Interview with Dan
Dan's approach to teaching is one of unwavering compassion and commitment to the students he is working with. As Sanford Meisner said, "That which hinders your task, is your task", and this is the approach he takes towards the natural psychological barriers that prevent actors from reaching their true potential, instead of shaming someone for not understanding immediately. His perspective on acting and technique is all viewed through a Mindful Filter ™. Through viewing all other acting disciplines through this filter of Mindfulness, one can begin to truly understand what works and WHY it works for your individual mind, thereby enabling one to discard the things that are superfluous while investing further in the practical skills that lead to liberation through performance.
He regularly coaches people on not just how to get the most out of their acting, but also how to get the most out of their lives, through their relationship to acting. He believes that the only way to lead a fully present and fulfilling life in acting is to develop a sustainable approach which takes your whole life and happiness into account, not just your external markers of career "success".
Daniel's inspiration to begin passing on the ideas and techniques he had been writing about for years came when he delved into the wide world of 'Mindfulness' and the vocabulary through which he was able to truly communicate and articulate his perspective on acting and theatre was born.
Daniel has been heading Manchester's most intensive and immersive scene study class since it's inception in 2016 and he now runs the only Practical Aesthetics workshops in the North of England.
As a director, Dan tries to only focus on texts which offer some sense of meaning or importance to the world through their message or themes. His particular preference is for plays that are rarely performed outside of their native countries and are often overlooked but have the capacity to wake people up to some true nature of reality, 'to hold the mirror up to nature'.
He has a particular penchant for plays that capture the audiences attention, through tension, and don't let go until the last breath. He believes theatre can be a kind of religious experience where the audience and actors form a communion and can transcend the subject object dichotomy we often fall into when looking to entertainment to serve us in escaping reality instead of embracing it.
Dan's most recent credits as a director include Things We Want at the Hope Mill Theatre, North of Providence at 53Two, This is it at the King’s Arms, Sans Merci at Hope Mill Theatre, Cracked Rainbow by Charlene James as part of Royal Exchange Theatre’s Come Closer festival and Swaggering Crow Theatre’s A Kidnapping. Dan has been Artistic director of Play With Fire Productions since it's inception in 2016.
As an actor Dan has lived and performed in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at the University of Southern Queensland. Throughout and following his training at drama school, Daniel fell in love with the acting technique known as Practical Aesethetics ( under the guidance of Andrea Moor) for it's simple, non-shame based and common sense approach to acting. He then moved to Canada to further his training and career, where he trained and honed his skills under Vancouver and Cananda's preeminent acting teacher Ben Ratner.
His move to the UK spawned from his love of theatre and desire to contribute to and be part of the burgeoning Manchester Theatre scene by starting Play With Fire Productions with his best friend and business partner Hannah Ellis Ryan. His first love lies in the theatre where he dedicates the bulk of his time and energy, however his love of the mediums of TV and Film are in a close second. As an actor he spent much of his time attempting to understand how and why certain approaches worked for him and others didn't, eventually leading him to teaching and directing to help guide others through the mire of modern acting training. His most recent acting credits include Michael in Herding Cat's, directed by Lawrence Evans, Phillip in Play With Fire’s debut production Orphans by Lyle Kessler and David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago by 1956 Theatre. Daniel will also be making his Oldham Coliseum stage premiere as Tristan in Lucy Prebble's 'The Effect' in September 2018.