I wouldn’t be where I am in this roller coaster world of acting without John. The Dirt allows me to safely take risks and look at the variety of ways one can play words off the page. I laugh, I cry, I surprise myself, I fall on my face then get back up and always go back for more. John has a terrific way of making you feel like an equal and the talent in his class never ceases to amaze me.
There are so many reasons that I keep coming back to study at The Dirt. It all starts with the first class of each session. John checks in with every student to see where they’re at. “What do you want to work on right now?” is a question that I’ve heard from him many times now, and each time my answer changes and evolves as I do as an artist… and each time, he listens. The Dirt is a refreshing in its actor-driven environment. It is about play and experimentation and getting confident and comfortable in what makes us all unique performers. It is an opportunity to work with other excellent actors, on film and tv scenes that are in tune with your specific goals of what muscles you want to stretch. John is a world class teacher and director. He has an ability to understand the essence of a scene and what is being asked of the actor in a way that has helped immensely in my auditions and when I’m on set. John embraces actors for who they are and helps them hone in on their individual strengths and work through any weaknesses. The bar is set high in his classes and the work is extremely strong. John is not a guru, and he doesn’t want to be. He is, however, an excellent acting teacher and I am damned lucky to have found him and The DIrt. This studio and community have had a profoundly positive impact on my acting career. I love this place. Thank you John.
Credits: (Stardust, Mrs. America, Handmaid’s Tale, Cyrus and Chels)
Allie Dunbar (actor)
John creates a delightful atmosphere of trust and joy that inspires people to risk and reveal themselves to the camera and their scene partners. He has a multiplicity of ways he approaches cracking open scenes – through analysis, breath, useful secrets, physical points of focus, power games among many others. He finds a language and approach to stimulate each individual actor. It is a truly joyful room. He is the anti-guru acting guru.
Credits: (Saving Hope, King Lear, Lars And The Real Girl, The English Patient, Unforgiven)
Liisa Repo-Martell (actor)
Working with John Gordon over the years has taken me from a hopeful actor to a working actor. He was able to bring out a confidence and trust in my work that I wasn’t able to realize on my own. He’s always the first person I recommend taking an acting class from and he will undoubtedly up your craft.
Credits: (Second City House Company, Salvation, Designated Survivor, Dark Matter)
Andrew Bushell (actor)
If you’re looking for a place to really play and explore the work while witnessing and sharing in the development of colleagues and peers, The Dirt is where it’s at. There’s joy here. That’s a great thing. That’s John.
I have been finding it hard to find such inspiration these days, and John’s class really is a reminder that the work doesn’t have to come from any specific place – it can come from where you are in the moment, and an openness to where that may lead you. And that that fuel can take many different forms. He encourages his students to open their creative landscapes; to be curious, instead of fixated. He questions and investigates, and invites you to embrace your own artistic curiosity and power. His sessions are filled with guidance that is full of play and possibility, and an understanding that like all creative endeavours, the work is beautifully ongoing.
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.
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!