Brian Powell teaches improvisation, scene study, monologue technique, audition technique, cold reading technique, character development through movement and gesture, makeup for actors, career coaching for actors. Brian’s classes incorporate his own brand of Internal Training Technique, which provides a unique and exhilarating way to explore your voice, your talents and your gifts. What you learn will transfer to any medium: film, television, theatre, dance, painting or the written word. He is master at helping you to interpret classical roles, create political theatre and to study composition archetypes and theatre as a social force. Brian believes that it is important to give students the gift of artistic independence, earned through honing their craft, and to help them to enter the professional landscape with a solid understanding of who they are as an artist, what they have to contribute, and how to take their first steps towards manifesting their dreams. Students coming to his classes can expect to plunge themselves into the dynamics of performance and discover the currents of emotional subtleties that can be used successfully in theatre, television and film.
Brian received his BFA in Performance from Carnegie Mellon University and moved to New York City. He toured nationally with the Robin Hood Players, The Robert Decormier Singers, sang Off Broadway with Light Opera of Manhattan, performed on cruise ships, in the Catskills and in the West Village. During this time he continued studying at HB Studios with Bill Hickey and with esteemed vocal coach Joan Lader. In 1987, he moved to Chicago and became a founding member of New Crime Productions with John Cusack as Artistic Director. John introduced him to The Style; a mash up of heightened yet sincere emotions and a modern view of Commedia dell’arte brought to Tim Robbins and The Actor’s Gang by George Bigot of France’s Theatre de Soleil. New Crime pushed the envelope in image, physicality, image and content. Embracing great writers such as Jean Genet, Hunter Thompson and Mikhail Bulgakov, as well as improvising stories torn from headlines, they explored political and social issues through extreme physicality and deep, surging levels of emotions. While in Chicago Brian studied with Joyce and Byrne Piven at the famed Piven Theatre Workshop, whose mix of Viola Spolin’s Theatre Games, Meisner, Stanislavski, Strasburg, and Stella Adler melded with The Style, helped him to become an actor and a teacher with an extremely diverse skill set. While there Brian also worked with Catholic Charities in their Refugee Resettlement Program, helping people from war torn areas make a new life in America. In Los Angeles Brian became New Crime’s Head of Film Development. He is proud to have worked on Grosse Point Blank, High Fidelity and The Jack Bull and grateful to have learned from great film makers like Joe Roth, Donna Roth, Susan Arnold, Roger Birnbaum, Minnie Driver, Clint Eastwood, George Armitage, Adam McKay, Stephen Frears and many others. During his tenure at New Crime Productions, Brian began training with undefeated World Champion kick boxer Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. From Sensei Benny he became skilled in stage fighting, stunt work, boxing, kickboxing and martial arts. He developed a class that incorporated stunt work, wirework and Commedia dell’arte, which made its debut at The Lee Strasberg Institute. As The Gang’s Director of Education he began a reciprocal acting and teaching program between UCLA Master Acting students and The Actor’s Gang. Brian wrote, produced and directed “The Other Side of Freedom” for Amnesty International and The Program for Torture Victims. He interviewed torture victims from around the world, preparing stories, scenes, monologues and music that spoke of the suffering endured by so many at the hands of political thugs. Brian also worked with At Risk Children outside The Gang, with The Heart Project and Arts Expand, teaching, directing and producing original work, theatre and film, that came from the young actors themselves, exploring their fears, hopes and visions of their future. Brian trained teachers, taught acting/improv to elementary through high school, developed curriculum for the Blackfoot Nation in Brocket, Canada and is reminded each day that the pursuit of theatre arts is fundamental in forming and fulfilling our highest potential. Brian Powell offers a tool kit that few teachers in the country can: professional experience and expertise as an actor, writer, director, producer, stage fighter, one person show, film and television developer, and physical comedy expert.