Meet Conservatory Instructor Diana Burbano

Beth Fhaner & Danielle Bliss
 | May 25, 2018
William Steig

​Teacher Diana Burbano

SCR isn’t just a great place to see live theatre; it’s also a great place to learn about different aspects of theatre. On a year-round basis, SCR’s Theatre Conservatory offers acting classes for kids, teens and adults in the safe environment of our Tony Award-winning theatre. Led by experienced professional artists, students engage in lively instruction and deepen their understanding of the craft of acting, all while developing important life skills. Students can select from various classes including the summer acting workshop, musical theatre, playwriting, acting for the camera, Improv and much more. In this ongoing series, we’re introducing some of the instructors. Meet Diana Burbano.

During Diana's tenure in the Conservatory, Diana has taught beginning youth and adult acting classes, musical theatre and acting for camera.

Who was the teacher that inspired you in your acting studies―and in what way?
I went to the American Academy and studied with Karen Hensel. Her warm teaching style resonated with me as a pretty lost 17-year old. She was kind, firm and pushed me to work hard and be better. I can still hear her whispers in my ear as I did my Joan of Arc monologue and she became the other voices—completely inspiring. It was a beautiful circle to complete when I came to teach for her at the Conservatory, these many years later.

What should students expect when they walk into class?
My adult Acting Basics students come in usually nervous and apprehensive. I promise, you will have fun, make good friends and get to be 10 years old again, while learning acting techniques that will serve you in your daily life—or as a professional, if that is what you wish to pursue.

What’s your best class memory of an “aha!” moment for a student?
It was Eddie Villa Lobos in a scene from Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune. I saw him “get” it, find the moment and be very truthful. And he has become a professional colleague! He started in my basics class and went on to play my husband in The Long Road Today for SCR!

What do you learn from your students?
I am a better actor for teaching them. It forces me to reevaluate my own technique, tricks and fall-back methods. Also, the audience can tell when you are not being honest, in my case the audience is my class. They expect me to tell them the truth, and I can’t fake or hide when I am working with them.

Are acting classes (improv classes, playwriting, etc.) only for folks interested in acting?
I have people from all walks of life in my class. We have some pros, but we also have people looking for something fun to do, or who want to learn to improve their speaking skills, or just to meet new people. Ask my students. They all hang out together long after class is over.

How would your students describe your teaching style?
Stick on a funny hat and trust to luck. No! I am encouraging and warm, but I do push them out of their comfort zones.

Why might acting classes be scary for some folks and how can they overcome that fear?
Don’t be scared! It’s called a “play” for a reason.

What’s your favorite dessert?
I don’t eat a lot of sugar, but I wouldn’t push away a Nutella and banana crepe!

Learn more about year-round acting classes at SCR's Theatre Conservatory.