OWNER & LEADER
LOCATION Los Angeles, CA
Sonya Cooke brings to the table an extensive background in teaching and acting technique pedagogy. A proud member of SAG-AFTRA, she has acted in TV, film, New York theatre, regional theatre, musical theatre, webseries, commercials, print, and voice-over media. She trained at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and UC-Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Her teaching career began when she apprenticed as a coach in 2001, started coaching actors in New York in 2008 and launched a blog on acting technique: www.sonyacooke.com, where she writes about her ideas and exercises on acting. In addition, she has worked with many institutions as a teacher and program developer: Relativity School in Downtown LA, the Guthrie Theatre, UCI’s Summer Academy, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and Brazos Valley Players. In 2016, her article, “The Seven Pillars Acting Technique: Circumstances,” was published in The International Journal of Arts Education. Her book, Seven Pillars Acting, which is the full manifesto on her acting technique is due out Fall 2017. And she opened the LA branch, Seven Pillars Acting Studio in May of 2017, which is now located in North Hollywood. Her students are booking national tours, lead roles in films, and acting in countless other projects: from commercials and webseries to New York theatre, industrials and television. Represented by Elev8 Talent Agency and managed by Larry Hummel, Sonya stays creative by acting and directing in Los Angeles.
INSTRUCTOR Beginning Acting for Adults: Tuesday and Thursday, Improv, Sitcom, Teen Showcase
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
AND ORANGE COUNTY
Brett Duggan is a passionate practitioner and teacher of the art of acting and comedy. He brings to set and to his students over 25 years of experience, including acting in network television and television pilots, writing for, directing and performing with professional comedy troupes, working as a touring stand-up comic in clubs and colleges nationwide, and acting in every style of theatre from Shakespeare to Mamet to Musical Theatre. Mr. Duggan has taught acting, comedy, improv and stand-up comedy courses at the University of California at Davis and The Relativity School in Downtown LA. He has BFA and MFA in Acting as well as training from Second City and Bay Area Theatre Sports. He wrote, directed and performed in an original rock musical comedy called the The Untold Story of Indie Rock, a Saturday night premium show at Second City Hollywood that was extended twice. Brett has written and produced a sitcom pilot, The Fireturtles: an Indie Rockumentary, based on the live show. This Spring, Brett plays the dramatic lead in a new TV pilot. His comedy band, The Fireturtles, performs the first Saturday of every month at Open Space Theatre on Fairfax.
INSTRUCTOR: Film Technique, Teen On-Camera, Beginning Acting Sat.,
LOCATION Los Angeles CA
Philip Orazio graduated from the University of Houston with his MFA in Acting. He has been cast in over 20 film/television projects including Leverage, Combat Report, and My Crazy Ex. Currently, Philip just completed his 4th television pilot and is in the process of shooting the lead in a SAG Feature. Philip has been coaching film auditions throughout the city. He is proud to claim a 100% callback or immediate booking rate for every film coaching.
INSTRUCTOR: Beginning Acting, Mondays
LOCATION Los Angeles, CA
Michael Matthys is most well known for playing Dr. Kent on Grey's Anatomy. He has also appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Profiler, and other tv shows. His feature film credits include Full Blast (with David Carradine), Nightwatch (with Ewan McGregor and Josh Brolin), Destiny Turns on the Radio, (with Dylan McDermott), and BASEketball (with Ernest Borgnine). He is a graduate of the classical acting program at the University of Minnesota, from which he holds an MFA in Acting. He obtained his BA in Theatre Arts from Buffalo State College.
He started his professional career as a member of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis with his portrayal of Treplev in Garland Wright's acclaimed production of The Seagull (which has been archived at Lincoln Center...go watch it!). He has also appeared on the stages of the Ahmanson, Laguna Playhouse, The Hollywood Bowl, A Noise Within, Shakespeare Festival of LA, LATC, Ensemble Theatre of Santa Barbara, and the list goes on. He is the artistic director of The Ecstatic Theatre.
As a director, he gained some acclaim and notoriety with a GO! from the LA Weekly for his west coast premiere of Geoffrey Rush's adaptation of Exit the King. Other directing credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Being at Home with Claude (for the Ecstatic), and a staged reading of The Winter's Tale for Classical Theatre Lab starring Ron Canada as Leontes.
He is currently developing a short script entitled The Architect in hopes of shooting it soon, and auditioning his butt off.
INSTRUCTOR Audition Technique
LOCATION Los Angeles, CA
IMDB: Amber Friendly
Originally from the land of cold winters and warm hearts, Amber is a Chicago-land native whose work has adorned both stage and screen. As graduate of the esteemed graduate acting program at the University of California, Irvine, Amber has spent much of her time in the arts both as a collaborator and beacon of support to those around her. Her screen work ranges from thrilling legal/crime dramas (How to Get Away With Murder, Rizzoli & Isles, Scorpion) to irreverent comedies (Shameless, Parks & Recreation, Children’s Hospital) with a few surprises sprinkled along the way (The Veil with Jessica Alba, Klown Forever, the sequel to the famous Danish TV show). Though she loves the adventure a creative life provides, Amber’s feet stay firmly on the ground.
She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
INSTRUCTOR Accent and Dialect Workshops
LOCATION Los Angeles, CA
Siobhan is a Los Angeles based actor, producer, and teacher. As an actor, Siobhan recently played Marian in The Music Man with SBCC Theatregroup, and Ophelia in The Hamlet Project with Loose Canon Collective, where she is a company member. She has performed regionally in theater and musical theater with Utah Shakespeare Festival, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, PCPA Theatrefest, Utah Festival Opera, and Center Repertory Theater.
As a producer, Siobhan has worked on commercials, industrials, and web series, most recently releasing Super(fluous), a web series about a trio of superhero-roommates fighting for a place in the overcrowded superhero world.
As a teacher, Siobhan coaches accents and dialects through her company, Speaking of Accents. She has worked on American accents with students from Germany, Israel, Russia, Czechia, Argentina, Korea, and the Philippines, and has taught weekend workshops on British, Irish, German, and Russian accents with ASOOC. She has taught at UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Utah Festival Opera, and coached at PCPA. She holds an MFA from UC Irvine, and is a graduate of UC Berkeley and PCPA.
INSTRUCTOR: Beginning Acting, Wedensdays
LOCATION Los Angeles, CA
Thomas Varga is an actor, teacher, and director based in Los Angeles. He received his Master of Fine Arts in acting at the University of California, Irvine. Recently, he returned from touring with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's School Visit Program.
As an actor, he has performed in various independent films, web series, and theaters up and down the west coast, including Oregon Shakespeare Festival's SVP, New Swan Shakespeare Festival, Santa Rosa Summer Rep, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, and Counter-Balance Theater.
As an educator of young actors, he teaches courses in acting, scene study, camera technique, Shakespeare, movement, voice, and speech. His training in these fields include Seven Pillars Acting, Meisner Technique, acting for the camera, Loui Movement Technique, Stage Combat, Fitzmaurice Voicework, Knight-Thompson Speechwork, Mime, and Clowning.
Thomas is the founder of Galvanics Physical Theatre Ensemble, and co-directed its first workshop production of an adaptation of Strindberg's Miss Julie called Julie & Jean. Thomas has also written several plays that have received playwriting awards as well as full productions.
INSTRUCTOR: Commercial Acting
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
Cecily Gish is an actress with nearly a dozen local, regional, national and international commercials under her belt. Her approach is nurturing and supportive; like having your own personal, knowledgeable cheerleader!
Cecily has had a career onstage as well as in front of a camera. Her stage work has taken her all over California as well as in Virginia, New York and Washington. Previous stage credits include The Wizard of Oz at Musical Theatre West, Suds and The Andrews Brothers at Welk Resort Theatre and Honk! at Laguna Playhouse. Along with her onstage work, Cecily has found herself in the positions of director, choreographer, costume designer, sound designer, vocal coach, acting coach and producer for many groups. On the small screen, you may have seen her in one of her recent commercials for Robbin’s Brothers, Skyy Vodka and AT&T U-Verse High Speed Internet
INSTRUCTOR: Voice and Speech & Private Acting Sessions
LOCATION: Orange County, CA
Michael is a Los Angeles based actor and teacher. He has his MFA in Acting from UC Irvine where he studied Fitzmaurice Voice Work and Knight-Thompson Speech Work. His first class as a student teacher at UCI was Voice and Speech. Michael recently closed A Winter's Tale and A Midsummer Night's Dream with New Swan Shakespeare Festival and is about to film another project out of state. He also is an Acting teacher at the Orange County School of the Arts and will be teaching Movement at Saddleback College starting in January. Michael is excited to continue to be teaching Voice and Speech and looks forward to it!
INSTRUCTOR: Voice-Over Acting
LOCATION: Los Angeles
Beverly has been an actor, voice actor, singer, and songwriter all her life. She has also been teaching these skills in tandem with her performing career over the past 40 years.
One favorite aspect of Beverly’s career is voice acting, which she began as a teenager in New York, and she relishes the time she devotes to teaching the craft and business to others.
Beverly’s voice has been heard in the various media for such products as Shell, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, The US Navy, The San Diego Zoo, Oprah, Nissan, Wild Animal Park, Jazzercise, SD Zoo, Ralphs and El Pollo Loco. Her characters have appeared on Cartoon Network’s “Cow & Chicken” & video games, such as “Mech Warriors” & “The Lost Grimoires”. Her voice acting career also includes videos, infomercials, industrials, promos, audio books, websites, IVR, and awards shows. She has played everything from moms to corporate executives, mad fighter-pilots to evil queens, and kids to friendly fungus.
Beverly’s singing voice has been heard on the airways on her million-selling recording, “Don’t Say You Don’t Remember” and “We’re Free”. She has performed on Broadway in “Hair” and “The Me Nobody Knows”, as well as in other theatrical venues in such shows as “The Rocky Horror Show” and “Menopause the Musical” in Los Angeles.
Beverly has also performed in clubs and concerts all over the world, and has appeared on television in many commercials, movies, and episodic tv shows such as “Veronica Mars”, as well as on talk/variety shows including “The Tonight Show”, “The Merv Griffin Show”, “The Mike Douglas Show”, “The David Frost Show”, and “American Bandstand”.
Also an accomplished songwriter, Beverly has written 5 produced musicals and the platinum, “Mousercise” for Disney. She has recorded several CDs in recent years, “Don’t Say You Don’t Remember Beverly Bremers”, “Been There, Done That – Prime Cuts”, “Remembering the Sixties”, and “The Best of Beverly Bremers’.
LOCATION: Huntington Beach, CA
Nova Jones is an actress and administrator for ASoOC, currently making the long commute from Orange County to LA with audiobooks, music, and a selective podcast collection to keep her going. A graduate of UCI with a bachelor’s degree in drama, Nova has booked lead and supporting roles in several short films such as the SAG approved Retail Blues, Open Mic Night, Baddest of the Palisades, and award winning short film for best student director at the European Cinematography awards, Without Regret. When Nova is not acting, working at the studio or trying to reach her Goodreads book-a-thon goal of 40 books a year, she’s in the Advanced Class at ASoOC gearing up for an LA showcase with the rest of her fellow actors.
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
Megan Gainey is a Los Angeles based actor who is also the administrator of the LA branch, Seven Pillars Acting. Here at ASoOC, she works behind the scenes as the Clerical Administrator. Also a graduate of UC Irvine with a BA in Drama, she has also attended the British American Dramatic Academy and the Esper Studio, and actively takes classes at the LA studio. She works predominately in film and theater, having performed regionally with theaters such as the International City Theater in Long Beach, Theatreworks CO Springs, and CounterBalance Theater. She also has commercial experience with companies such as Walt Disney Studios and ESPN, and has done film, voiceover, and industrial work with Universal Studios, Warner Bros, and Legendary Studios.
Megan believes in the school's philosophy of "transforming with ease and authenticity" and loves getting to help and work with other actors everyday.
Actors Studio of Orange County was founded in 2007 by Ken Garcia to give actors in Orange County a professional and safe place to study their craft, without having to drive to Los Angles to do so.
Ken was a working actor for over 20 years in mediums including stage, TV and film who also directed and produced. He has been seen on numerous network TV shows and films including Area 407, Black Gold, The Grief Tourist, Project Purgatory Bejing, The Ex-List, The Shield, CSI Miami, Las Vegas, The Invisible Man, Fashion House and Huff.
His ongoing experience in the real world of film and television acting gave him a unique insight and perspective on the industry.
Ken taught both children and adults in Northern and Southern California. His personal studies included “Meisner” and “The Method” as well as numerous other techniques. Ken's take on studying acting was simple: You take what works for you from each technique and make it your own. One size does not fit all.
Ken focused his coaching towards working in front of the camera. Ken was committed to teaching actors to trust themselves and to live in the moment by allowing the actor to discover the art of listening and responding freely without judgment or second thoughts. His lessons will never be forgotten.