaining piece from Shakespeare!
— Helena Struemann, Admin Director, Kolping School, Heilbronn, Germany

Breathing from the diaphragm has really helped my energy levels and the imaginative exercises have proved useful to ease stress.
— Carl Cox, assistant at William-Sonoma

My wife and I came along expecting to be part of a passive audience watching an entertainer. It was a pleasant change to discover that we, and the rest of the audience, were pretty entertaining ourselves!
— Paul Griffiths, farmer

Every two years our Academy hosts a festival in Stuttgart. Attendees include professional actors, voice teachers and professors of communication subjects. Sybil taught a session on Embracing the Giants in 2006 and we were so pleased that she could accept our invitation to return for 2008 when her subject was Voices of Power/Power of the Voice.
— Gisela Lohman, Chief Executive of the Academy of the Spoken Word (Akedemie für gesprochenes Wort), Stuttgart, Germany

Sybil's suggestions on how to identify personally with the paintings made the experience very involving and I believe it helped me to recall the art works in better detail long after our trip was over.
— Baby Jane Dexter, singer

Sybil, when are we going to see more of you? You gave us the gift of surprising ourselves.
— Mike Brookland, Navy officer (retired)

Copyright © 2010 Sybil Lines. All Rights Reserved.

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