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Now Interviewing for

We offer a 3 hour Free Introductory Class every 6 months.

Welcome to Empowerhouse Acting Studio, the Bay Area’s artistic home for actors of all levels.  Our graduates are working actors in film, TV, commercials, and theatre in LA, NY, SF and beyond.

Meisner Technique

Spring 2024 Session 1 - In Person

Empowerhouse Studio offers the complete professional Meisner Technique training program, which consists of 6 sessions. Each session deepens your skills and craft by building on the work done in the previous session and introducing new exercises. Sanford Meisner created his technique very intentionally, so that each exercise deepens and enhances the previous teachings, building the actor up step-by-step into a world-class, moment-to-moment, highly sensitive, highly skilled, confident, free and authentic instrument, consistently able to "behave truthfully under imaginary circumstances," as Sanford Meisner would say.


We are now interviewing for our Meisner Technique 1st Session class, where students will learn the foundational exercises of the Meisner Technique, including the Repetition Exercise, Emotional Preparation and the "reality of doing." Students will work on one scene during this class, applying all of the principles learned in this foundational session. *Students who would like to continue their training will advance to the 2nd Session upon instructor approval.

*Actors with previous training in the Meisner Technique are welcome to apply. Placement will be determined during the interview and customized classes may be available.

  • The Spring 2024 class schedule will be announced soon.  Please contact us for an interview if you are interested in learning more about this class.

Meisner Technique

Sessions 2 - 6

​We welcome actors transferring from other Meisner Technique programs or actors who have previously trained in the Meisner Technique. Contact us for an interview to assess the appropriate class placement. 

Embodiment & Voice:

Priming Your Instrument Through Embodiment and Vocal Release & The Inhabiting Technique

Do you know how to breathe for performance?  Are you able to gauge appropriate vocal levels for the performance medium?  Do you sometimes feel awkward in your body and resort to “mono gestures” in scene work?  Most people struggle with these things until they train in voice and movement techniques.  Prime your instrument with Voice & Performance Coach SJ Harrison.  Imagine feeling confident in your ability to sustain your vocal power throughout a performance.  Begin to explore your full expressive range both vocally and physically, in this process-oriented technique class.  As you start to more fully inhabit your physical experience, you will begin to observe what’s blocked and held back in your voice and your body….and learn what to do about it, through the medium of Linklater and Laban based Techniques.

Auditioning and the Business of Acting

(*Students must have completed the full professional Meisner Technique program)

Take control of your acting career and empower yourself with the training, tools, strategies and mindset that are necessary to begin and sustain a professional acting career.  Topics covered include (but not limited to):

  • Assessing your type

  • Cold reading technique with on camera practice and immediate playback/feedback

  • Callbacks

  • Two person auditions

  • Commercial auditions

  • Monologues - from selection to performance 

  • Self-tape auditions

  • Agency representation (submission to interview)

  • Professional relationship building 

  • On camera acting

  • Headshots

  • Resumes

  • Websites

  • Demo reels​​

  • Social media for the actor

On-Camera Audition
Technique Class 


​Most actors don’t realize that acting and auditioning are two completely different skill sets. Auditioning is its own craft with specific techniques actors can use to increase their skills, confidence and callback and booking rates.

This class is open to actors at any stage of their careers. All audition practice will be filmed on HD video cameras with immediate playback for feedback and individualized coaching. Class size is kept small to ensure individualized attention for each student. 

In this 10-week audition intensive, you will:​

  1. Explore your mindset around auditioning and begin to address the unknown barriers you may be creating for yourself in your auditions

  2. Learn the do’s and don’ts of auditioning 

  3. Learn and practice the art of the slate – an often underestimated and misunderstood, yet critical skill for an on camera audition

  4. Learn and practice a cold reading technique taught by the top audition coaches in Hollywood

  5. Learn and practice the art of two-person auditions and the keys to staying grounded and present with your script while keeping the truthful life and connection with your partner

  6. Learn the keys to choosing and performing a monologue that showcases your strengths and range as an actor

  7. Learn and practice techniques for bringing your monologues to life

  8. Learn and practice the art of the self-tape submission

  9. Explore your "type" and begin the critical process of determining your type and branding yourself as a professional actor

  • Open to 2nd Year Students at Empowerhouse Acting Studio

  • Tuition $650

Acting Classes for Kids and Teens

Acting classes are a wonderful way to help develop your child’s creativity, confidence, collaboration skills and sense of community. With the decline in school arts programs and elimination of after school programs due to Covid, online professional acting training is a great way to keep your children engaged in creative activities that teach them a multitude of skills that go beyond acting.


Introduction to Commercial Auditioning for Young Actors (ONLINE)

Ages 8 - 17

All levels welcome  

There are many wonderful opportunities for young actors to work in commercials, industrials and commercial print. There are also hundreds of young actors auditioning for these opportunities, so an actor must do anything they can to learn how to stand out from their competition - in the right way. Commercial auditioning requires a very specific skill set that isn't taught in most acting classes. 


In this class, students will receive an introduction to the world of commercial auditioning. Students will learn and practice:


  1. Slating for commercial auditions

  2. Audition technique for various types of commercial auditions (improvised, scripted, group, etc.)

  3. Breaking down a commercial script

  4. Handling product

  5. Agent and casting director interviews 

  6. How to prepare for the audition

  7. Dealing with audition nerves and “stage fright”


  • 4 classes total

  • Class size is limited to ensure individual attention for each student

  • Tuition: $300

Please contact us to be placed on the wait list for the next session.

Introduction to Film & TV Auditioning for Young Actors (ONLINE)

Ages 8 - 17

All levels welcome


In this online class, students will develop their self-expression, acting skills, and most importantly confidence in their own unique voice. Acting exercises, improvisation and mock auditions will be used to help students learn critical skills required for film and television auditions. Students will learn and practice:

  1. Slating for film and television auditions 

  2. Audition etiquette and audition do's and don'ts

  3. Cold reading technique 

  4. Breaking down film and television audition sides in order to give the best audition possible

  5. How to prepare for an audition

  6. How to create a professional self-tape audition 


  • 6 classes total

  • Class size is limited to ensure individual attention for each student

  • Tuition: $300



You and your child can work privately with a 20+ year veteran of the industry to learn and practice valuable skills needed to have a professional acting career. One-on-one coaching has several benefits:


  • Your child is guaranteed 100% individualized attention in a safe and supportive environment.

  • Empowerhouse Acting Studio Founder Melissa Thompson Esaia will work individually with you and your child to assess his or her needs, strengths and growth opportunities and customize a plan to help develop his or her acting and audition skills, as well as a plan for entering and working in the industry.

  • Your child will receive private coaching in acting, auditioning, cold reading, monologues, commercial auditions, script analysis, listening skills, communication skills, interviewing with agents, managers and casting directors, and navigating the entertainment industry in a healthy, empowered way


Private coaching sessions are held via Zoom and accommodate your schedule.  All you need is a computer with the Zoom application and a quiet place for your child to work.


Private coaching fees are $110 per hour.  Fees are discounted when you purchase a private coaching package.

A message from Melissa Thompson Esaia regarding COVID-19:


I hope that you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe during this difficult time for our community and our world. The health and safety of my students is my top priority and we have strict policies in place to ensure that students feel safe and comfortable attending in person classes. 

Payment Options: We accept cash, check, credit card, and Venmo.

Refund policy 

We interview all potential students and request that interviewees examine their ability to make the commitment required before enrolling in any class. Also training to be an actor is an exciting, rewarding, enriching growth experience. It can also be challenging and humbling and like with any growth journey you may experience growing pains that feel a bit scary or uncomfortable. But so often the biggest breakthroughs and growth come when you feel that fear and discomfort and instead of turning away from it, you explore it and move through it. Sometimes the only thing that keeps someone from quitting in a time of fear and discomfort is the tuition they paid. For this reason, we do not offer refunds on class deposits or tuition.

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