Now Interviewing for
2022
 Classes

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

Sign up for our next one!

Welcome to Empowerhouse Acting Studio, the Bay Area’s home for actors of all levels.  We offer professional acting classes in the Meisner Technique, as well as on-camera audition and business of acting classes.  Our graduates are working actors in film, TV, commercials, and theatre in LA, NY, SF and beyond.

Embodiment & Voice:

Priming Your Instrument Through Embodiment and Vocal Release

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.


Meisner Technique

Spring 2022 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.

  • 12 classes

  • Session 1 begins on Monday, May 23rd and ends on Thursday, July 7th

  • Classes meet on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.  There is NO class on Monday, May 30th and Monday, July 4th

  • Tuition: $720


Auditioning and the

Business of Acting (online)

In this online class, you will learn and practice several of the key skills needed to book acting work and sustain an acting career. In this class you will:

 

1. Participate in a “type” exercise that will help you to determine your type and assist you in the critical task of branding yourself as a professional actor.

 

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

 

3. Explore your mindset around this important and often misunderstood skill, as well as begin to address the unknown barriers you may be creating for yourself in auditions.

 

4. Learn and practice a proven cold reading technique (for monologues and two-person auditions) that will help you to stay grounded and present with your script while remaining connected to your emotional life and/or your scene partner.

 

5. Learn and practice techniques for bringing your monologues to life in order to stand out from your competition.

 

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

 

7. Learn the keys to meeting with an agent for possible representation and practice the agent interview. 

This online class consists of 8 classes. Class meets twice per week.  *Class content is customizable to meet the needs of enrolled students. Online one-on-one audition and business of acting coaching is also available.  Please contact us for more details.

  • Tuition: $400

  • Contact us to be placed on the wait list for the next session

Meisner Technique

Session 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 - In Person

(*Students must have completed previous sessions of Meisner Technique training or equivalent)

We currently have classes at all levels of the professional Meisner Technique training.  We welcome actors who have trained in the Meisner Technique at other studios. If you are interested in a level assessment, contact us and we will meet with you to determine the appropriate class for you to join.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  • Start date TBD due to COVID-19

  • Meets once a week on Tuesdays from 7pm to 10pm (10 classes)

  • Tuition: $525

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: $200

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

 

PRIVATE ONLINE COACHING

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.