History

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Railtown Actors Studio is Vancouver's premium studio for professional actor training. Located in Vancouver’s bustling and historic Chinatown, our home base has a dedicated and intimate black box theatre, a lounge and taping/coaching facilities. Our instructors have more than 100 years of combined experience in working with the industry's top talent.

Beginning in 2005 as Cucumber Satellite, Kate Twa and Ronan Reinart formed a community for tenacious young artists to develop their craft as actors, writers and creators. Iris Macgregor-Bannerman rounded out the team with an unbeatable voice regime that she continues to teach at Railtown to this day.

The work created at their Commercial Drive drew immediate attention to the quality of work and the stage presentations became so popular that the studio was bursting.

Further work at the studio culminated in the development of Kate Twa and Ronan Reinart’s first feature film Gods of Youth about two teenage boys on a crystal meth fueled binge that turns tragic. It is a compelling story about the complications of youth and is based on a series of true events.

The filmmakers and actors were adamant that the portrayal be accurate in every aspect: from the social contexts to the physical attributes (and consequences) of acute meth use and abuse. They studied the subject meticulously for over a year, held multiple interviews with a range of people that included law enforcement, paramedics and addicts, then rehearsed vigorously. This gave Kate and her actors the freedom to improvise dialogue resulting in a cinematic experience that is as magnetic as it is disturbing. The film played at several prominent festivals around the world and sold for broadcast. 

During the fall of 2009, Cucumber Satellite moved to 245 Alexander Street and in 2012, Kate Twa partnered with John Cassini to create Railtown Actors Studio.

John brings his dynamic personality and superb skill in acting and directing to Railtown’s Film Immersion as well as Scene Study and Ensemble classes.

Edward Foy joined Railtown in 2013 from Australia bringing his vast knowledge of theatre and movement training including clown, fight choreography, and Suzuki work. He has spent the past three years at Railtown developing a rigorous approach to the physical side of acting available to all students at Railtown. In addition to his movement classes Edward is also head instructor for the Young Adult Ensemble program where he mentors and coaches many of the industry’s young working actors.

Lindsay Gibson joined Dr. Iris MacGregor-Bannerman in 2014 to teach unparalleled voice techniques from the PHD’s remarkable Think, Breathe, Speak transcript.

In 2015 Railtown welcomed dynamo actor/director/instructor Anthony Shim to teach Scene Study at the studio.

Since its inception Railtown has hosted dozens of industry heavy hitters from actors to directors, agents to writers. Some highlighted guest speakers include Neil Labute, Jennifer Beals and Jon Noble. The Guest Speaker series is now hosted by the Railtown Lab.

With several classes held in film, theatre, voice, movement and writing for Adults and Young Adults, Railtown and its artist quickly earned a significant reputation for excellence in the craft of storytelling. The work is raw, visceral and intelligent, with no holds bar presentations for sold out audiences. 

Anthony Shim and Bryan Demore were appointed co-curators of Railtown Lab at the start of 2016: an initiative from the Studio to provide space and inspiration for artists to develop new content. They debuted Raul Inglis's play For the Record that spring which rocked the space with sold out performances. Recently the Lab has produced a programme entitled The Lab Untitled Series to showcase brand new work in its first or second draft. Watch for more to come from this exciting initiative.

Mandate:

The goal of Railtown Actors Studio is to promote theatre & film arts, acting, and other art forms as avenues to growth. We explore experimental formats and traditional approaches alike, and mentor our students through all phases of their work. We are a non-profit organization, dedicated to the development of world-class theatre and film arts. We believe that good art and superb acting make the world a better place. We aim to create and foster a community of artistic excellence.