Acting Workshop Producers and Directors

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This course is for experienced practitioners who want to deepen their ability to communicate with actors as well as emerging or first time makers who need to find an approach to working with actors. It is a two day practical workshop for all content creators with actress and dramaturge Nadia Townsend on the language and process of acting. Nadia’s recent projects using this technique include Secret Daughter, Brock, Ready For This, Soulmates and Mad Max Fury Road.

What You Will Learn

Over the last 17 years of working as an actress, dramaturge, theatre director and more recently a filmmaker, Nadia has developed a unique process of distilling the art of acting from a mysterious, ungraspable craft to something very practical, discussable and approachable. Working with small ten line scenes the students will investigate simple concepts of acting and be led through a process that will give them a first-hand experience of what it is to act. Developing a greater ability to communicate with actors and get the results you want, without interfering in the actor’s personal process.

In the same way that a director will have a disjointed and frustrated dialogue with their crew if their understanding of the processes of filming or their cinematic language is limited, so too can filmmakers experience this with their actors.

The outside (filmmaker) experience of a scene and the inside (actor) experience of a scene is often very different this course is designed to help the film maker bridge that gap. Understanding what the actor may need in any given moment and using effective language to communicate your ideas can make or break your scene.

This course will give any producer, writer or director the tools to better identify the actors process and the language in which to engage in it.

What is ‘being in character’?, and the art of pursuing an objective
Moment to moment work, an introduction to behavioural repetition in the tradition of Meisner and David Mamet
Script analysis, overall objectives, scene objectives, action and ‘as ifs Identifying an
objective - giving your actor a clear do-able direction.
Tools to assist the embodyment of the scene.
Identifying your rehearsal process - what do you currently do and how can use the time you have with your actors more effectively

Scene Work -- The afternoon will be spent working on short scenes putting in to practice the mornings work. Script analysis, personalising the text, putting your attention on the other person, being present in ‘the moment’ and the importance of breathing.

Behavioural and Active Repetition - the art of subtext
Moment to moment work - finding the scene/relationships in the physical
Emotion - what is it?, where does it come from?, how can we locate it and respectfully use it to serve a scene?

Scene Work - the afternoon will be spent working on the remaining scenes and further identifying a process that resonates with the maker.


About the tutor:Nadia Townsend

Nadia Townsend has worked in the Australian film, television and theatre industry for the last 17 years; as an actress, producer, director and more recently a film and television dramaturg.

Nadia’s introduction to television was on Ben Gannon’s Headstart where she met legendary Dramaturg Nico Lathouris. Under Nico’s tutelage she discovered a passion for the language and process of acting that has become her life’s work. Nadia and Nico most recently worked as a dramaturgy team on Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
Nadia’s work as a film and TV dramaturg includes; READY FOR THIS (ABC TV Blackfella Films and Werner Film Productions - awarded Best Children’s Drama 2016 AACTA), BROCK (Network 10 Shine Endemole), SOULMATES (ABC TV - Van Vuuren Brothers), WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAAM (ABC), GHOST BULL (a short film Dir: Eddy Bell winner of ADG Best Short, FLICKERFEST Best Short, MIFF Best Short, St Kilda and Sydney Film Festival), and I’M BANKSY (short film Dir: Eddy Bell). Nadia is currently Dramaturg on Network 7’s upcoming drama, SECRET DAUGHTER.

Completing a postgraduate in theatre directing at VCA Nadia went on to co-found a performance laboratory Turtle Lab.

Best known for her role in the Channel 7 police drama City Homicide, as Detective Senior Constable Allie Kingston. She also starred in Fireflies, for the ABC working under the widely respected executive producer John Edwards. Nadia's first big feature film break came when she worked alongside Nicolas Cage in Knowing (2009). Nadia’s other credits include, Rush, Love Child, Home and Away and has recently completed the independent feature Restoration.

Student feedback:

‘Even though I am a writer and not a director, I found it absolutely valuable and useful for understanding the dynamics of a scene and the acting process. I definitely learnt and experienced a lot and found Nadia to be supportive and knowledgeable.’

‘I learned more in two days than in three years I studied performance. It was sharp, intuitive, insightful, practical & revolutionary in regards to my directing approach.’

‘Nadia was fantastic! Such an excellent balance of theoretical and practical exercises. I would definitely recommend this course to every practicing or aspiring filmmaker. Loved every minute!'

Have any questions? Please get in touch: or 1300 065 281

***DISCLAIMER*** AFTRS reserves the right to cancel any course for any reason at any time. In the event of a course being cancelled a full refund of course fees will be provided. If a participant wishes to withdraw from a course, they may do so up to 15 days before the course commences and get a full refund. Cancellations 14 days or less before course commencement will incur a fee. For more information on AFTRS Open's policies, including refund policies, please see our policies page​


The Australian Film Television Radio and School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.