Incubator Training for Actors is a global collective of teaching artists committed to providing affordable, beginning through advanced level classes for professional, freelance artists. Our instructors value travel and new experiences over financial gain. Currently five countries (China, France, Italy, United States, and Uruguay) are represented by a faculty that acts as a family, living and training together every summer. Students are challenged to take risks, cross boundaries, and, above all, tell the truth in their personal performance styles. Our home bases are Durham, North Carolina (USA) and Shanghai (China), as the teaching wing of Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern.



by a lunatic name Cheng Feng who attended Jaybird's class

July 2016

Whether it is luck or fate, at the behest of my theatre friends, in 2015 I found myself attending Jaybird's acting incubator class. Those ten-something days were an exhausting whirlwind of daily morning yoga, acting practice, and nighttime salon visits. Each day consisted of a full 12 hours of physically and mentally demanding exercises, leaving us feeling both enlightened and exhausted. It was a metamorphic experience.

After Beijing, we decided that the next year's Incubator class shall take place in Shanghai. This time, we will have not only Jaybird, but also actors from his theatre company in the United States, Little Green Pig, and Chinese "rely-on-looks-or-labor-to-eat" actors. This company of talented masters arrives this year for another round of fighting. 

I had wanted to write for some time about my experience learning from Jaybird. Yet neither my tongue nor my pen can capture the kind of earth-shattering world-changing feeling I experienced. On the other hand, after a year, I am slowly piecing together the answer to an old question lingering in my mind.

Lingling told me, you must write it down. Alright, then I will. Let me answer that question, regarding those who are on this path of pursuing acting. It is an unfinished answer. Jaybird, thank you for the inspiration.

If one does not seek to become an actor, why learn acting? 

In life, there are always voices ceaselessly whispering in our ears. / They are like parched grass waiting for the monsoon season / A thousand sounds awaiting an opportunity to come alive. / When life's elixir pour into the land / In our lives, some other lives also awaken.

If one does not seek to become an actor, why learn acting? / We are all strangers to ourselves / And it is only through exploring the world that we slowly understand ourselves. / In theatre, we seek ever more desperately to look inward / In theatre, there is literature, there is aesthetics, there is rhythm and music / And there is that mysterious feeling that allows us to become softer / The study of acting is an act of establishing inner beauty and order.

If one does not seek to become an actor, why learn acting? / When we act, we experience other lives / Inside stories, we experience others' journeys through life. / If a man's personal growth requires time and experience, / He through the world of acting experiences numerous compressed lifetimes. / If one script is one lifetime, / The study of acting takes us through countless worlds. / As Wang Xiao Bo said, A person living one life is not enough, he must also embrace the world of literature.

Teacher once said, Acting-play (direct translation from Chinese: Chinese for acting is 演戏. 演 means to act, 戏 means a play), is simply the human relationships. Once the relationship is correct, the play will be correct. / When we are acting, what we are really searching for are the medley of relationships. / In acting, we search for relationship with ourselves. / To listen and feel, and call to our inner selves, and find that the world that seemed lacking becomes a little fuller and richer. / In acting, we search for relationships with others. / Relationships with parents, friends, relatives, lovers; romantic relationship, relationships between the weak and strong. To discover how to be truly yourself in the relationship. / In acting, we search for relationships with worlds. / Humans are after all social creatures. In groups, societies, in nature, in galaxies,we are the fulcrum.

Once during class, teacher said: "You all work a difficult road." At the time, I was young and did not understand. It is only now I understand the weight of this sentence.

People say, "Actors are crazy." Later they come and ask, "Why do you choose acting?" I hold my head high and say, "to search for a feeling of awe".

This road, is liberating yet lonely. "Acting" by name, is a study of reality.

It is July and Jaybird is here again. I nervously ask myself, are you ready to receive Jaybird's teaching? The answer: no.

Because I know deep down inside, what he can teach me far far outnumbers what I can receive.

Nevertheless, I recall last year before our show, when we gathered together in a circle, and he held our hands, he said, "Soon, we will face the audience. I no longer have any more to teach you. As a teacher, I have already passed onto you all that I believe and know. Yet your acting lessons have just started. It is titled, "Life".