Victoria Academy of Dramatic Arts’ 11 instructors share more than two centuries of combined experience in the entertainment industry, heading up a yearlong, by-audition acting program designed specifically for television, film, and commercial work. Not everybody is ready to make the plunge into the screen, so the school also runs smaller-scale workshops appropriate for all experience levels that cover casting dos and don’ts, career guidance, and summoning the willpower to meet James Cameron’s third eye. The Actor’s Makeover course tightens audition material into 15 minutes of pure emotional power, and part-time intro classes accommodate day jobs.
Two years after Michelle Meyrink began her acting studies at the Loft Studio in Los Angeles, she landed her first film role—in Francis Coppola’s The Outsiders. Throughout the 1980s, she portrayed characters in films such as Revenge of the Nerds and Real Genius. Today, she instills her acting experience in others as the owner of Actorium, opened in 2013. In four-stage programs tailored to professional or recreational actors, she introduces some core principles of the Meisner Technique—an approach focused on teaching preparation and helping actors fully inhabit their characters. To accomplish this, she guides students from acting exercises to scene study and, eventually, to performance in a fully staged production. Other classes touch on specialized acting groups, such as those "supernaturally shy", new actors over the age of 40, teen actors, and workshops for organizations.
At Vancouver Acting School, experienced coaches impart the skills necessary for a marketable career in the world of film and television. Training within the rooms of a working casting studio, proteges practice in a small black-box-style theatre and rooms outfitted with cameras, gaining the courage to recite monologues in front of Stanley Park's discriminating squirrels. Part- or full-time classes teach audition, voice, and improvisation skills as students learn to transform imagination into an outline for success.
A companion studio, the Vancouver Young Actors School, teaches younger artists the same classic and contemporary techniques, building both their self-confidence and a solid artistic foundation for future work. In the past, the school's training has led students to land appearances on Nickelodeon, Syfy, and the Family Channel.
A quick glance at Vashti Fairbairn’s resume is telling. At local theatre company Fighting Chance Productions, she has directed the critically lauded Little Shop of Horrors and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, both of which magically combine music with dramatic arts. At her own Music Box Music and Theatre Academy, Fairbairn, along with a team of dedicated teachers, does the exact same thing on a daily basis. Children’s group classes give little ones as young as 6 months old a chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor, belt out their favourite show tunes, and learn to tickle the ivories like a seasoned elephant sitter. Private lessons are open to adults as well, and expand the instrumental scope to include strings, music theory, and the speaking arts. The latter comes in handy during the school’s drama clubs, which teach kids 3 years and older how to use their imaginations to create real-life and fantasy scenarios. Outside of their educational programs, the facility entertains visitors to the River Market with free music and theatre performances in the Music Box Presents series.
The First Step nurtures artists' innate qualities, cultivating a safe, welcoming environment where storytellers can ply fundamentals and overcome barriers to unearth courageous acting choices. Today's deal gets early stage thespians into their choice of a four-class, one-month program tailored to youth through adult actors. Taught by instructors active in Vancouver's film, TV, and theatre scenes and boasting work experience in the LA market, each program guides players through analyzing character, honouring their instinctive responses, and how to crush cans with subtext. The schedule places most class times in the afternoon and weeknights, with one daytime adult session. Class sizes are limited to 12 students, and spots must be secured through improvised staged combat or by calling ahead of time. All sessions take place at The First Step's 3,000-square-foot facility, a renovated warehouse equipped with four classrooms and specialized studios.
Before Jordyn Palmer founded Edge Performing Arts and Dance, she unleashed her powerful pipes on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Avery Fischer Hall. These experiences, along with holding starring roles in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Jane Eyre, readied Palmer to lead fledgling singers and actors toward their own performance goals. Along with dance teacher Sanna James, Palmer leads private lessons, group classes, and summer camps that focus on stage presence, self-confidence, and turning every Shakespearean sonnet into a dance number.