does The Rehearsal Room do best?
Just to let you know, I just finished 10 days on an ABC Docudrama, playing Jules Archibald (of Archibald Prize fame) that I scored in great part to the basics of The Rehearsal Room technique I learned in class! The Rehearsal Room method of identifying story is something I will use for the rest of my acting life. It’s the quickest and most efficient I have found.
- Nicholas Dubberley, July '11
It was incredibly exciting to be offered the part. D-day came quickly, and after dealing with some anxiety as to my ability to deal with the shoot. I was pleasantly surprised by how peaceful a state of mind I experienced. And in all fairness, the whole crew had a lot to do with that since right from the beginning everyone were extremely friendly, the Clothing Designers, Make up Artist, Hairdresser, Cast and Crew and Director made me feel at home.
Once the Shoot began, I must say, the years of experience at the Rehearsal Room came to surface and provided me with a strong sense of self and unquestionable confidence that I had everything necessary to fulfil the Director’s artistic vision and ultimately that is what happened, I had a good performance, receiving positive feedback from all involved at the end of the shoot.
I am confident and looking forward to what the years ahead may bring my way but the realization now is stronger than ever that continued growth is necessary, attending to as many classes as possible and taking part in Audition Workshops, doing all within my power to put myself at the right place and hopefully at the right time is undoubtedly the only way forward.
- Karla Francisco, June '11
I'm so glad you wrote this article! I feel it's so appropriate and it's something I think about all the time as an actor and have always wondered how to incorporate risk taking and being bold into my scenes. You've just described the process beautifully and I realize more and more just how much fear has held me back and destroyed a lot of great moments in my previous work. This article is now hanging on my bedroom wall :)
I also want to take this opportunity to let you know how much I am enjoying the classes. I really love learning The Rehearsal Room process because I respond much better to a programme that is simple. I don't walk into class with that feeling in the pit of my stomach that only comes from putting too much pressure on myself to 'get it right', (which is a nice change for me). I think you are a wonderful teacher and incredibly insightful and that goes for all the articles you have written.
See you Wednesday night.
BUT it's only the beginning ... I can't wait for my next class!
I'll be in touch and thanks again :-)
All the best,
- Rebbeca Lavindi, June '10
always find that I take a lot away from every Master class term
as it's a great environment to practice with other skilled actors.
I like the Rehearsal Room methods as they give me solid and specific
tasks to focus on and explore definite paths for generating effective
performances, no matter what the script.
"I had a good read of your actor's process notes before an audition the other day, and I really got a lot out of the audition, it felt really good. "
kinds of workshops can be so much more than just a class. You
will meet other people who can help you in so many different
ways. Everyone knows something that you and others don't, and
all this information can be shared. Actors are amazing people,
because we are competing against each other in our field, yet
we all support each other and push one another to succeed. I
have stuttered my whole life, yet all I want to do is act. Through
Richards class he and the others in the workshop made me so much
more comfortable with the voice I have. They have told me I have
a gift, not a burden. And I have come out of this workshop with
a whole new energy.
- Hayley Brown January '09
Hayley won a place in the Summer Intensive through the Dare2Audition website.
I loved the fast pace of Summer Intensive Workshop. Having not been exposed to The Rehearsal Room process previously, it pushed me to explore my boundaries & learn quickly. Having a small class size meant I got a lot of individual attention, and it was a fantastic way to start the year. I also loved Richards no-nonsense approach.
It has changed everything about my performance. It gave me a simple direct way to prepare a scene, any time, and it also gave me the tools to be able to instantly alter the tone, intensity & story of the scene.
understanding improved a lot. Learning the whole process has
changed my entire outlook & perspective on performing as
I now have the tools to not only create believable, interesting
& brave scenes as an actor, but a way to translate a directors
wishes into the scene & a way to evaluate other work (films
I hope you are well and once the music stops I'll be back at an audition workshop in the near future. I've have spread the word to so many people and there's a fair bit of talk out there about how great your classes/courses are - not that there wasn't already!
I just really wanted to say 'thank you.' It is sometimes difficult to find a teacher/mentor who puts their students' interests ahead of their own and offers purely objective feedback. I've formed some great friendships with people I've met through your workshops and always feel totally satisfied that I have had your full undivided attention when you are reviewing my work. It's just so helpful - you've given me a different way of looking at my work.
Take care, Elks"
- Elke Osadnik , October '07
I HAVE TAKEN THE NEXT STEP -
What a simple process! With this simplified acting process, I can make incremental changes in my performance. I'm finding I can turn the intensity up or down just a few notches when needed. I now know exactly what ingredients to change to create the desired effect on camera. What a great feeling.
Recently I have acted in a number of short films. I have found the story identification process incredibly useful for interpreting directors choices. Centre of gravity is also immensely useful. If a director says to me I am to be really scared then I will ask specifically How scared? They might reply with a 5 or perhaps a 10 (depending on what they envisage) and I set my centre of gravity accordingly. If that turns out not to be correct I found I can make easy adjustments up or down depending on the directors requirements.
Adjusting need I can make subtle changes to the character or the colour of the drama. It is very exciting. I now feel I can quickly and effectively deliver what the director is asking for. Rehearsal Room process has brought together all the things I had been taught in all the other classes I have done over the years.
have so much more confidence now - THANK YOU!
"I've been meeting many aspiring actors at a few other places. Many seem to know your name, despite not having attended you classes. They all have heard great things (which of course were confirmed by me) and quite a few are meaning to come by in the near future. So yay, for Rehearsal Room! Seriously, the more I attend other classes the more I'm convinced that The Rehearsal Room is the place to be to work on one's acting skills. Of course people could say that is my biased opinion... but that person obviously wouldn't been to Rehearsal Room classes.
Also had a class the other day with director David Cameron - very interesting day. Had a chance to practice my director interpreting skill.
Anyways, I'll see you soon no doubt and we'll chat some more!"
- Liana Kreimer, April '07
Just wanted to send you a massive thank you ...... I received an email for the feature film I auditioned for and they'd like to see me again for a callback (yay!!)
They were very impressed at how well I knew the character (s) at such early stages and that I had made some clear story identifications that helped them out and basically that I did a fantastic job.
I can directly attribute this to your version of process. It has taught me a couple of things, the major being that you only get out what you put in, hard work and practice on story identification and articulation is paramount, it's what keeps people watching!!
relation to the audition and the Rehearsal Room, it was really
Since it is a big big world out there, not everyone has the same version of process, it works for some and might not for others, that's ok!! It would be silly to say that it is perfect for everybody, I can say that I can rely on it, it gives me the confidence to make choices, and ask questions and go after what I want.
And for that and your endless support Richard I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- Paul Cousins, March '07
"I just wanted to let you know that last night was fantastic! I have participated in various actor training programs, and I found our session last night to be very unique.
I appreciate the simplicity of the process we're using. It helps me identify the story in a scene so quickly. The character's need becomes very clear, changes are easier to make, and the results we produced in just a few hours were remarkable. (If I do say so myself!) I especially enjoyed working in a small group. We were able to thoroughly explore issues as they arose - and you stepped in to steer us in the right direction when needed. I am really looking forward to the rest of the term. Should be really interesting!"
- Jennifer Sheahan, January '07 (after 1st MASTER CLASS)
" I came back from Tuesday night on a high and really feeling like I learned something. What I found, was that there are so many things to remember as an actor but if it can be distilled into a purpose (fight for control/challenge/test) - not only does the performance become real but it actually helps with nerves, because you become so focused."
- Susan Strafford, January 07 (after 1st MASTER CLASS)
" I had a great time participating in the summer workshop. Not having done any of your classes before I was a little nervous, but you created a very supportive and nurturing environment (And great catering)!
The Rehearsal Room process is simple and gives results and I found it compatible with other acting philosophies and technique's, but somehow this one made sense in a very practical way. I had some wonderful revelatory moments during the week, one big thing I'll take away was the ratio between story and need. It was apparant and demonstrated time and time again that story is key, it is the reason why we're doing what we're doing! There were many oppportunites to practice this approach and I like the mix of observing examples, then trying things out for ourselves. I have gained a new insight into myself as an actor that I am certain will give me more consistency in my work."
- Linda Keys-McCormack, January '07
"The Summer intensive course is the first course I had done with the Rehearsal Room. I found it to be informative and valuable. The introduction to the Rehearsal Room process, although new hearing it this way, was fitting really well into what I thought acting for screen should be. It gave a practical overview of how to present a scene without having to worry about all the airy fairy stuff. Sometimes those feelings aren't there which makes it hard to give a true performance, but presenting the story, with a need in place is such a simple concept but one that seems to work.
is a wonderful teacher who is at the same time encouraging but
also able to give constructive criticism. He is very flexible
in his approach to what discussion needs to take place according
to students interest and also ensures to cover the content which
he has said he will deliver.
- Kristen May, January '07
I want to thank you for the Monologue Workshop I did with you. I had an audition last Thursday, I used your techniques and the casting agent was moved by my work. I haven't got the job, well I haven't heard from them, nonetheless, I did a good audition, and that is all that matters. He was really touched by what I did and the feedback he gave me was very positive, so thank you. I hope to do another one of your workshops soon.
- Nicole Sarweh, September '06
By substituting my usual approach to acting - a very clunky, worrisome and mind based form of demonstration - for a few simple points of focus, I was able to quickly overcome my long held misconceptions about what acting is and was ushered into a place of freedom, spontaneity and connection within the scene.
Acting techniques I have encountered in the past tended to be quite vague and metaphysical, and seemed to rely, for their usefulness, on the constant presence and maintenance of the teacher. The Rehearsal Room, however, empowers the student by providing an easy to manage set of tools that not only make sense and consistently work but are also easily recallable in the professional arena."
- Glen Quinn (Mamma Mia - national tour), August '06
"The Rehearsal Room process is very portable. Apart from camera performance, I have been able to employ the process in musical theatre with positive results. Being able to shift mediums is part of an actor's expected flexibilty and being armed with the Rehearsal Room tools of trade at all times, gives me the confidence that I need to do the job right.
Audition coaching and the audition workshops via the Rehearsal Room have also been really great. Richard's acting coaching has always given me the confidence to front up to any audition knowing I have the character in the bag. The audition workshops have given me fantastic exposure to casting agents and the feedback that I have received gives me the assurance that the Rehearsal Room process works every time."
- Darren Mort, August 2006
"I first took a course of Richard's classes around ten years ago, when I was just starting out in the industry. At the time I loved them because they were practical, understandable and hands on and we got to see ourselves on camera time and again - not so bad for the ego! Looking back now I can see it was also very good for the learning process, and some of the basics I learned at the time have provided a structure for me to make better sense of the information/ideas I have gleaned from the multitude of other classes I have done since.
Since then I have returned to Richards classes because I have felt the need to learn a process - a plan of attack for when I receive a scene for auditions or a part in a production. I learnt where to start, what to look for, how to make it interesting and believable, how to find things to play with and ways to change. And certainly over the years Richards process has both refined and extended. He is always open to ideas and input and up for a thoughtful discussion.
I now find that the Rehearsal Room "language" gives me as an actor, a really good basis for communication across the board and a way of interpreting what other directors/ actors are trying to say (and that can be anything from "she's not so eager to please" - try changing her need to 'to dominate' to "I need this scene to be more yellow" - OoooooK, lets go brighter colours, more cheerfully/happily/cheekily). It's a really practical way of avoiding confusion and uncertainty when I'm working with someone whose way of working is unfamiliar.
Initially I guess I found The Rehearsal Room process a great introduction to TV/film acting. I then went through a phase when I needed it to bring me back to a more natural/believable style after doing a lot of theatre, and now I am relishing it as a springboard to make bolder, more exciting choices and challenging myself to make more of a scene.
Richard Sarell is a wonderful teacher - kind, perceptive, encouraging and with a passion for his work that makes every class a joy."
- Caroline Lloyd, July '06
"The monologue workshop is a winner. I had an audition the next week and got the role! First big role in two years so I really have to say that the workshop definately contributed to the success of my audition. I left the workshop feeling like I was in good stead to really own my audition piece. It had built my confidence, skill and understanding of what a monologue is for, and how to really tell the story.
The small sized classes are great and the atmosphere at the Rehearsal Room was welcoming and unintimidating. I would tell anyone who has an interest in monologues, has an audition or an upcoming performance to definately visit Richard to get an insight into his process and how to use and develop your monologing skills."
"Richard's approach to the actor's job, firstly with the script, and then with the actual work in front of the camera, is a clear and fascinating one. He has distilled a great amount of work that has been written on the subject into a no-nonsense, can-do strategy, always serving the script and getting to the nub of the character. His years as a director have given him an extremely keen eye to problem solve for students individually. I would definitely recommend The Rehearsal Room as a very useful resource for working or budding actors."
- Felicity Soper (MDA, Neighbours, Richmond Hill), July 2006
I thought my professional theatre experience would set me in good stead but I didn't realize it was that experience and my acting process that was causing the problems for me as an actor for TV. All my performing experience was 'live' so there was no room for mistakes or second takes. That meant I was always in pursuit of perfection and I wasn't in touch with the real aspects of a scene the story, my 'need', 'listening' and most of all 'relaxing'. I was guilty of trying to over-achieve and as a result all I was achieving was a poor performance.
Several years ago I started workshops with Richard and got the honesty and criticism I deserved. That fueled my desire to work harder, be better and 'be perfect'. Old habits are hard to break. I'd done two workshops before the on-going discussions with Richard about acting process started to have a real effect.
That is what is so invaluable about The Rehearsal Room and Richard as a teacher the personal attention and open forum he provides to get to the root of problems, discuss them and ultimately fix them.
Once the problem was identified, from the very next lesson with Richard I started to improve. I was now thinking as an 'actor' and not a 'performer'. I had always understood Rehearsal Room process but I needed to trust it and let it work for itself, not force it.
The more workshops and classes I have attended the more I trust the process and the more solid it becomes, which in turn provides confidence in myself and my abilities. Confidence allows you to relax and tackle any role you encounter. I can relax because I know it works.
I applied it to my last job. It was imperative as I had the challenging task of covering (understudying) four female roles in Melbourne Theatre Company's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" with Magda Szubanski, David Campbell, Natalie Mendoza, Marina Prior and a few other well-established and talented performers. It was an enormous challenge and the task was exacerbated when I was unexpectedly thrown on mid-show when one of the actors was unwell. This was after only one week of rehearsal.
Trusting in my process and skills allowed me to get through a most terrifying experience. Thereafter I continued to play the role for three shows a week for the rest of the season. Then I played Marina Prior's role for the final 2 shows.
I still continue to work on my skills and will continue for as long as I can do so at The Rehearsal Room with Richard. The audition workshops with Casting Directors from around Australia provides a fabulous opportunity for actors to work on there process in a 'real'audition situation and the tuition and support Richard provides is wonderful.
I highly recommend all aspiring TV actors, presenters, theatre and music theatre performers attend all the courses, workshops and classes on offer at The Rehearsal Room."
- Jackie Rae Lythgo (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - MTC), June '06
am always grateful for the things that you've taught me.
The process became a basic foundation for me. With a solid foundation wheels don't fall too far from the wagon - as in the acting world you only get one shot at anything. The process gives me a readiness during the non-working period - and when the opportunity strikes I would face it calmly and confidently - KNOWING that I've been doing it all along.
It is important to learn from Richard, who has been a long-term director, simply because directors are the ones that we will be work with and work for. It's not only building the skills to get the work but also building the working relationships with others to do a better job in order to be competitive. TV acting was an unknown zone to me and The Rehearsal Room made it a friendly place from me to explore.
"The Rehearsal Room has been a huge learning ground for me. With years of radio and presenting experience, it was intially a challenge to make the switch to learn about acting, but Richard's insight as a Director is innate. Not only does he have the gift of being a good teacher but is an intuitive director. This was a big plus having a teacher that is a Director.
He prides himself on helping each student to improve with every exercise given. I have done 4 acting workshops (terms) and each time evolved to another level. The processes taught are easy to understand and they work! I was inspired to work hard as I could see the improvements on camera as we watched it as a class and gave constructive feedback. Being able to see it right after the performance was critical. Richard's dedication to teaching is obvious. He would email thoughts on how the performance could be better and sometimes even a phone call. He sincerely cares about creating outstanding actors and I am proud to say that he was my teacher."
- Andi Lew (Melbourne Women HSV-7; Shopping for Love GTV-9; Beyond The Boundary Channel 10), May '06
"The Rehearsal room classes taught me the value of 'story' and the discipline of structure. The thing that's useful about this is that once I've got my vision and I understand it, I don't go off track too much. The sense of story keeps me on track.
I use heaps of The Rehearsal Room stuff having basic performance skills in place is really important. Using your centre of gravity is really helpful because you can still be relaxed but it keeps you actively engaged listening alive. For me putting a 'need' in place is really helpful - that's fundamental. My need is 'to share', that's the one I always use. It helps a lot. It helps make it a story I can tell. There can be a trap if I don't take ownership of the story and make it mine to tell. I still use the 5 point checklist make sure I am externally focused all that stuff we learnt about in the Rehearsal Room. I do it because it works."
- Jules Lund (Getaway; Dancing on Ice), May '04
"Richard, I had a lovely night with your Rehearsal Room actors. The classes obviously provide an invaluable kitbag of tools for actors, regardless of whether they are emerging talents or seasoned professionals. You are really developing the actor's essential skills, including process and listening. The performer's work was anchored to a foundation of truth.
In my own work as a director I have found these core craft skills frequently to be in need of improvement in actors. In an audition they are often the essential ingredients that lead to success, and on set they carry the scene. Having worked with a number of your students now I have been extremely impressed by the improvement in their craft. Without reservation I can heartily recommend The Rehearsal Room classes."
- Richard Jasek (Director: MacLeod's Daughters, Secret Life of Us, Blue Heelers, Horace and Tina, Heart Break High), April 2004
Using The Rehearsal Room process has helped me to simplify my job as an actor and has taught me how to get the job done! It has taught me that an actor's job is in fact a simple one. It's to tell the story and at the same time to be believable.
I now see that acting is simple it's only we actors who make it complicated. It's all about listening actively. Really listening because that is the key to being believable. No one in real life knows what is about to happen in the future until it happens, so why shouldn't your characters be the same?
I learnt about having a need in place that is opposite to the text so that my characters can come to life and be complex. And I have also learnt simple techniques which really help generate drama in a scene. Such simple practical devices are not taught in other schools.
These classes are suitable for anyone, people with no experience to people with plenty, you can always teach an old dog new tricks and believe me it makes life so much simpler."
- Christine Dixon, May 2006
"Bless you, Teacher Richard,
Just got home after a really long day, and your e-mail has made me feel great - thank you for your words! I can't begin to tell you what a momentous change I feel the Rehearsal Room (ie: you) has made to me as an actor. Am very grateful to have your guidance as a teacher, and your friendship - as the simply sterling person that you are!
Would very much love to catch up with you again - will try for that afternoon tea drop-in some time in the next week.
Love and thanks again,"
- Tuilyn Lim, November 2004
It was our absolute pleasure.
As a class I think the dynamics were fantastic and as you pointed out last night it was great to see everyone's individual progress.
struck a chord with me is something you said last night....about
the importance of just being ourselves....and not trying to deliberately
achieve or adopt a different persona. We are all unique and when
we go into an audition, us being ourselves is what makes it.
As simple as it is I think I always felt like I HAD to be different...rather
than just being me. These classes have helped me on the journey
both professionally and probably even more so personally. They
have in fact been a
I really appreciate your emails as well.....this sort of encouragement really adds another dimension to our studies.
I will definitely be continuing on this journey and look forward to studying with you again in a month or so. Am going to sign up soon."
"Wanted to let you know that I have been accepted by the Actors Center in New York to study, and they were very effusive about our monologue. Thank you very much for your help, and, as I think I told you, I used the take where you pushed me to go further with the changes which I said at the time felt 'wrong'! Director knew best.
As you would know, there's a bit of production/casting going on in Melbourne over the next couple of months, so I've decided to wait until January next year, but I'm definitely going and am very excited.
- Kat Stewart, August 2003
"I wanted you to know the things I have learnt in this workshop and the one before.
First and foremost learning a structure and having a process I can actually access myself when there's no one there to tell me what to do, has been really helpful. Relaxation has been a big issue for me and learning to do that in a situation where I am usually self-critical and self-conscious has been a great help. And learning not to set my expectations to high has also been a great help.
The clarity with which you present your workshop has been wonderful - because a lot of this information is out there but not clearly said and not communicated very well - so it's one thing to be able to direct or to be able to act but to be able to teach that is another thing and you do it really well. So, thank you so much for that.
Thank you for your skills in improving our skills.
See you soon."
- Sue-Ellen Shook, April 2002
"Richard understands that for an actor a scene must do more than further the plot - it must explore the relationship between the characters. Richard has a gift for making this process clear and simple. His direction gives me confidence to trust my own intuition, thus allowing the character room to breathe..."
- Shane Porteous (Lead Actor in A Country Practice - Australia's longest running T.V. drama), February 2002
"For someone finding their way back into acting I found the workshops wonderfully simple in concept....I felt that I was allowed to tap into what was in me...free to achieve...so everything became pregnant with possibilities."
- Josie Vendramini
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