Here's What Our Students Said:
"An actor must invest a great deal of trust in their teachers. The responsibility of the coach is to share knowledge and experience that is genuinely useful to their students.
I approached Mark with caution, uncertain whether I would learn anything of value for my work or future ambitions. I was wary of finding a self-proclaimed guru imparting some sort of mysticism to obfuscate their subject or baffle less knowledgeable.
I was delighted to find Mark to be a bullshit-free zone.
Mark and his team introduced me to a simple, direct and rewarding technique that has proven perfect for my way of thinking.
Their approach allows the actor to concentrate on the intentions of the writer and reveal new, fresh and exciting performances.
Mark teaches a clear, practical method for actors, free of the muddled mumbo jumbo that many actors and their teachers rely upon.
My time with Mark and Ian was inspiring, rewarding and great fun. I would recommend ACS to anyone serious about furthering their acting career."
Paul Wilson (The Real Hustle, Shade, Smokin' Aces)www.conartist.tv
"He knows when to leave an actor alone, but he's there with bells on to tell us what the fuck to do when we're drowning. He leads with common sense. In short, he's a fabulous coach and director."
Zosia Mamet (Mad Men, The United States of Tara, The Kids are Alright)
Mark Westbrook gained my interest via his blog. It's full of useful information which is practical and makes complete sense. Coming from a Meisner training background, the technique is very much based on DOING. Mark's technique is based on this also. I wanted a solid way to approach my work that is tangible and can be developed. After meeting Mark, I feel that I have gained 'the icing on the cake' as some may say. By having a solid 'TASK' to do on stage, you are never self conscious, always occupied and interesting to the audience. Mark get's you ACTING not trying to make sense of theories and motivations that have nothing to do with ME, the actor. Knowledge in understanding a script is essential, but without a way of making it personal, you can never ACT with truth. Thanks Mark!"
Robert Toretto (Page Eight, Life Outside)
"This man taught me more than i could have hoped for. Eloquent yet straight talking, he manages to open an actors eyes to the truth of the moment and keep them there. Thanks Mark"
Ross William Wild Davidson - (We Will Rock You, new Lead Singer Spandau Ballet )
"An acting studio that will give you everything you need to take with you into the industry and begin a professional acting career.
The coaches are knowledgeable, practical and supportive who will push you further then you can imagine!
Whether you’re looking for a full time qualified acting course, one to one coaching or weekly classes. ACS is the place to go.
I couldn’t recommend highly enough!" ELSA STRACHAN
"I don’t know where to begin, Acting Coach Scotland has definitely been a life changing experience. I am two weeks away from finishing a very intense full time course and I have never felt so happy in a learning environment. Acting Coach Scotland starts off at a low expectations level which automatically helps you feel more at ease. This course is perfectly designed to bring you out of your shell and improve your confidence from the day you start. Ruzuku, a major part of the course, helped me so much prepare my mind for failure, to accept it and to move on, which for me lead to a breakthrough in my first month. Feed back is constant and there is not a week where I didn’t learn and grow. For the price you pay and what you get in return for your money is unbelievable! You are not only going to have built your confidence, you will have stage combat experience, non stop acting and live performances including the fringe and to top it off you will have been taught the skills to adapt to a camera and what is required for filming. I have been learning to act with students from all around the world I have loved every minute of it and I feel I owe a lot to all the coaches at Acting Coach Scotland for never making me feel uncomfortable about asking for help, being there to answer questions when I’m struggling day or night, for preparing me the way they have and making me feel ready to leave into the real world of acting." DANNY VALENTINE - FULL TIME GRADUATE
"The acting method used at ACS, Practical Aesthetics, just makes sense. Whether you are new to acting, which I was, or a veteran this technique allows you to develop your skills in a logical and fun way, in what always feels like a safe environment. All of the coaches at ACS are fully committed to making you the best you can be, which is why I have since signed up to the 1 year full time course! " CARRIE DODDS - FULL TIME GRADUATE
"I am currently doing my stage 2 part time course at ACS and so far it has been an eye opening experience. It is unreal how much you learn in such a short space of time all due to having such a fantastic coach. One of the directors of the studio Mark Westbrook is my coach and everything I’ve learned so far is because of him and the fantastic people in my class. You can see from the number of hours, effort and true brilliance of Mark and everyone involved that they really want you to succeed in whatever you’re looking to achieve!" SAIRA THOMSON
"I've spent 10 years at some of the best theatre programs in Canada, and yet it was not until I arrived at ACS that I truly believed that acting was something I could do, something I could improve at, and something that could become my career.
At ACS you are welcomed into the most caring family of coaches who have spent their lives studying and utilizing the skills they teach. Nowhere could you find coaches who are more invested in your success, nor could you find anywhere training more personalized to your own strengths and weaknesses.
At ACS acting is a career, a profession, and a skill set. Not an invisible, intangible 'thing' you just do well or not depending on the changing wind. Practical Aesthetics gives you real concrete actions you can take towards better acting, and Mark Westbrook uses his years of studying performance psychology to teach you how to objectively evaluate your performances and keep your mind strong and prepared for whatever this industry throws at you.
If you study at ACS, you have a support system for life, and a true path forwards into this industry. "If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime." Acting Coach Scotland teaches you to fish, and I'll never regret a day or an hour I spent here. It changed my life." VICTORIA J VALLIERE
"Mark's teaching is a breath of fresh air. He displays a relaxed informality, providing a perfect platform to experience a truly inspiring acting technique"
Sally Reid Actor, Scotland (The Wall/Antigone/Sunset Song)
"Last week's session on the Practical Aesthetics technique with Mark Westbrook was excellent. It's good news for actors at all levels living in Scotland that we have Mark, he’s a talented teacher who knows his subject."
Jimmy Watson - The Actors Bothy/River City
"I've never met Mark, or taken one of his acting classes. I have, however, read all of his blogs. This guy knows what he's talking about. Many, many actors could be saved by taking a class with him. I've already emailed his website to every actor I know."
Elias Toufexis (Actor - Smallville, Supernatural, The Five People You Meet In Heaven)
"Mark is a clear communicator about what the process is and what it involves, he has a real authenticity about how he passes on his ideas. He's confident in his approach, but not at all intimidating. This way of working seems to expose a natural route to performing. It's beguiling why this isn't common practice. This just makes a lot of sense as an approach."
Molly Taylor (Actor, Writer, Theatre Maker, former Associate at the National Theatre of Scotland)
"Having been coached both privately and as part of a larger ensemble by Mark Westbrook at Acting Coach Scotland; I can safely assure you that Mark knows the score. Versatile to the abilities and needs of individuals, Mark offers expert coaching, both as part of a group as well as 'one-to-one' coaching, delivering skills and great discipline in his specialist acting techniques. Very different from any drama classes, or acting school - Mark's approach, utilising Meisner and Mamet's teachings (predominately Practical Aesthetics) teaches the actor how to walk before they can run. With Scene Studies classes, Script Analysis, Repetition and 'As-If' training - you get your moneys worth, in a true approach to REAL acting."
Philip Larkin (Actor/Storyliner - Hollyoaks)
“Mark Westbrook understands actors, he understands acting. He uses very simple techniques to help actors connect to the script, to each other and to the moment.”
Nick Field (Offshore, The First to Go, Holby City)
"I am a practical person and Mark's no frills approach to acting makes perfect sense. His classes are accessible, challenging and engaging. He offers positive constructive feedback which can be put into effect immediately. I walk away from every class buzzing and more determined to improve."
Patrick O'Brien - Native Range
"Mark's approach is simple, fun and, above all, MAKES SENSE! After only a few classes I felt I had acquired a set of dependable tools which I could apply to any acting situation. Most importantly, he showed me how to get my attention off myself and onto the other person in the scene. Reading his blog alone has helped me immensely, but I'd implore anyone who's serious about becoming a truthful actor to get along to one his classes."
“Refreshing to be treated as an actor in training and not just a money-making commodity!”
“The advice given is clear; something of a rarity. Mark's ways of approaching text, even the most complicated, is unpretentious and straightforward. You leave each session with a concrete idea of where to go next.”
Lorne Macfadyen - Angel's Share (Cannes Jury Prize)
"Mark's teaching is very supportive and gets straight to the point, developing rapid progress in all participants. I've never left acting classes with such a clear understanding of how the whole process works & the exercises have a given me a new confidence in understanding how to approach any scene."
"If you are willing to put in the hours, work hard and be open, then Mark can help make you the best actor you can be. The techniques and tips he's taught me have helped open doors I previously didn't know existed."
Before finding Mark Westbrook and Acting Coach Scotland, I had invested a great deal of time and money into actor training. While some techniques might be fun ("Shona, I want you to be 65% tree and 35% CIA agent" Yes - I was told to do that!) I couldn't shake the feeling that I was wasting my time and wasn't actually getting better or learning anything.
However with Mark's classes I feel that I am actually being trained as an actor and more importantly: I am LEARNING. On a weekly basis, we are challenged as actors in an open, hardworking and supportive environment. Everyone who takes Mark's classes will probably say that they had a EUREKA moment when everything slides into place and you wonder how you ever acted before.
At one point in my actor training, I was faced with a particularly challenging scene that required me to do something outside of my comfort zone. Mark coached my scene partner and I through this sensitive scene, helped us eliminate awkwardness and giggles, and together we overcame this obstacle to create a convincing and believable scene. Now that I have faced this particular hurdle I feel like I could deal with this happily in a professional environment.
During one of my first classes with ACS, Mark said "I don't know whether you are here for fun or you want to be a professional working Actor, I will do everything in my power to help you get where you want to be" Initially I was surprised by the confidence in his statement. However, I have learnt that instead of babysitting his students, Mark motivates and inspires us daily to create opportunities for ourselves. He teaches that with hard work, enthusiasm and practice, you can get yourself to wherever you want to be.
"Mark gives you everything you need to be the best actor you can. He doesn't mess around with any fake bullshit, his teaching allows you to be right there in the moment, and bring your most truthful performance. Being the first acting coach i have ever worked with, I feel lucky that I found Mark because of his vast knowledge and passion for acting. Also his constant support makes me feel like the acting world is for the taking"
"In Mark's classes you are taken out of your comfort zone in a supportive environment in which you can really see your skills develop. I honestly cannot imagine any other acting classes providing this kind of first class training, each class is an inspiration!"
"The ACS classes are like a breath of fresh air – such a great feeling to have finally found acting training that actually builds skills up step by step, instead of the chaotic mixture of pointless exercises that seems to make up the content of most acting classes out there. Many thanks for the blog posts and for the excellent training!"
Dr. Alexa Ispas
"There is no bullshit with Mark. If you are prepared to put the work in and take constructive criticism, Mark will help you to become a more focused, disciplined and above all, a more truthful actor."
"Mark’s classes are challenging and fun. He doesn’t let you off the hook when you need to be pushed, yet at the same time he is supportive and encouraging towards his students. His genuine love for what he does shows in the enthusiasm which he always brings to class. Studying with him has given me the courage to face my fears as an actor.
"Mark teaches the most effective technique in the nicest way possible. He knows what he’s talking about, he doesn’t mess about and he gets you ACTING. It’s acting… it’s active… it’s getting what your character wants. I came out of every class thinking the same thing: “How did I ever act before?”
"Just makes complete sense!!!"
Mark's direct and no-nonsense approach has brought clarity to my understanding of the principles of acting. It strips everything down to a small number of simple concepts which can then be used for any situation. His small classes are friendly, supportive and challenging, and he aims to get the best out of everyone. Mark is passionate about what he does, and it shows. I have learnt a lot in the few months I have studied with Mark, and have every confidence this progress will continue."
"I didn't know what to expect from Mark's acting classes in Glasgow. My eyes have been completely opened to the world of acting and I have evolved my skills and confidence through Mark's teaching and passion for acting. His knowledge and commitment to me as a student is very inspiring and also rewarding."
"Mark’s classes are relaxed and very enjoyable. The small number of people in each class ensures everyone gets personal attention and Mark’s patience and obvious passion for the technique make each class an exciting and inspirational experience. I am feeling more inspired and excited about my craft than I have in a long time."
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the 1 to 1 on Tuesday, and thanks again for your clear and helpful notes. You've a real talent."
Mark Coleman - Actor, Director, Teacher and Acting Coach.
Despite going through an acting course and working professionally for five years, I often felt unprepared to approach a new role. There are so many conflicting approaches to acting that it can be hard to find something that works for you. Practical Aesthetics is a clear and logical method, and I have really felt its effects in class, making scenes much more immediate and real. I'm really enjoying my training with Mark at ACS, especially the career opportunities and masterclasses, and feel that it will benefit me enormously in my working life.
"Thanks to Acting Coach Scotland I now know exactly what im supposed to be doing. It's hard work getting good at acting, but the skills ACS teach are tangible and achievable. Mark is an outstanding acting coach, I am constantly amazed at how well he articulates his thoughts. His comments are always very specific and as a result his feedback is incredibly useful. I feel blessed that ACS is based in Glasgow, i would be lost without them!"
"I joined ACS in order to try and improve my confidence in speaking in front of people. On my first class in Step one I was a gibbering wreck and prayed I would get through the 2 hours and then escape never to be seen or heard from again. I'm now approaching the end of step 3 (some 27 odd lessons later). I've made more friends than I've ever had, had more fun than I've had in years and even look forward to my Wednesdays every week now.
I still sometimes feel apprehensive in the class but thanks to Mark, I now feel that I'm in safe environment where I'm not judged (in a non constructive way). Mark provides useful and fun exercises and plenty of constructive criticism as we go along. He has an almost scary insight into the different personalities in the class and adapts his teaching to get the best out of everyone. In fact I'm always recommending all my friends to join ACS these days."
"As a complete novice, I was both excited and nervous to find myself learning with professional actors. Now I realise that not only does practical aesthetics give you the fundamental tools to be a great actor, but the classes are delivered with such professionalism and passion that it’s hard not to enjoy and embrace the programme, and to learn – whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional. I have even managed to use many of the principles in my day-to-day business career which is a real bonus!"
Mark as a person is invaluable and one of a kind. As a teacher he is an inspiration for every actor he teaches. He makes you re-discover your capabilities and restores yours self confidence. He believes in every single person who enters the class. His constructive criticism and valuable feedback makes you want to work even more and harder because you know you can do it. Each class is a challenge and self-examination but Mark leaves you feeling satisfied and fulfilled and that is worth every penny. Patrycja Bresler.
"It's a pleasure to be in your class, it's hard to find people who are so dedicated to their craft and serious about teaching. Its a great environment! SuiLoon Leung
"As a relative late starter to acting I don't have time for waffle and from my first lesson I knew Mark Westbrook doesn't deal in waffle. Mark's approach is to filter out all the non-practical, "if you don't do it this way you're not a real actor" padding from most acting courses and deliver what are the essential truths of acting. He provides invaluable tools, allowing actor to develop in a structured and progressive way while at the same time providing an engaging, relaxed and fun environment for the student to learn. The technique is 'Practical Aesthetics' with the emphasis very much on the practical. And if you think this means it's easy, forget it. If you're not cutting it, you don't progress to the next level. Not only have I progressed as an actor I've discovered a self belief and confidence that I'd lost and feel very much part of the ACS family. Bring on the auditions!!"
"I can highly recommend the 1-1 coaching sessions with Mark . It took a bit of courage for me to contact mark to see if he could help me.
I have been doing recitation for the past 3 years at Burns Suppers.. I am a happy amateur who wanted to improve on previous years.
A short e-mail to mark set me up for a couple of 1-1 sessions. Highly enjoyable and worth every penny . Sound direct advice , no false praise.
I look at it totally different now and have taken on board the changes and corrections of several errors. For the first time I am looking forward to the
Burns season with excitement and a new confidence.
Gie me a spark o Natures fire
Thats a the learning I desire (R. Burns)"
Colin Ferguson - Burns Performer.
The more classes I have with Mark the more I want him to do a full time course in Practical Aesthetics. There's so much to learn and he's heard every question you have to ask; and has really good responses for you to mull over. The feedback I receive is always constructive and practical, it's designed to help you improve, and invariably does. You see it in class each week, he knows where people's problems are and identifies them immediately, often with the tiniest note or comment, and then you're back on track. You can see the types of actors he produces when the more experienced students drop into class and participate; their level is markedly above our own yet you know they started at the same point as you; and you know that with focused effort and Mark's guidance you can get there too. Seeing how good the higher level students are is proof by itself of Mark's ability to develop the necessary skills for good performance; he brings out what you have as an actor and helps you shape your performance skills into something reliable and employable; a focal point which is often missed in other classes. At the end of the day acting is a job and you have to meet the requirements of your casting in order to keep being employed, and Mark understands and often reiterates this important part of the industry to his students. The emphasis is on being an actor with solid technique so that you can deliver an accomplished performance every time - on being able to establish a career as a professional actor through being a good actor.
It really is the best class and tuition I've ever had, and completely re-shapes how you think about acting. You'll never watch performances of any kind in the same way again, nor will you be able to continue in your old way of acting; as soon as you start classes you realise where you went wrong. This way is just so much better. The popularity of his classes and successes of his past students speak for themselves. If you want to learn how to act Mark is my No. 1 recommendation; if your fortunate enough to be feasibly close to his classes (and many people travel a LONG way each week to see Mark). And be ready for a challenge, because no-one, least of all Mark, says it will be easy."
After spending the past few years doing music I wanted to get back into acting and found Mark’s classes just what I needed to motivate me enough to do so. Mark has excellent acting techniques that are straightforward and achieve the desired results. He’s also the type of teacher you can count on, to give back good advice and help if you have any questions or are having any difficulties with a particular piece. I left the classes feeling enthusiastic and excited and would definitely recommend them to anyone”
Nicola Clark (Actor - Glasgow)
"At Acting Coach Scotland, I finally stopped pretending and started really acting"
"Mark, your voucher was the best Christmas present I've ever given. Alfie has just been offered places at TWO drama schools. Thanks so much, my hunch paid off, you were the man for the job!"
"I have learned more in a few months with Mark than I have learned in years of other acting classes. It’s simple, it just makes sense, it’s one of those rare occasions in life when something just clicks and you think “this is how it’s done”. Mark has a genuine passion for acting, and with small and personal classes you can’t help but feel inspired after every class. I only wish I had discovered Mark’s classes years ago."
"Having just finished the step 1 class with Mark, i am delighted to say that working with him for the past 8 weeks has been highly fuflilling. He is extremely professional with a vast knowledge in Practical Aesthetics. Mark has pushed me outwith my boundaries and for the first time i feel like i am acting! Now with the basics of step 1 in hand, I am excited to say it has led me to take on step 2. Bring on the Repetition!!"
"In the few sessions that I have had with Mark I have been introduced to so much. His advice and guidance is top class and the way he explains the theory behind the practice is clear and interesting. Each session I have I come away wanting to go straight into the next one."
"Ive learnt more with you in a few weeks than at college for 4 days a week for 6 months"
"After classes with Mark I've got a basic proficiency in Practical Aesthetics, a technique I wish I'd learnt years ago. Classes are challenging, invigorating and highly practical for any actor."
"When people ask me about the training I'm involved with, I tell them that I belong to this little revolutionary school filled with rebels that is going to change the stuffy world of lies, bullshit and flowery pretending forever. Mark has the ability to break a performance into clear parts and distinguish the lies and fear from the truth and bravery."
Jacalyn McCrae Moffat
"I have now taken two of Mark's courses, the Practical Aesthetics class and also the Audition Preparation class, both of which have enabled me to focus and build upon my acting skills. Mark's teaching style is laid back but straight to the point which means students learn to perform truthfully in the moment. The classes are really enjoyable and Mark's techniques open your eyes to what acting is all about. Thank you Mark"
Lauren Logan - final year student at Arts Ed.
"Thanks for the advice. It really helped me capture aspects of the scene that I'd been missing: in understanding the character's motivations, the way that Mamet framed the scene & monologue, and in my line delivery. I did the scene on Tuesday in class and it went very well."
"Mark challenges me to simplify my thinking when I'm finding a scene difficult. He has taught me that going after something simple and tangible in a scene is much more attainable - and it shows! Even if you have a lot of experience Mark can help rid you of bad habits and challenge you to achieve better results."
"I have finally found what I have been looking for. I believe your website will help me more than any local teacher could. Thank you for doing this and PLEASE keep doing what you're doing!"
"Mark Westbrook is an excellent, friendly tutor and teaches Practical Aesthetics in an easy to understand and exciting way"
"I cannot thank you enough"
"What Mark teaches is powerful. This is a fun practical class that will challenge you to be truthful and really act!"
Neil Buchanan - Professional Sports Psychologist
"The week long intensive with Mark was an excellent experience. His approach to the craft I found to be concise and extremely practical. The exercises and training are geared towards creating a repeatable process which allows a real connection between your fellow actors and the text whilst being alive to the scene on a moment to moment basis. The work I saw in a short week was captivating and exciting and his respect for the artist and the process was inspiring. I cannot recommend it highly enough."
“Mark gauges you as an individual. He won’t go easy on you but knows how to encourage you to do your best. I know that when I need a kick up the a*s (as most actors do) his boots at the ready but it’s simply to make sure I’m giving the best effort I can and not being lazy or feeling sorry for myself. If I feel myself slipping in an audition or scene, I know I can be confident that what I have learned at ACS allows me to land on my feet."