Actor Training

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Pitti Sing, The Mikado, 1977

Jeanmarie has been training actors for more than 30 years. Her simple, practical approach cuts through the layers of confusion and helps actors to quickly hit their confident stride.

In 1989, Jeanmarie entered my life and changed it forever. She asked me to audition for the play, “Quilters.” Over the next 11 years and over a dozen plays, Jeanmarie taught me about myself through the characters I became. Her directing techniques took the words off the page and brought them alive in me.

– Barbara Lee

I met Jeanmarie when I was about 13 years old when she was an Artist-In-resident at my school in Virginia City, Nevada. She was incredibly patient with us rowdy teenagers and never failed to show compassion towards each of us. She was a strong leader who taught us all that we could be more than we thought and encouraged us to stretch our self-imposed limitations. Personally, she helped me to move beyond self-doubt and to trust my instincts.

When I grew up, she directed me in several shows, and gave me my first opportunity to stage manage. Her refusal to accept less than the best we could be made us all work harder and in fact, made us better people. 

– Amber Noelle Burg

As a lifelong people pleaser having confidence to trust yourself on stage is a challenge. When I worked with Jeanmarie she helped me learn to trust myself, bond with and rely upon the cast and give in to the performance. She also helped me see that I could be funny, and gave me the opportunity to experience the joy that comes from making people laugh. She taught me that all my performances were precious, no matter how small the role, which is a great lesson that spills into my off stage life. I simply loved working with her. 

– Stephanie Beck Herrera

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Reno Sweeney, Anything Goes, 1993

When she was only 22 years of age, Jeanmarie presented at San Francisco State University a 3-week master class on Elizabethan movement/Shakespeare technique. She went on to present hundreds of classes, seminars, workshops and intensives in advanced acting, improvisation, contact improvisation, directing and writing at colleges, universities, theatres and community centers. (UC Berkeley, University of Washington, Washington State, University of Nevada (Reno and Las Vegas), University of Arizona, Claremont Colleges, Evergreen State College, University of Mt. Shasta, Naropa Institute and many others.)

Jeanmarie’s work with my son changed his life for the better. His disability made him a target for bullying, and his mother and I were not in a position to home school him. When Jeanmarie came to his school, in 1989, and spent 10 weeks in the classroom, Jason felt supported and safe. She gave him opportunities to interact with his classmates in ways he never had before. His talent to be a comic actor was a surprise to all of us, and the other kids at school came to love him for it. He had friends and enjoyed school after that, and throughout middle school and high school. Jason has been doing community theatre for many years now, and that’s where he met the girl who became his wife. Our family truly feels that we owe a huge piece of our happiness to Jeanmarie, and we can never repay her. Thank you, Jeanmarie!

– Jeff Osten

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Ann Hathaway, Shakespeare’s Will, 2007

In the k-12  classroom, Jeanmarie spent decades creating original works and adaptations of classics in a “poor theatre” construct. Though teachers, parents and even the kids were often skeptical in the beginning (What? No big sets? No glorious costumes?!), ultimately they saw the benefits of strong focus on performance, and were usually delighted with the outcome. (Let’s face it – some people enjoy the glitz and glamor above all else, and more power to them.)

Jeanmarie was my private acting teacher for 8 years, after I took a kid’s workshop she taught at the theater downtown. We all wrote monologues and then she made them in to a collage and created some really interesting staging. It was a beautiful performance, and I wanted to pursue more acting opportunities, but I didn’t feel I could be competitive in auditions. Jeanmarie taught me that I didn’t have to feel competitive. She taught me to act, basically, and to love the material I used in auditions and to look at each audition as a chance to perform. It was a shift in perception that gave me the confidence I needed to get parts in high school, which led to college and now I’m in New York pursuing my dream. Acting is a craft, and if you know what you’re doing, you don’t have to worry about what you look like or sound like. The work is done and when you get to the performance you are relaxed and can really soar. Also, Jeanmarie introduced me to actors she knew in NYC and that helped me a lot, too. When I arrived I was a part of the community already, and it made the transition to such a big city much easier. I just know I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t taken that workshop when I was 9 years old. 

– Brooke Gabriel

If you’re interested in studying with Jeanmarie privately, or in small groups, please contact her.