Session 2 Classes Cancelled

Due to the precautionary measures recommended by our government’s health organization in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, with heavy hearts we have decided to cancel Session 2 classes with John Gordon + Shaun McComb.
We are offering students 2 choices:
Option 1: 
Receive a full refund now.
Option 2: 
Keep current class spot for Session 3 (same class times **, beginning week of Sunday May 10 + ending week of Sunday June 21), provided that the Covid-19 precautionary measures are no longer in place. The Dirt will notify you by Monday April 27 if we have to cancel Session 3 and continue self-isolation practices. **exception is the Master Class, which will be on Thursdays beginning May 14 + ending June 18 **

Please let us know by Wednesday April 22 which option you prefer. If we haven’t heard back, we will assume that you are choosing Option 2.

Thank you for patience and your support for The Dirt – we greatly appreciate it.

Please stay safe,
John, Shaun, Britt + Cynthia

Testimonial from Tracey Hoyt

Tracey HoytIn the work with John, he might ask: “Best case scenario?” or “Worst Case Scenario?” before you begin a take.

After recently completing his 6-week Masterclass, here’s my takeaway, from worst to best:

Worst Case Scenario?

I will forget the basics.
I will revert to old tricks and habits.
I will hold onto my “mistakes.”
I will forget to take care of my partner(s).

Best Case Scenario?

I will dare to soar and to fail within the safety net of my courageous peers and a coach/director who has been there.
I will focus on the undeniably connected moments with my scene partner(s.)
I will be gentle on myself as I navigate new skills and play character types I have never been considered for.
I will embrace and celebrate my vulnerability and my willingness to keep growing, over 30 years into my career.

Tracey Hoyt  (Guidance, Len and Company, Decoys)

Upcoming Coaching + Mindfulness Workshop: ENERGY MAPPING

Do you overcommit and then get overwhelmed with your schedule?

Or do you have trouble figuring out the best time to start new projects?

This 2.5 hour Coaching + Mindfulness workshop will give you specific tools to plan your schedule to avoid energy depletion and to work more efficiently. Learning how to work with a visual Energy Map will help you navigate unexpected life stressors as well as help with decision making.

Early-bird Registration (Monday Feb. 24): $80
Regular Rate: $100

Monday March 2 from 6:30-9:00pm at The Dirt

How to register:
(1) Fill in online google form here
(2) Send in registration fee by e-transfer to


Thank you…

Tonight we wrap up 2019 and it has been a fantastic year of growth for The Dirt. Thank you to all of the new actors who came out to explore something unknown, whether that was the studio or our new coach, Shaun James McComb. And thank you to the actors who keep coming back, digging deeper and finding more play with each session. The Dirt isn’t The Dirt without actors who are willing play in it.

🧡 With gratitude,
John, Shaun, Cynthia and Britt


“I was referred to John’s advanced on-camera class from actors I respect and admire in the industry. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dirt Underneath Actor’s Space over the course of the 3 sessions I’ve taken. John brings a huge amount of experience and passion to the work. He has a great eye, and his direction always sheds new light on the scene. His approach to the work is simple yet sophisticated, and always filled with humour. Dirt Underneath is a safe space to put your heart on the line, take risks, and work on your craft.  I encourage everyone to take a class at Dirt Underneath Studios.  You won’t regret it!”

Patrick Kwok-Choon (Star Trek: Discovery)


“It’s easy to keep training at the same place and get comfortable but the job of the actor is always changing, so Its good to shake things up. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started training with Shaun, but my expectations were blown away immediately! Shaun is so passionate about teaching acting and it shows. Compared to other classes I have taken, you get a lot of time on-camera, giving you multiple takes to explore as an artist. The class environment is a great place to fail, learn and try new things. Shaun is an invaluable asset to anyone who takes their acting career seriously.”

Joel Labelle
(X-Men, Killjoys, Shazam!)

Digging in at The Dirt…

Testimonial from Christian Lloyd (select credits: American Gods, The Handmaid’s Tale, Map to the Stars)

“I just saw US; the latest film from Jordan Peele.  It’s a brilliant allegory for how we, as humans (and especially artists), get in our own way.    There’s forever a demon on our shoulder telling us we’re not good enough, attractive enough, tall enough, short enough, bookable enough and we let that “other” side, the fear based side, win.   John has a finely tuned, innate ability to cut ourselves from ourselves and let our individualism approach the scene.  

The demons will always be there.   John has a way of giving them less agency. ”

Photo Credit: Christian Lloyd (Getting Captured Photography)


Shaun James McComb joins The Dirt…

We are ecstatic that Shaun James McComb will be joining our teaching roster and starting a brand new On-Camera Scene Study class (The Cycle) on Tuesday evenings, in March 2019. Shaun use a similar vocabulary to communicate The Dirt’s concepts as John does however while John offers many tools at once, Shaun layers in one tool at a time week-by-week.

More about The Cycle: As actors we can spend a lot of time trying to be ‘good.’ Perhaps this elusive goal is set because we simply need the next job or we want some sort of feeling of success to justify our life choices as an artist. At the Dirt, we understand that that pressure we put on ourselves can restrict our playful impulses while in the act of make-believe. The Dirt has honed in on some key concepts that The Cycle unpacks to bridge the gap between technique and play.  By working at a slower pace The Cycle aims to keep acting fun, develop strategies to utilize the actor’s natural nerves, and form a vocabulary that ignites a free imaginative flow from analysis to practice to performance.

More about Shaun: Shaun is a graduate of Humber College’s Theatre Performance. He completed the Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training at the Stratford Festival under principal David Latham. Shaun had a short stint in the MFA program at York University and is now currently completing his MA at the University of Guelph where he is also teaching acting. Along the way Shaun also studied privately with a variety of on-camera coaches including John Gordon. Shaun splits his time between Toronto and Guelph, where he grew up.