New Shooting On-Location Scene Study

We’re having a blast
so far acting outdoors with JG’s new On-Location Scene Study. There are few more openings for Session 5B which commences on Tuesday October 13.

Students get the opportunity to act in 3 scenes over a 4 week period – shooting on location on Tuesdays and receiving their talk-back via Zoom on Thursday afternoons. The October 4 week course is $325 inc. hst. The November course is $325 (early-bird rate) and $375 regular rate.

Click here to watch a sample of the filmed scenes from Session 5A.

Upcoming September/October Session 5…

We are excited to announce our Session 5 curriculum!

JG will begin teaching Online Scene Study on Mondays as well as The Dirt’s first ever Shooting On Location Scene Study class. Actors will be able to shoot outdoors on Tuesday and then 2 days later receive feedback in a virtual talk-back class on Thursday. And SM will continue his successful weekly Self-Tape series of classes  via Zoom through September + October. Please go to Classes + Coaching for more details!

Thank you to everyone for your continued support.

We hope everyone stays safe – John, Shaun, Cynthia + Britt

Testimonial from Brendan Hobin…


“Annie Baker is a magician of a playwright. The mundane and imaginary interweave with the subtlety of candle smoke. She is known for her naturalistic dialogue, in which her characters speed breathlessly through reams of distractible thoughts punctuated by long, ruminating silences. They can, however, just as easily become declarative, poetic or abstract. For an actor, her plays present a score of unique challenges.


I’ve studied with John at the Dirt on and off for a few years now. When this course went on offer, I felt he was a perfect fit for the playwright because John is interested in process over product. His techniques for actors are very practical, and yet he gives an abundance of space for artists to experiment. You get the sense you are working with a fine collaborator who is as invested in your work as you are. He is inquisitive and empathetic, demanding but not pretentious. He seems to enjoy the bad work as much as the good work, perhaps recognizing the bad work for what it is—a starting place, a rich creative territory to mine.

We pick our own texts. There aren’t many of us, so we work a lot. It’s a relaxed and refreshing professional environment. In short, I feel I have the ability here to stretch myself in ways I don’t think another class or teacher would offer.”

Brendan Hobin (Dim the Fluorescents)

New Online Curriculum for Session 3…

Being in a class, on a screen, may be the last place we need to be right now.  The Dirt always aspires to be a space where people can have fun training, not just grind away, worrying if our peers are gaining ground or leaving us in the dust, whatever that means.

Most importantly, if being in a class right now doesn’t feel right, trust that voice! The Dirt is not going anywhere and there are many different ways for us to grow, or simply get through these days so we can come out the other side.  

That being said, we’ve had time to reflect on requests from students who are ready to study and in doing so we’ve developed an Online Curriculum that (a) brings us back to the theatre and (b) demystifies and emboldens actors when prepping self-tapes.    

The first option will be taught by John Gordon. The World of Annie Bakermay be just the thing to get us through these tough times.  Ms. Baker’s seven plays are hilarious, moving and full of surprises and John is looking forward to reading and hearing how the interior life of her wonderful characters may help us better understand the time that we currently find ourselves in. John’s Theatre Study will consist of a weekly 3 hour class taught over video conferencing over a 4 week session.

The second option will be coached by Shaun McComb. If you want to develop your self-tape audition technique, these week-long sessions will enhance self-directing skills and will reinvigorate the audition process as a whole. Shaun’s Self-Tape Audition Study curriculum will include multiple self-tape submissions and 2 video conferences.

The full description of both courses can be found here. 

Registration for classes beginning next month will be Friday May 1.

Thank you to all our students and whether it’s over video or in-person later in the year, we look forward to connecting with you again!

John, Shaun, Cynthia + Britt


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