Brisbane Acting Classes and Coaches | Best acting coaches in Brisbane

Brisbane Acting Classes and Coaches

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Becoming intimate with the craft of acting is one of the most important decisions and steps that you will make on your journey to becoming a career actor. The path we follow is not always clear cut, definite, or obvious. Often, the way forward, what to do, and what you need to learn can be confusing and misleading. You study books, look up the different acting methods, follow the StageMilk articles, join StageMilk’s Scene Club, stan the StageMilk team … and yet you still feel like you are missing something. This, my fellow actors, is when you perhaps need to call upon an acting coach.

This article outlines some of the best acting coaches in Brisbane, Australia. I’ll give a short outline of each coach/class, as well as some info on what to expect and how to find them. If you’re looking to give your acting a shot in the arm, then these are the people to help you get things moving again!

Before we begin, I do want to be transparent and mention that I have been a student of the first three coaches mentioned: Kristy, Joel, and Gareth. So, naturally, I will be writing from experience and therefore will be more in-depth. The other two recommendations are still valid and great places to learn from. They are run by incredible people (hence why they are in this article). 

Let’s check ’em out!

Who are the Best Acting Coaches in Brisbane?

Great question! And yet, it is a question to which I do not have a definitive answer. Each teacher, just like any student, is different and brings a unique background, personality, and skillset to the table. We are also super lucky, here in Brisbane, that we have a great selection of coaches to choose from.

Which coach to choose, then? Well, that’s what I am here to do: I will give you the insights, below, on the coaches in Brisbane, so that you can research them yourself and make an informed choice. 

On Set Coaching (Kristy Sexton)

“Consistency is the key to a career as an actor. So much like going to the gym, you can do big bursts and reap great results, but if you want to sustain those results you will have to work on your skills regularly.” – Kristina Sexton

In order to break into you acting career, it is imperative that you understand how the business in “show business” works. The road ahead, especially when you’re first starting out, feels foggy at the best of times, and down-right confusing and hopeless at the worst. I can confidently say, however, that all those questions, queries and industry secrets no longer felt so obscure and mysterious after my first class with Kristy. She brings the business side of acting—along with all the trade secrets—into the daylight and illuminates it for all us actors to see. 

Originally, she started out as an actor, studying at multiple institutes, including obtaining a masters degree at the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company. After many years mastering the craft, she had the epiphany that helping other actors reach the spotlight was just as, if not more so, fulfilling. She is a very individualised coach, and her ability to meet the actors where they are in their own specific journey, brings a worthwhile, equitable approach to the classroom. On top of all her other achievements, she is also a SAG-AFTRA approved intimacy coordinator, which currently makes her the most qualified to be teaching “intimacy on set” in town. 

The final advantage of her classes are that once you’re in her community, you’re in her community. Having a great network full of driven and friendly creatives just like yourself is priceless. As an old alumnus of her classes, I can recommend her with great confidence and humbly say that I would not be where I am today in my career without her.  Whatever your level of experience, Kristy would be my first stop if I wanted to take my acting to the next level. 

Check out Kristy’s website, her intimacy coordinator bio and her Instagram for more information.

Gareth Harris

“Television makes you rich, film makes you famous, theatre makes you good.” – Gareth Harris

With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Gareth has travelled from England to bring his expertise and experience to Australian actors. He is Brisbane’s go-to-guy if you are thinking about auditioning for any sort of renowned drama school, having already helped so many students get into places such as WAAPA and NIDA. Specialising in training students for both stage and screen, script analysis, voice work, stage craft, and physical performance, he draws his teachings from the classics, such as Uta Hagen and Meisner.

Gareth believes that his job is to give his actors the tools to succeed and encourages actors to integrate his teachings into their everyday lives. According to him, the key to becoming a successful actor is: “Hard work and dedication. Use the tools given in class every day, make it part of your routine. Get involved in the industry. You can’t expect to work if you’re only present for 3 hours, one night a week – but you can use the tools delivered in class consistently to become a working actor.”

His direct approach in his teaching methods is one of the most powerful parts of his lessons. There’s an essence of tough love there that is brought to each of his directions; firm, straight to the point, but always fair and collaborative. It is no wonder that he has become one of the most renowned acting coaches in the state. Finally, he is an open book and is happy to talk after class and answer any burning questions you might have over the phone. Gareth is the coach you go to when you are wanting to push yourself as an actor and reap the benefits of hard work. He’s not just a coach who will teach you to act, but a mentor who cares about the person underneath. 

Take a look at Gareth’s website and Instagram for more info.

Creating Artists (Joel Pierce)

“Being an actor is a way of life, it’s a journey and a choice on how you want to live your life. If your heart is in it, then nothing will stop you from pursuing it and in my opinion it will enrich your soul and life on this planet.” – Joel Pierce

What happens when you blend the expertise of two experienced actors and a Ph.D. in psychology? You get an invaluable education that you can use to improve your craft. Joel Pierce and Dr. Kylie Loveday have collaborated their experiences along with Dr Loveday’s research to create “…evidence-based (research supported) ideas that enable actors to reach the peak performance zone and live spontaneously in the moment. This includes removing any blocks they may have as well as giving them tools to live in a present and heightened state as the character.”

Joel is a seasoned, working actor who helps other actors find and stay in their “peak performance zone,” using the 12 concepts that himself and Dr Loveday devised. These concepts give their students the opportunity to become the most honest version of themselves in a scripted scenario. 

Joel is as passionate and hard working as he is caring, and you can feel that in his classes. Look out for his “12 concepts for analysis” course on his socials. It is without a doubt the best place to start, and probably the most definite and helpful analysis method I have ever come across. 

If you want to know more about this incredible team, check out their website and Instagram. Note: Kylie, at the time of writing this article, only holds classes on the Gold Coast.

Peter Rasmussen 

Peter is a man of many talents, and if you have been in the acting game within Brisbane long enough, you would have heard of him. He has been working in the industry now for over 20 years, and his expertise really shows it. Not only does he run some great classes, but he also doubles as an experienced casting director.  What does this mean for his students? It means that his teachings are coming straight from a direct, industry source.

For example, he often runs valuable workshops focusing on the art of auditioning. Being the person who, y’know, actually runs auditions, hearing what he has to say on the topic is an obvious benefit to your craft and career. He also teaches lessons on craft using elements from Uta Hagen, Larry Moss, Eric Morris, Mark Travis, and Ivana Chubbuck. Overall, a very knowledgeable teacher whose classes would be worth while attending. 

Learn more about Peter via his website and Instagram.

The Factory

The Factory has been a Brisbane acting community staple for years now, and there’s a good reason for that. They house an incredible team of working professionals that range from acting mentors to voice teachers, to accent coaches, and much more. Run by the Brisbane talent Christopher Sommers, the studio creates a safe, and productive environment where you can really dive deep into the different aspects of acting that you wish to learn and improve.

Focusing on everything craft and process related, their diverse team has something for everyone; whether you’re a beginner, or someone who’s been in the game for a while and might want to sharpen your skills. The team features such talent as Melanie Zanetti (Young Rock, Raven’s Hollow, and my personal favourite, Bluey) Dianne Eden (who was the head of voice and acting at QUT for over two decades), Peter Kent (all-star voice and accent coach) and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Whatever you are wanting to learn, you can bet that they have someone to help you do that. 

See more info on The Factory via their website.

Final Word

Picking the right coach for you can be a daunting and difficult path, and I hope these recommendations lead you to the next step in your acting quest. Always remember that there are benefits of sticking with the same coach for a long time (consistency), and there are equal benefits to having multiple coaches (diversity in information). There is no one “right” way to go about it, so pick the coach who you think best integrates into your learning style, and knowledge gaps, then start there.

When in doubt, reach out and ask them questions. Most coaches will be happy to let you observe a class, which will help you get a good vibe check (don’t stress if they refuse, that’s usually due to privacy reasons rather than anything dodgy.) I do recommend, at some point, trying your best to branch out and discover new methods, knowledge and people that can aid you with your process and progress. Mixing it up from time to time can help you broaden your horizons. 

If you are not looking for an acting coach right now, and rather are just looking for feedback, always remember we have our StageMilk Scene Club giving feedback every month via a host of hotshot industry professionals. No matter what avenue you decide to go down, remember to always be striving to improve your craft!

About the Author

Samuel Hollis

Samuel Hollis is a Brisbane based actor, writer, and pop culture enthusiast. He grew up with a love for storytelling which fuels his passion for acting and writing. His works span from theatre to screen, and from script writing to mediocre poetry. He believes that the key to improving your craft is to improve the greatest tool that you own; yourself. When Sam's not spinning up a riveting story or typing until his fingers fall off, he's rolling dice with his Dungeons & Dragons group, playing the sax, or taking long walks at sunset.

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