I am a talented, experienced actor and teacher with outstanding training, an MFA from Harvard, and over 9 years teaching experience. I have toured the world performing Shakespeare, taught all ages of actors, and written and performed two one-man shows, both of which were performed at theaters in New York and continue to tour to theaters and educational institutions around the country.
I went to the American Repertory Theater's Acting Institute at Harvard University, where I spent a semester at the prestigious Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia, training with some of the best teachers in many areas of performance, including movement, voice, stage combat and more.
I learned Viewpoints, the improvisation based theatre making technique from its creator, Anne Bogart, so I'm especially adept at training actors to ground themselves on stage and interact with other actors in deeper ways than simply speaking.
I love acting and teaching both aspiring and experienced actors. Helping people find their voice is one of the most rewarding things I get to do. I'd love to pass along the specific training I've received to help you further yours.
Helping actors find their voice and a newfound love for performing in front of an audience.
Working with Gardiner has been a transformational experience for my son, who is in middle school. I was looking for an acting coach who could help him appear more natural and relaxed, and also learn how to embrace the characters he needs to portray more convincingly. I was truly impressed with how Gardiner was able to quickly help my son make small changes that brought his acting to a different level. Gardiner is able to break down complex, sometimes abstract ideas to an age-appropriate level and make it fun at the same time! My son loves acting, but the lessons he is learning with Gardiner about strong communication, developing a powerful stage presence, the importance of clear diction, methods to relax and prepare for public speaking, and connecting with people in an audience to “get them on your side” are invaluable for all aspects of life. I should mention that Gardiner and my son work together via Skype. Despite the distance, their ability to connect and build rapport is unhindered. And I love the convenience of getting the lessons virtually.
Gardiner was very focused on detail and helped me think about things that hadn’t occurred to me. He gave me character thoughts to focus on instead of actor thoughts. He was great!
Most important is establishing trust so that the student feels comfortable working on whatever they are interested in. I gather from the student what he or she wants to accomplish. If it's a monologue they are working on I ask a few questions about how they relate to the character and then talk about important things to determine, such as what the character is doing in the scene, what he/she wants, with whom the character is interacting and what the character is trying to do to or get from the other character(s). These are all important to making our session worthwhile. I may also have the student try some games or vocal exercises to better articulate the text and/or get more comfortable playing another character.
It all depends on what the individual student wants to get out of the session. I enjoy helping each actor find his and her voice.
Where do I begin? My education and training is abundant and listed in my profile but specifically, I have worked with some fantastic teachers, directors, writers, and other actors, all of whom have shaped how I think about acting and approach my teaching.
I've learned a lot about Shakespeare that makes me great at helping actors intimidated by the "bard" succeed in acting his lines. I have acted in many Shakespeare plays, in the US and several other countries and have taught Shakespeare to students in middle school, high school, and college.
I also have extensive movement training and pay close attention to how actors carry themselves physically. After all, an actor's instrument is his/her body and major changes can be made by slight adjustments to how one holds him/herself as he/she is acting. My training in dance, stage combat, Viewpoints, Suzuki and more make me stand out in this area.
I also have great voice and speech training, specifically from my MFA program at Harvard, where I learned a great deal about how breath support, articulation, and rhetoric all influence how well an actor delivers lines. I'm also excellent at accents and dialects and can help actors better portray people with different voices from their own.
I charge between $75-$100/hour, based on travel time.
When I got out of graduate school, I started working as a substitute teacher in New York City, often working in public schools in The Bronx, where I faced many challenges in behavior but also met some extraordinary young people. I developed very strong classroom management and a special appreciation for students who don't necessarily learn like their peers.
From there, I began teaching acting and sports classes to young people for arts-in-education groups like Wingspan Arts, New York Theatre Workshop's Mind The Gap program, The Atlantic Theater, and others. I gained a tremendous amount of experience working with all different ages of students before I finally began teaching at Queens College, where I still work as an adjunct.
Every type imaginable. From extremely shy and nervous to outgoing and confident. From students with terrible behavior problems to those who listen and behave. I've also worked with a lot of students with special needs, including ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, and the Autism Spectrum. I especially enjoy working with these students as their unique approach to learning makes me work harder to help them and to understand how they think.
In a recent beginner class, I had my students stand in a circle and asked them to stand up straight with their arms at their sides. As often is the case, many of them found it uncomfortable not to cross their arms, lean to one side, or hold themselves in some way. I talked about how important it is to stand in "actor's neutral" and how many people in the modern world try to hide without even noticing it.
By the end of the first game we played, all of my students were laughing and completely comfortable with themselves. By the end of the lesson, they were ecstatic and didn't want to stop. It was a joy to share the experience of discovering their talents with them.
Think about what it is you love about acting (even if you've never done it before) and what you're hoping to achieve in our lesson. If you're just curious, that's cool too.
What exactly do you want out of an acting lesson? Are you returning to acting after not doing it for a long time? Are you attempting to try something that's always scared you but that you have always wanted to do? Are you an actor who needs more individual attention for an audition? Or do you just think acting would be fun? If so, it will!
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