Sybil Lines - actress, instructor

photo of Sybil

Classes for Actors

When writers choose drama over a novel or poem, they entrust the completion of their communication to an actor. Fulfill that trust with an approach that focuses on organic specificity, modulation and new thought while honing technical skills that enable the full expression of a passionate imagination.

Sybil Lines is available for one-on-one coaching whether actors are seeking entry level at a drama school, auditioning for regional theatres or seasoned professionals preparing 'sides' for television or Broadway. She encourages the exploration of the needs that prompt a character to speak, the detective work of analyzing the use of a specific word and what the character is aiming to shift in the listener's mind. Mining the variety within your monologues will show off your range and rehearsing different approaches to your script will prepare you for the director's requirements during the audition process.

British dialects or European accents can be particularly daunting if there is little time to prepare for an audition. Sybil will help identify the basic idiosyncrasies of an accent while supporting your work on character development. How the characters speak should never overwhelm what they are saying.

Group Workshops
Shakespeare from the Loins© is a series of acting workshops that use group exercises to help the actor manifest not only psychological and primal emotional intensity but also the energy and appropriate physical power for classical text. Understanding the requirements of heightened language and meter while avoiding presentational performances (animated poetry readings, phony tonal qualities, sing-song delivery or drowning in the rhythm) is the basis for these workshops.

Shakespeare to Shepard is an acting course which includes selected exercises from Shakespeare from the Loins© plus monologues and scene-study work from the great American playwrights. Explore the similarities and differences for actors when tackling Shakespeare's works compared with those of modern scripts.

Beyond Shakespeare is an acting course on the hilarious characters from Restoration Comedy, villains in Jacobean tragedy, smart-talkers from G.B. Shaw and the touching roles in Ibsen and Chekov.

Younger Students (12-16 years): Fresh Steps into Shakespeare blends exercises on basic acting with a gentle immersion into Shakespeare's scripts. A mixture of academic and practical information can be useful at auditions and in the high school classroom.


Following are quotes from Sybil's students and colleagues. For enquiries about classes contact Sybil at the following e-mail:

All thanks to your coaching, Sybil, I have won a place in the full time Theatre program at Columbia University starting this September.
— Laura Lassy

Sybil, you always say breath is power - thank you for literally nurturing my ability to breathe fuller life into Shakespearean characters.
— Lily Hudson

There is no time-wasting in the Shakespeare to Shepard course!  Sybil's insistenc on 'fearless play' is a revelation.  Highly recommended.
— Annie Chadwick, Actress & Founder of NYCity Slickers Band

Thank you for your exhilarating and inspiring sessions.
— Steven Bidwell

You made the classics not only accessible but also enjoyable! Your encouragement led me to win a place with the 3-year training course at the Julliard Drama School in New York City.
— Sheldon Woodley

Fastpaced group exercises and individual assessments with practical guidance were part of every Shakespeare to Shepard session.  Sybil's comments are always to the point and helped enormously with the sardonic humor within some modern pieces.
— Alexander Stewart

Thanks for your kick-ass direction on Romeo.
— Christopher Cohen

To be frank, as a 30-year old black woman, I despised Shakespeare before coming to your class. I had categorized him as 'dead white guy' and now I feel like he is me! Thanks for all the work we did especially on the Emilia speech.
— J. Burns

I am familiar with Sybil Lines and her teaching abilities through her work for us as an instructor of Shakespearean text in our Professional Acting Workshop. She is extraordinarily knowledgeable of the Shakespearean cannon from both an intellectual perspective as well as an experiential perspective through her extensive experience as a professional actress. Some of our courses include a wide age range (between 18 to 50 years old) and I have been regaled with praises about her teaching from all students no matter what their age or experience. There are unqualified raves from every corner regarding her textual knowledge and personal style in relating that knowledge to her students. Her critiques of the students' work are always insightful and caring of their personal growth. She truly enjoys teaching and that joy translates into a highly positive working environment for her students. I can likewise confirm the professionalism with which Sybil always approaches her work and the genuine collegiality of her interaction with fellow instructors. She is an exceptional teacher who possesses outstanding gifts to share with students of the theatre.
— E. Colin O'Leary, Theatre School Director, Circle in the Square Theatre School, NYC

Thank you for dismissing the phrase "over acting" and replacing it with "empty acting." Thank you for giving me exercises that allowed my body to caliber the different energy levels required in acting and, having been away from theatre for five years, thank you for all your support to return to a profession I love.
— Steven Bussen

On the drama course I feared the Shakespeare class the most - then you made it so much fun it was the class I looked forward to the most.
— Erika Seiler

As the founding Artistic Director of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater it was my pleasure to meet Sybil when she played Lady Macbeth for us. She has proved a valuable asset on several occasions when I had visiting artists attend my seminars for teachers at the Drey Institute at Rollins College in Florida. Her explanations and practical application on performing Shakespeare's characters have been very popular with everyone.
— Dr. Stuart E. Omans, co-author of Shakespeare Plays the Classroom. Past Chairman of the Department of English and Professor of English at the University of Central Florida

I am an actor from Israel with imperfect English so I feared your Shakespeare class would be impossible for me. I am amazed that, despite the language barrier, it was thrilling to work with your exercises on Hamlet and King Lear and I appreciated when you prompted me to use a Hebrew translation for exploring my Bassanio speech.
— Oshri Sahar

On the first day of our course you said we would learn a lot from each other and watching you urge everyone to stretch beyond their perceived capabilities was heartening and invigorating.
— Alexander Magliaro

ACTeen is the nation's first on-camera acting curriculum developed for teens and young adults. Established in 1978 our students are aged between 11 to 19 years of age. Sybil Lines has been our Shakespeare instructor when we add this to our program for the summer. She is a dynamic, articulate, caring instructor who makes the teaching and discovery of Shakespeare vastly intriguing and appealing. She is a favorite of my teenaged students. Unbidden, students wrote glowing reports of her class, and their newfound appreciation of Shakespeare. Sybil is meticulous, well prepared, very supportive of students and other staff members and is incredibly talented, both as an actress and as a teacher.
— Rita Litton, ACTeen Director

In the Shakespeare to Shepard course the familiarity with the American playwrights resonated in a quicker emotional affinity with the Shakespearean characters and the urgency and depth of the classical work inflenced the contemporary pieces. 
— Casey Cipriani

I found the parallels Sybil drew between Shakespearean text and the work of contemporary great playwrights led to one epiphany after another.  The Shakespeare to Shepard course is a must for any serious actor.
— Sophie Vanier

Before I took your classes I was not drawn to Shakespearean plays, as I didn't really understand the language. Now I have a deep appreciation of the text and have learned how to fuel the fire in the characters I portray. I want to keep the feeling I captured in your class - fully alive, active and aware of life.
— Christina Browder

I now have a much better appreciation for Shakespeare. Thanks, Sybil, for being open, honest and inspirational.
— Dianna Duffy

We have a three-year course for training professional actors and our past alumni includes Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Christie, Kate Nelligan, Rupert Everett and Rufus Sewell. In 1986 Sybil spent some time in England and we were lucky enough to persuade her to come and teach on our Acting Course. She directed two student plays, taught verse and text and was involved in assessing incoming students at their auditions. She was excellent in all departments and made a first class contribution to the life of the School.
— George Hall, Director of the Acting Course 1963 - 1987, Central School of Speech and Drama, London

I soon realized Sybil's exercises have a deliberate order that feeds energy within the group so that passion for the character overcomes any inner voice of hesitation.
— Sean Singer

Sybil is a force of nature and her approach to the craft is like no other I've encountered. Through active scene-study and character analysis she opened my mind to a whole other appreciation of Shakespearean text.
— Tess Middlebrook

Your passion for the work (on Shakespeare) is inspiring and infectious.
— Tim Stiltz

I am very sorry you did not have time to come to Italy and teach my colleagues Shakespeare. I am not sure how you managed to give me notes after I did my Hamlet speech in Italian but I do understand that energy and intensity is international!
— Massimo Lazzeri

Since taking the Shakespeare to Shepard course, I have learned to crave even more attention to the history, illumination and life in each individual WORD in the text rather than just the intellectual meaning of a sentence. Sybil's classes embrace the opportunity to explore each individual's full potential with an open environment that allows commitment to the work, grounding in the moment, and yet enjoyment with the freedom of play.
— Quinn Coughlin

I met Sybil Lines when she was performing in Footfalls with Billie Whitelaw in New York City. She accepted my invitation to teach Shakespeare classes at our Drama School. We were so pleased with the students' assessment of her teaching skills and their final showing that we offered her a permanent position. Unfortunately for us she was unable to accept due to other theatrical opportunities but we wish her all the best with her future ventures.
— Jack Garfein, Artistic Director, Actors' & Directors' Lab, Samuel Beckett Theatre

It was a pleasure including Sybil Lines in my roster of teaching luminaries for my acting studio, which was known as the Corner Loft Studios at 99 University Place, New York City. She joined fellow artists on our faculty such as Frank Corsaro (director at the Metropolitain, Lincoln Center, City Opera and recipient of the Broadway Drama Desk Award), Kevin O'Connor (2 time Obie winner), Robert Patrick (author of Kennedy's Childrren), and George Keathley (renowned theatre director and recipient of the Emmy Award, Best Director for One Life to Live). During the years she taught for me, Sybil gave the students a variety of scenes to study from Restoration Comedy, Jacobean tragedy, Ibsen and Chekov to Harold Pinter and other modern playwrights. I, myself, took the opportunity to sit in and enjoy some of her classes.
— Elaine Gold, founder of Corner Loft Studio, NYC

Your classes gave me the opportunity and strength to dig deeply and access a part of myself that I always knew existed but could never previously free.
— Laura Bleasdale

I have had years of study with very good teachers and what I greatly appreciated about Sybil's Shakespeare to Shepard course was the attention to each student's emotional truth, technique and vocal production along with script analysis and an atmosphere of energetic discovery.
— Lynne Otis

As an Australian student of drama I had already taken several good Shakespearean courses but your sessions were full of nice surprises. Our class printed up one of your sayings on a T-shirt: "Falling in love is like champagne in your loins." It was just one of the fresh and insightful ways you used to help an actor capture a moment in a scene.
— Leah Gabriel

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 (acting intensity required for the great classical roles) in 2006 and we were pleased that she could accept our invitation to return for 2008 when her session was Voices of Power/Power of the Voice.
— Gisela Lohman, Chief Executive of the Akademie für gesprochenes Wort (Academy of the Spoken Word) Stuttgart, Germany

You saw how intimidated I was by the language in classical text. I want to thank you for caring enough to push me really hard in ways that took away my fear of Shakespeare.
— Liz Cascio

Sybil, you've opened my eyes, mind and spirit to artistic discovery.
— Anna Safar

Sybil and I first worked together in 1995 when she appeared as Mrs. Alonby in Michael Kahn’s production of A Woman of No Importance in Washington DC. We have since worked on several projects together including my productions of The Diaries and Equus. When I was serving as the Artistic Director of Perseverance Theater in Juneau I was also conducting Shakespeare sessions with students at the University of South East Alaska. Aware of Sybil's very unusual approach to Shakespearean characters via energy exercises I invited her to work in tandem with me so that my students could benefit from her passion and visceral exploration of classical text. I look forward to the next time we can work together again.
— P. J. Paparelli, Artistic Director, American Theater Company, Chicago, IL

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

I've always enjoyed Shakespeare but your insistence that I be as emotionally truthful with classical text as with modern has helped me immensely with all my work. Your "Shakespeare from the Loins" classes made the literature of the classics even more alive and exciting than I could ever have imagined.
— Lauren Taylor

Quote from student's assessment form: SYBIL'S SHAKESPEARE CLASS WAS AWSUM.
— Joseph, age 11

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