About Spotlight On

Stage Pages



S. T. I., INC.

Award-winning School

OOBR Award-winning Company

Steven E. Thornburg, Artistic Director



Isn’t it YOUR TURN

to be A STAR?!


(Tough, traditional training in a holistic vibe)



Steven E. Thornburg

Shetler 54

244-250 W. 54th St.

12th Floor

New York, NY  10019


Steven E. Thornburg’s classes are designed to give a safe space to professional theatre artists, as well as beginners, to practice and grow.  The course of study is for actors, primarily, with writers and directors integrated.  The classes are protected with the participants screened, auditioned and interviewed very carefully.  Thornburg has developed an original system, called Tao Technique, which underscores traditional actor training.

 The best way to describe it is to look at one of our great historic inspirations, The Group Theatre.  Some of the greatest teachers and methods in the world came out of it, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sandy Meisner, Harold Clurman, Bobby Lewis.  So did some of the best American playwrights, Clifford Odets, William Soroyan, Arthur Miller and William Inge.  These great and passionate examples -- as well as institutions such as The Actors Studio, The Neighborhood Playhouse and The Stella Adler Conservatory --  are the foundation for our fervor at S.T.I.  Thornburg adds a holistic environment with practical actions to calm, ground and develop the artist to the maximum. 



Talking about an acting method was once very difficult.  But it has gotten easier.  As Michael Checkov said, every actor has a method, whether he knows it or not.  Many great and famous stars talk about the Method as their background.  The truth is that they keep a very broad definition of it and often consider themselves “method” even if they studied Stanislavsky’s “System” or Stella Adler’s “Technique” or Meisner’s “Meisner.”  (Many success stories, such as Brando, studied with multiple master-teachers.)

 We take the best examples of these great teachers and mix them into a healthy and systematic way of working.  Combining this technique with Thornburg’s own “Tao Technique” leads to amazing growth.



Students learn the basic principles of analyzing a script, staging a production, blocking and working with actors.  Directing students take an acting class with the actor-track students in order to know them, understand their “language,” and collaborate with them under the guidance of the instructor.  In addition, the directors meet regularly with the teacher and other directing students in order to work privately on directing issues.



Beginning writers are given the exercises and fundamentals which get them started in the one-act form.  Advanced students enroll for a detailed study of guidelines which are inspired by Aristotle.  Playwrights also take the acting class with directors in order to know them, speak their “language” and to collaborate with actors and directors on scenes, monologues and one-acts.  Playwrights meet regularly with the instructor and other writers in order to discuss issues of interest.



Every student has the option of culminating the course with live performances.  For the directors, they get to direct a scene, monologue or one-act, depending on their skill.  For the writers, they may see one, or more, of their works staged (monologue, scene or one-act).  These are workshops produced by Sage Theatre and Spotlight On, together, for which a general audience and agents may be invited.  You have to be enrolled in a class (in good standing) in order to take advantage of this free opportunity.  S. T. I. has had several Spotlight On Award nominations.  Eg., A Living Tableau won for best showcase; and Poster of the Cosmos won for best production of a one-act.



The student learns technique in three categories:  technique for preparing a role; technique for readying a specific performance; and technique for nurturing a life in the craft.





Steven E. Thornburg is an award-winning teacher, actor, writer and director and the creator of Tao Acting Technique (Three-time winner of the Off Off Broadway Review Award, the Vonder Gray Prize, the Maybelle Conger Award and several Spotlight On, Claire Jones and Sage Awards.)  He works Television, Broadway and Off-Broadway.


Studied at Oklahoma City University, University of Oklahoma, Columbia (M.A.) and N.Y.U. with historic luminaries Stella Adler and Herbert Berghof as mentors.  Plays published by Dialogus and “how to” texts by Calthor.       



Congratulations to the S.T.I. students for their many accomplishments, including:  Teresa Fischer’s shows for American Theatre Wing (Outreach Program); Kenny Rials’ two-novel deal; Elyse Seiden’s best actress (Spotlight Award); Cynthia Marion’s Artistic Directorship; Jenny Greeman’s Equity membership; Elias Stimac’s feature writing & reviewing at Backstage; A. Wrath’s N.Y. Times review; Mike Shapiro’s one-man shows (Stage and Cabaret); Vonder Gray’s best actress (season recognition by Backstage); Anthony Ciccotelli’s  M.F.A.; J. Stanford Hoffman and Susan Bucci’s television and print bookings; Dr. Cole’s modeling, murder mystery and movie work; Tom Barz’s movie stunt coordination/acting; and the other twenty nominations/wins for awards (eg., OOBR, Sage and Spotlight On) that our students have collectively enjoyed in such categories as acting, directing, producing, writing, one-person show, design, and best production.  Our students are CRAFT-y!


Admission to S.T.I. is by invitation only.  However, you may apply or audit the free classes which are offered from time to time.  At that point, you will be interviewed and/or auditioned by Steven Thornburg.  The term of the course is 12 to14 weeks, meeting once per week for three hours.  The price for a course is $300.  Coming in at $8 per hour, the policy of S.T.I. is to keep the price low as long as there is little billing and office labor involved. 


The next scheduled open audit (free) is Sunday, Feb 1st, 4pm until 7pm, at Shetler 54, located at 244-250 W. 54th St., 12th floor.  Then, after that, February 8th (4pm until 7pm) also at Shetler 54.  You can reserve a spot by calling the Sage Theatre Office, (212) 929-3423 or the Spotlight On Office, (718) 505-6110 or by e-mailing HolisticSteven@aol.com.


“Steven is very good!  Why did you wait so long to get on the platform?” 

(Stella Adler)

“I am enthusiastic about these classes¼Creative juices crackle and pop.” 

(Ken Weller/Stage Pages) 

“Thornburg is a director who understands you¼The Twilight Ladies brought a tear to my eye more than once.”

(Ira Levin, author)

“The holistic environment offers you something you can’t get everywhere.”

(Lizzie Brown, actress)