There have been a number of recent landmarks for actors from The Rehearsal Room.

alannasAndrea McCannon


ANDREA McCANNON and ALANNA SALT both had guest roles on “The Doctor Blake Mysteries”.




Yasmin BushbyTim Clarke


YASMIN BUSHBY smashed it on “Neighbours”.

TIM CLARKE has also been busy with a guest role for TV and numerous short films.



David Bergen

Marie Werrett


DAVID BERGEN and MARIE WERRETT were each cast in TVC’s they shot last week – only to find they were both in the same commercial for Priceline.

SHERELLE FYFE did a commercial recently, too – hers was for Baptcare.



Karla Hillam

Wesley Forke


KARLA HILLAM had a guest role on “The Warriors’ to be aired on ABC.

WESLEY FORKE delivered an outstanding performance in the excellent short film “Degree of Separation”. It was co-directed by KYAHL ANDERSON and produced by DARREN MORT.


Eddie Orton


EDDIE ORTON has picked up a great gig. He is working from March to September with ‘The Players – Bell Shakespeare’. All he knows is that he is playing Romeo. Well done, Eddie.


And there are great things ahead in 2017!!!

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Neighbours Casting Director THEA McLEOD was at The Rehearsal Room on Saturday to witness 16 actors working at developing their audition skills. It was very exciting because a number of actors did their best work.

The Rehearsal Room acting process aims at quality outcomes. There is a list of important ingredients we measure that will deliver an engaging performance with richly lifelike qualities. Getting all the ingredients together in a relaxed and balanced mix is challenging. But on Saturday morning when reviewing the actors’ work the note I gave on a number of occasions was simply, “That was beautiful work!”

An exciting day and a perfect way to end a year.


Audition Workshop with Neighbours Casting Director




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An Exhilarating Audition Workshop

Under the direction of Melbourne Casting Director JANE NORRIS 29 actors delivered a range of engaging, creative and adventurous performances today. It was exciting to see many new faces bringing fresh input to the occasion.

Amongst The Rehearsal Room actors there was the usual professional approach of applying process to build skill. And everyone made clearly measurable improvement. Amidst all this good work a few performances inspired special mention.

Actor Gary Dressler


TIM CLARKE did a magnificent job as reader for the day.  He listened fabulously and gave every actor a strong variety of options to play with.  SIMONE BALL set enormously practical and worthwhile goals. She achieved them with a beautiful simplicity and an elegant truth. And CARISSA McALLEN tackled a difficult scene with a well-placed confidence that delivered a rich and impressively well balanced performance.

The star of the day was GARY DRESSLER. He first started at The Rehearsal Room at the end of 2012 and has slowly worked away at building his understanding and confidence. Today all his hard work culminated in a stellar performance. Beautifully trusted, richly complex and imbued with a touching humanity GARY delivered exceptional work that took our breath away.

Congratulations to everyone who took part.

Special thanks to JANE NORRIS for guiding the actors through a very productive adventure.

Excitingly good work and the best fun.



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“I Got The Job”

IN JOB INTERVIEWS many actors use The Rehearsal Room approach to acting to guide their choices. What originally evolved as a sophisticated acting process is being used by many people in their daily routine. THIS DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE ACTING their way through life – that would be disastrous. All it means is that they use this very logical approach to decision-making when organising daily tasks.  Obviously, these are tasks that will result in a conversation.

Actor Wesley ForkeThis week, WESLEY FORKE wrote to me –

“Rich… I got the job! I treated the whole interview process like an audition. The Rehearsal Room process can be applied in so many different aspects of life. Had my need, story definition and difficulty in place and smashed it! 18 other people went for it and the feedback I got was that I was in front by a long shot and that all panel members truly believed what I had to say. THANK YOU!”

What a wonderful and very satisfying achievement. There are many such stories. Regularly actors report that, “I GOT THE JOB” having used The Rehearsal Room process in their interviews. It steadies stress-related nerves because it establishes clear priorities.

Congratulations, Wesley.


Wesley has acting successes to his credit, too. He recently returned from London where he had the lead role in the Sci-Fi film “The Generator”. Wes will be going back to London in January for its premier.

Wesley’s performance in the lead role of the short film “Degree of Separation” is another triumph. It is an exquisitely balanced portrayal of a very complex character. The film is doing very well on the International Film Festival circuit – already with two Best Film awards.  Its success is significantly due to Wesley’s exceptional performance.   Another job done well.


Degree of Separation Poster

“Degree of Separation” was directed by Kyahl Anderson and Dale Mastin (The Cloud Foundry), written by Philip Claassen and produced by Darren Mort.






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WAAPA Graduate at The Rehearsal Room

Barnaby Pollock

BARNABY POLLOCK completed his Batchelor of Arts in Acting at WAAPA in 2015. This week he started at The Rehearsal Room to add more skills to his actor’s toolbox. In his first session he was off to a great start. The focus was on building skills that enable efficient and flexible choices in the audition room and on a film set.

“I have never had principles explained to me in such simple language.  It was a treat,” was Barnaby’s response to the session.

Barnaby had previously spent one day at The Rehearsal Room in 2009 when he visited Melbourne in his final year of secondary school. It was a memorable day for that group of students. Those two sessions at The Rehearsal Room were the highlight of their entire tour of East Coast acting institutions. The practical nature of the techniques Barnaby learnt that day stayed with him. That’s why he has returned to continue to explore The Rehearsal Room approach, seven years later.



Many actors with university degrees have found The Rehearsal Room acting process refreshingly simple and a very practical expansion of their professional skills. Glenn Quinn was an actor with a degree from Ballarat who subsequently took his Rehearsal Room skills on stage in a starring role in ‘Jersey Boys’.



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Julie had completed her first term at The Rehearsal Room but had been unable to attend the final session because she was sick. Five weeks later she returned to complete the final exercise. Her task was to perform an audition AND SHE NAILED IT. This mock audition was impressive.

Julie’s audition worked because she clearly understood her role. She understood the nature of the task her character had to perform, she understood the nature of the people she was dealing with and she dealt with them in a practical way within the circumstances. What’s more she managed to change her path through the scene with ease. She could do that because she clearly understood there were a number of practical ways for her character to tackle the problem she was facing.  Julie was comfortable, real and relaxed.

Julie made acting look easy.



Two days later Eddie had a self-test audition to record … and HE SMASHED IT. Eddie’s challenge was to create an eccentric character with an American accent. That this audition was for an important role in a feature film added to the pressure. He had one run of the first scene to warm it up and the next take was excellent. Two more complicated scenes followed a similar pattern.

His performance was bold, playful, complex, real and very engaging. He achieved this because he understood the nature of the character he was playing, he understood the relationship his character was involved in and he understood that there were a variety of ways he could tackle changing that relationship. Confidently, he boldly played with those ingredients allowing the performance to be spontaneous and vary from take to take. EXCELLENT WORK.

Even though they both were facing a challenging task they both did their best work so far.

These performances are testimony to the value of understanding the essential ingredients of the job.

Congratulations to both actors. In my view, they both achieved a personal best with their performances.


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My First Day as an Actor

Richard in makeup

This week, for the first time in my life I was an actor – for a day!

My first and most important task was to turn up on time.  I achieved that!  But I still didn’t feel like I was an actor.  That I had to have makeup (unusual though that was for me) still didn’t convince me that I was an actor.  I didn’t have any lines – BUT I was still an actor, I kept telling myself.

Despite so many decades of working on set I had to concentrate on not getting nervous.  I didn’t want to get distracted; I wanted to stay focused on the job, for my main goal was to not look a dill.  If I didn’t feel like I was an actor I didn’t want to look like I wasn’t one.

I knew I didn’t have to star, I only had a VERY minor role, but I wanted to be competent.  I wanted to do the job.  I didn’t want to be the one who stood out because they weren’t being believable.  I also wanted to make my small contribution to the story being told.  So, I just had to do what actors do, I kept repeating to myself.

On set prior to shootingI made sure that I understood the circumstances and the relationships I was involved in.  When I was uncertain I asked questions to clarify that.  I then made two very simple choices to implement a course of action for the scene.  They needed to connect me to my most important relationship in the scene, too.  As I felt that those choices were active and that I could do them I also felt I could trust them.  That felt OK.  Even though I still didn’t feel like an actor, I did know what I had to do.

Having a plan of action in place I then had to focus on implementing it.  So, I had to listen to the direction I was given and make choices that were comfortable for me that would implement the director’s requirements.  Sally McLean’s direction was simple and clear which made everything a lot easier.  My next task was to commit to listening to WAHIBE MOUSSA as she gave her speech to the assembled crowd.

As the shoot progressed I made sure I knew what had just happened before I made my entrance.  WAHIBE, who was the protagonist in this story, was a huge help here.  Just with a glance or a very brief improvisation she would confirm the nature of our relationship and current circumstances in the seconds before we walked into view.  I then just did my best to listen to WAHIBE and to the response she was getting from her audience.  I assessed how I was progressing with my own goal – because even though I had no dialogue I had a Conversation Goal in place.  And believing there was nothing more I could do I just trusted that the director would tell me if I was really crap and needed to change something.
I still didn’t feel like an actor but I did feel I was engaged with the circumstances of the story.

Shooting the final sceneI felt my best and most relaxed work was when the camera wasn’t on me.  I suspect that actors often feel like that.  But my major achievement for the day was to go home and not worry about the outcome.  I had gone down my Post Shoot Check List and felt that to the best of my knowledge I could tick most of the boxes.  The only offer an actor can contribute is to have a practical working process and implement it with trust.  And I had done my best to achieve that.  Whether that makes me an actor I can’t tell.  But it certainly was fun to try.


(To Sally McLean, Billy Smedley, Wahibe Moussa thanks for the opportunity. And to all the lovely Shakespeare Republic actors and crew who contributed to it being such a pleasant experience … many thanks)


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Powerful and Simple Listening

Director: STEVE JODRELLSteve Jodrell is an experienced director (3 series of Wentworth) and a VERY good actor. He was the guest director at the final session of this term’s MASTER CLASS.

His final comment to the actors in this session was … “If you really listen then every run of a scene will be different.” This profound and elegantly simple statement is worth thinking about. For if you really listen to the subtle nuances of everything that is being said to you its bound to generate a similar level of nuance and complexity when you respond.

As I considered the value of Steve’s remarks I recalled what an excellent listener he was when he acted. I had hired him on two different shows. As an actor he was always rich and real because his listening was fantastic.

Totally trusting your listening is the key to success. It is that simple.

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The Actor and The Story

Understanding the role of the actor in the story is the most challenging task for the actor … and there are simple reasons why!!

That THERE IS A STORY TO BE TOLD is the reason why we need actors.  Actors are the main instrument for delivering the story in the theatre and on the screen.  Yet despite the importance of the narrative, understanding story is often an insignificant part of actor training.

View the video and let me know your thoughts.

For details of the next “Delivering the Story” Workshop go here.



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A Quantum Leap Forward

Joan Leo and Ben McCreerySuddenly they were doing it!!!

It had taken 5 weeks, slowly working at it. They had to learn the exercise, understand its purpose and build their trust in applying it.   They had to abandon the desire to control the outcome, forget any concepts they had about acting and simply trust their natural ability to listen. They had to convince themselves that they had the skill and that this exercise was easy. And suddenly … it was.

It’s like riding a bike. You can’t fake it. You have to actually do it. And like riding a bike once an actor can really listen there is no turning back and the skill will never be forgotten. For both JOAN LEO and BEN McCREERY this was a major turning point.

Their listening was honest, real and lifelike. It was lifelike because they were using the listening skills that they use daily in life. They weren’t acting listening. They were simply … listening. They listened to …

  • The meaning of what was being said to them
  • How that meaning affected the relationship
  • What they wanted to say in response
  • Whether they were saying what they wanted to say
  • How what they said affected the other person
  • What options were available in response
  • Which of those options were appropriate to use
  • Whether they were really understanding what was unfolding
  • And how much the other person liked them.

And they accomplished all those complicated processes in a state of total relaxation because it was EASY.

Congratulations, BEN and JOAN. That was a quantum leap forward.

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