(415) 483-0809

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Actors on stage_edited.jpg
Image by William Bayreuther

About Us

Founded by veteran actor and teacher Melissa Thompson Esaia, Empowerhouse Acting Studio is an artistic home for actors in the Bay Area. Melissa founded the studio to offer professional level acting classes for actors at all levels who are not quite ready to move to larger markets like Los Angeles or New York, but who are ready to elevate their craft and increase their bookings. At Empowerhouse Acting Studio, students receive world-class training, coaching and mentorship in a nurturing environment where they feel safe to explore their craft, their voices, their dreams and their most authentic selves.

The mission of Empowerhouse Acting Studio is to elevate and empower our students in 3 core areas:

  • Craft - we offer professional level acting classes and coaching designed to elevate students' skills, sensitivity and authenticity as actors. 

  • Business of Acting - we offer classes and coaching designed to elevate students' understanding of the business of being an actor and their ability to navigate their journeys into this profession, whether they want to stay in the Bay Area or move to a larger market.

  • Confidence - whatever our students' dreams are, we give them the tools to take the next steps in their journeys with clarity and confidence.  As Sanford Meisner said, "When you're finished studying with me, you will be able to call yourself an actor and it will truly mean something," and there is nothing more effective in building true confidence than feeling solid in your craft and having an unwavering belief in yourself.


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.” 
― Marianne Williamson


Contact Empowerhouse Acting Studio

Empowerhouse Acting Studio is located inside the French Press Films production studio. Located a short walk from Lake Merritt and Snow Park, we are in the heart of downtown Oakland—close to transportation, stores and dining. 19th Street BART is just three blocks away.

1610 Harrison Street, Suite E East
Oakland, CA

(415) 483-0809