Natalie Brown/actor (The Strain, Cracked, Sophie)
Working with John over the years, both privately and in class, has been (as John would put it) “a blast”. His approach to a scene or character is always with a sense of curiosity, and humour, using his knowledge of life and work to lend empathy and insight. He has both deepened and brought a sense of ease to my work and how I approach it. I believe learning comes through doing; coaching with John provides the forum to explore a scene a variety of ways, providing me with options, layers, and the readiness I need to go into any audition or set feeling prepared and ready to play.
Michael Lomenda/actor (Jersey Boys)
Working with John gave me the confidence to walk on to a Clint Eastwood set open and willing to dive in, head first. John just gets it. His practical holistic approach to class extends far past the boundaries of the studio; it changes the way you live your life as an artist. He’s brilliantly intuitive, an expert communicator, and a perceptive observer. He has an incredible ability to hone-in on and speak your personal artistic “language”, and he prides himself on creating/maintaining a safe space at the studio to challenge your boundaries and limitations. He’ll help you to reinforce your foundation, grow your skills, and discover what’s unique that you bring to the table. Classes are fun, focussed, non-judgmental, and, ultimately, full of actors who are booking.
Rachael Crawford/actor (This Life, Ascension, The Book of Negroes)
I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to take John’s class and also do some private coaching with him. Besides being an incredibly generous and accessible person to discuss the work with, his insights into character and story are tremendously helpful. I came to John’s class needing to regain a sense of my strengths and weaknesses as an actor and I got so much more. John has an excellent knowledge of the craft and a profound understanding of people but he also brings an infectious enthusiasm and imagination to the work so that I come away feeling stretched, inspired, and excited to find out what else I might bring to the scene. Sometimes I forget that acting can be fun and that it’s why I started in the first place, so I’m thrilled that I found John and The Dirt when I was feeling my work starting to atrophy. John runs a safe, welcoming, intelligent, get up on your feet class and his private coaching- well his coaching got me booked. So there’s that. Thanks, John!
Evan Buliung/actor (Damnation, Pericles, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls/Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet-upcoming at Stratford Festival)
John Gordon gave me insight into characters that I could never have come up with on my own, with subtle and nuanced direction he opened up worlds of thought that led to me booking many projects. His space is a warm and welcoming place to make the best self tapes possible to present to casting agents whether for film or theatre. I can’t recommend The Dirt enough!
Ian Matthews/actor (Gangland Undercover, The Captive, A History of Violence)
I have been working with John in class and in private coaching sessions for the past few years. The thing that stands out most for me about working with John is that he is very good at providing a very comfortable space and approach for getting me out of my comfort zone as an actor. That’s been the most important thing for me. The Dirt has been
instrumental in helping me to explore my range and depth. John has an intuitive and unpretentious understanding of the real world of professional acting and he is able to effectively bring that context to bear in his coaching. I also really appreciate the time and reps that John gives his actors in class, and the physical room itself is great – funky
and functional – with industry standard equipment. I recommend John without hesitation.
Ian Carpenter/Played (Writer/Consulting Producer), Being Erica (Writer/Co-Producer), LA Complex (Consultant)
At The Dirt John Gordon dishes out some of the most impeccable, insightful, deep-diving, bang-on direction I have witnessed in my 20 years in this business. His workshop that paired working screenwriters (the people running and casting tv shows) with his own acting students was brilliant, invigorating and instructive for both writers and actors. An initiative that points to why John is one of the most exciting acting teachers out there – he’s thinking outside the box, constantly changing up his pedagogy and he works in the very trenches his students go into every day.
Morro + Jasp/CLOWNS!!!
We studied with John Gordon and he made us into the movie stars we are today. Okay, maybe not movie stars yet, but it’s coming pretty soon, we think. John helped us get present and get comfortable playing with the camera just like we play with audiences. And we had so much fun while we were doing it. It was like playtime…but we learned a lot (he’s sneaky like that).
John Riven/Meisner Acting Teacher
I worked with John in my class a few years ago and he came at the work with a passion and openness that made working with him an absolute pleasure. Over the years, many of my students have worked with John in his classes and all have had nothing but praise for him as an acting coach. When actors in Toronto and in my class ask me if I have any recommendations for a scene study class, without hesitation I always send them John’s way.
Krystina Bojanowski/actor (Reign, Seams, Romeo and (her) Juliet; National Theatre School of Canada)
There are many reasons to work with John, but chief among them is this: John is not a pedagogue. With him, there is no right or wrong choice: no prescribed method for “good acting”. He meets you where you are and brings out your strengths – even the ones you weren’t aware you had. (Directly because of our first coaching session – an audition that I booked – I now box.) He runs his classes with humility, humour, and generosity; his classes are a space to work. He took the initial terror out of film work without dismissing the skills that I brought from the theatre world, and continues to help me navigate both mediums. If you are looking for someone to help you find the process that is uniquely yours, John is your man.
James Graham/actor (Co-Founder of The Howland Company, NSFW, 52 Pick-Up, New Jerusalem)
More than any teacher I have ever worked with, John recognizes that good acting comes from being true to yourself not to some idea of who you need to be. In my work, he has encouraged a level of self-exploration that I have found not only beneficial to my acting career, but also to the way I see the world. I am without question a more open and generous actor than I was only a year ago and I have John’s continued guidance to thank for that.
Romina D’Ugo/actor (12 Monkeys, Republic Of Doyle, King, New Year, Turn The Beat Around)
John Gordon is that rare acting coach who not only sees into the essence of the actor, but also reveals his own vulnerabilities and struggles, allowing for a safe, authentic, motivating class atmosphere. His humility and passion for the work, fused with his undeniable ability to guide a scene or story to its truth, helped me to improve and grow exponentially, as an artist and individual.
Ian Fisher/Actor (Covert Affairs, Between, Reign)
I believe that in order to get good at anything you need to practice. Actors often struggle with finding a way to do this, since we can’t go down to a court and shoot all day, or drum until our hands bleed. What I like about John’s class is that not only does he allow you to learn, he allows you to practice what you’ve learned, often more times then you might even want to. In John’s classes you do more takes. Fact. He’s gonna make you get up and work. Acting classes are expensive, so I know when I take John’s classes, I’m getting my money’s worth.
Amy Keating/actor (Mr. Burns, I Claudia, After Miss Julie, New Jerusalem, Passion Play)
John’s class was my first introduction to scene study on camera. I was quite nervous and pretty convinced that I wasn’t cut out for film work. But John has this amazing gift that he brings into the room – a confident and relaxed demeanor that made me feel like I could do anything. He knew exactly what to say to both empower me, and to encourage me to take risks. In John’s class, I always felt creatively challenged and stimulated, and safe enough to fail boldly!
Michael Cram/actor (Empire Of Dirt, Flashpoint, Rookie Blue)
John is a wonderful actor and an engaging teacher. He’s created a fun, safe environment for serious actors’ study where he teaches with intelligence, humour and compassion. What sets him apart isn’t just his spot-on observation or his keen insight, but his ability to communicate these to the actor in a way that makes immediate sense. John’s helped me personally by coaxing me out of my comfort zone and giving me new tools to create more engaging characters. I wholeheartedly recommend John’s class.
Greg Thomas/actor (Rookie Blue, Murdoch Mysteries)
I rediscovered my confidence working with John. He creates an environment that is at once safe yet challenging, inspiring and fun. I greatly admire John’s simple and honest approach to teaching. He is supportive without mincing words. John respects actors. He cares about your work and finds joy in your successes. Some days, it is tough to feel like an actor. Leaving John’s class, that is never in question.
Amy Lee Lavoie/playwright (Rabbit Rabbit, Memento Mori, Stopheart)
John has incredible instincts and sensitivity. The actor is pushed to take risks, encouraged to jump as they do-one way or the other, to great effect. He can read people instantly, offering detailed observation of the work that is easily understandable and transferable. John Gordon roots for the underdog. He champions them, guides them and gives them a home. I feel very privileged to have been his student.
Aviva Armour-Ostroff/actor (He Left Quietly, The Shape of Rex) & Artistic Director of The Lab Cab Festival
After almost twenty years of working in theatre, I was still new to the film and TV world. I was under the impression that TV and film acting class would be about learning which side of my face is my “good” side, or that my “hit” is 40 year old ethnic cleaning lady, but John made me feel right at home by focusing on the work. He took me back to the basics of good acting. His method is beautifully balanced by a passionate, relaxed and honest instruction. I felt comfortable asking questions and enjoyed John’s personal anecdotal responses. He made me think. He challenged me.
Michael Wheeler/Artistic Director of Praxis Theatre Company
Studying with John Gordon impacted the way I think about and create theatre. John expanded the way I thought about acting, connection and communication. Eventually, we had no choice but to work with him when he played a lead role in our production of Underneath at The SummerWorks Festival.
Hannah Spear/actor (Trout Stanley, Arcadia, Banff/Citadel Theatre Training Program, Bad Dog Theatre Company Member)
I have taken John Gordon’s class several times since The Dirt opened. The experience has been invaluable. John’s approach to working with each student often makes the class feel like an individual coaching session, rather than a group lesson. John is direct and frank in his critiques and coaching, yet is also full of humour and humility. Whether you nail a take, or fail gloriously, the class allows you to work through it all, slowly becoming more relaxed and confident in the process. Your process. I am constantly recommending this class to actors who take their craft seriously and want to keep working out, learning, discovering, and growing. I hope to work with John for many years to come!
Caden Douglas/actor (Six Day Road, War Horse, Breakout Kings)
First off he has an exceptional eye. He sees his students and their work with unbelievable clarity. He sees their strengths, weakness, successes, failures, where and when they need to be pushed, and the challenges that suit the growth they need to achieve. His insights into the minutia of their work is inspiring. There have been endless times in working with John, in class, that he has given me a single, well phrased, note, between takes, that has allowed me to take a scene and my work to unexpected places.
Kelly Penner/actor (Reign, The Girlfriend Experience, The Shaw Festival)
As a teacher, I feel no fear or intimidation from him. What I like most about his class is that I feel that John is in the trenches with me. Not some Lord of Acting sitting high above me with the secret or ‘right way’ to do things. He is able to use his experiences as an actor and more importantly as a human to relate to every individuals specific needs. Coming from a stage background I was intimidated by the camera. John has helped give me confidence in front of the camera on a intimate and technical level. And we are only just getting started.
Tim Beresford/actor (The McCarthy’s, The L.A. Complex, King)
John Gordon is objective. No need to butter it up with adjectives; it’s a quality rare enough to go without. The more I studied with John, the more I booked. I used to skip to his class.
Nora Jane Williams/actor (Danny and the Deep Blue Sea – Brooklyn College – NYC, Terry Schreiber Studios (ongoing), Graduate of AADA)
I came to John’s class from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Terry Schrieber Studios in New York. When I moved to Toronto a friend recommended John’s class and what I found was a community of actors that are talented, intelligent and working professionals. They are all interested in delving deeply into the work and are honest and hardworking. This is a direct reflection of who John is as a teacher. He has an incredible eye for who a person really is and this has taken me to new heights in my life and work.
Pippa Johnstone/actor (The Rainmaker, Gruesome Playground Injuries – Pacific Theatre, Measure for Measure – Honest Fishmongers)
The Dirt is a safe place to fail, flail, mess up and try again. John has set up a studio environment were I always feel I can take a risk or try something new, because I have the support of my incredible classmates. The Dirt attracts artists who are open-hearted, genuinely curious and hard working, and that made me want to work just as hard to rise to the challenge every week. Every week I leave the Dirt refreshed, hopeful and inspired.
Check out our Facebook page for more pictures of the space: http://www.facebook.com/tduas