The Craft of Directing Actors for Stage and Screen

Online Course

This online course is designed for working directors who want to understand the actor’s process and how to tap into each actor’s strengths and abilities.

It is often misunderstood that actors simply ‘do their job’ with minimal interaction with the director. But it is the quality of that interaction which creates the quality of the final product. Understanding what an actor needs from their director can be the game-changing piece of the creative puzzle.

This course, led by Dean Carey, ACA Founder and Director, along with 4 key industry leaders, will plot the journey every director working with actors needs to know.

In this course you will learn top exercises and processes for bringing out the best from actors onstage and onset.

  • How to connect actor to actor
  • How to connect actor to script
  • How to guide and steer an actor to fully inhabit character
  • How to release the power of the piece through crafted action and interaction.

This course will deliver the missing piece from most directing courses. You’ll hear from the best acting teachers and gain the insights, confidence, and skills to take your ability in working with actors to an entirely new level.

*This is a non-accredited course.

Tickets & Registration
Applications are now closed
Oct 12 - Nov 30, 2021
Tuesdays 7.30-9.30pm AEST
Online via Zoom
$850 pp

This Masterclass with ACA and industry leaders will run weekly two hour sessions over eight weeks.

Cost of total Course: $850.00 per person
Tickets and registration: click the APPLY NOW button at the top right of this page.

Course Structure: Commencing October 12 – November 30, 2021.

The course classes will be hosted and taught by Dean Carey, specially designed with guest directors and industry leaders Scott Hicks, Gale Edwards, Jennifer West and Adam Cook.

*Each class is scheduled at 7.30-9.30pm AEST on Tuesday evenings LIVE via ZOOM.

Course outline, links and resources for classes will be forwarded upon confirmation of enrolment and sent two weeks prior to class commencement.


Dean Carey has been teaching acting for over 40 years. He is the founder of Actors Centre Australia and has been Head of Acting at both NIDA and WAAPA, Dean has directed extensively across the industry. Dean has worked as an on set acting coach giving expert tips and advise within the rigours of film and television for actors and directors.

Dean has an industry leading reputation in being able to direct actors to reach their fullest potential on set and on stage. Dean’s first book, The Actors Audition Manual published in 1985, is still the actor’s bible across the world. Dean’s new book, The Art of Teaching Acting, will be published worldwide in November of this year. He will be leading this acting course and will be present in each class with the guest directors.


Guest Directors


Scott Hicks is a world renown Australian film director and screenwriter. He is best known as the screenwriter and director of Shine, the biopic of pianist David Helfgott. For this, Hicks was nominated for two Academy Awards. Other movies he has directed include the film adaptations of Stephen King’s Hearts in Atlantis and Nicholas Sparks’ The Lucky One. Hicks is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.


Gale Edwards is one of Australia’s leading and most acclaimed international theatre directors. Her career spans forty years. She has worked all over the world, been Associate Director of two Australian State Theatre Companies (South Australia and Melbourne), worked on international musicals for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh and held the position of Acting Lecturer at NIDA in Sydney. She is the first, and only, Australian to direct on the main-stage at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-on-Avon, UK, and the first Australian director to open a musical on both the West End and Broadway.


Jennifer West is one of Australia’s most recognised and applauded Voice Teachers. She has worked with all major theatre companies in Australia as an actor, and toured round Australia with several commercial productions starring imported British actors and directing for smaller companies. Jennifer also has considerable experience in TV and Film, and working as a Voice coach on productions and privately. Jennifer is the Head of Voice at Actors Centre Australia.


Adam Cook is the Head of Acting at Actors Centre Australia. He has directed over120 productions across Australia, London, Canada and the United States. He was Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia for the years 2005-2012, the longest tenure in the company’s 40-year history. Adams depth of experience with Australian and International actors give s a unique perspective of the varying types of actors and tools a director uses to achieve results

Course Duration: Tuesday 12 October
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

Empathy, engagement, and alignment. Distinguishing the onstage and onset culture required for bold work and how to find the leverage that encourages true creative exploration. ‘Being of service’ to actor, character, script, playwright, and story. What does this entail and how do you know you’re achieving it? What are the essential questions every director needs to know and ask?

Course Duration: Tuesday 19 October
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

What are the TOP 10 elements a director is seeking to reveal and release from the actor? Why are they important and what do they mean for an audience? How can each element transform a scene and create great acting and great storytelling?

Course Duration: Tuesday 26 October
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

Script breakdown and how a director and actor chunk down a scene into beats in order to find the perfect action, drive and meaning?

Using ACA’s ACE system (ACTION – CRISIS – EVENT) every participant will see the scaffolding supporting every scene. They will also see how by acknowledging it and then focusing on it, drama leaps off the screen and the function of the playwright is honored.

Meet this week’s Industry Guest: Emmy Award winning director, Gale Edwards.

Course Duration: Tuesday 2 November
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

An actor’s emotions and ideas live inside language and are released using language. Learn the keys to unlocking dialogue for the actor which then rockets ideas and emotions into action.

A good director can help an actor unlock their character by unlocking the language. Learn the keys which drive dialogue and its structure so scenes can find their power and pace.

Meet this week’s industry Guest: Seasoned actress and master voice and dialogue coach, Jennifer West.

Course Duration: Tuesday 9 November
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

Work with two of ACA’s graduates as we engage with a selection of the director’s most useful rehearsal tools. Learn how to employ these simple yet effective tools which, once learnt, will become a director’s second nature when directing.

Meet this week’s industry Guest: Former Artistic Director for the State Theatre Company of SA, and Head of Acting of ACA’s Degree Program, Adam Cook. In this unique class, you will have the opportunity to see Adam Cook working with actors at ACA.

Course Duration: Tuesday 16 November
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

How to super-charge a scene and take the action to compelling heights. See actors under pressure and asked to deliver on command. Adam Cook will also feature as this week’s guest.

Course Duration: Tuesday 23 November
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

Governing conditions affect every world in which characters live. Understanding what these conditions are and what rules they create, allows a director to mine and exploit these conditions to heighten and accentuate theme and meaning which then allows actors to move to new levels of truth and detail.

Meet this week’s industry guest, Scott Hicks.

Course Duration: Tuesday 30 November
Time: 7.30-9.30pm AEST

Consolidating the tools and techniques learnt to date and applying them with guest actors.

WRAP UP and Q and A will conclude the course.

Contact Info

Forum Performance Precinct,
Ground Level, Italian Forum,
30A/23 Norton street,
Leichhardt, NSW, 2040

+61 2 9310 4077

PO Box 361, Leichhardt NSW 2040

RTO Code: 45065

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*COVID19* The health and safety of everyone at our premises is our priority and we have been closely monitoring the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). In line with the latest advice from the Australian Federal and State Governments on the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, we have placed strict hygiene and safety measures for all staff, students and visitors. This includes registration of attendees, temperature checks and daily comprehensive on-site cleaning. Staff are ensuring ACA fully complies with the COVID safe measures and rules ACA have in place as an educational and artistic institution.