John Basil has directed 27 of the 37 Shakespeare plays, many of them staged at American Globe Theatre. As a founding member, and Producing Artistic Director of American Globe, he has become known for his dynamic, exciting & visceral approach to teaching, which incorporates a wide range of work including classical, contemporary, theater and film. During the company's 25 year run, John also directed on the NBC soap opera, “Another World”; completed seven seasons at Sarasota Opera; helped launch the Sedona Shakespeare Festival; and worked regionally, directing diverse and teaching works by Shakespeare, A.R. Gurney, and Neil Simon. He created AGT's innovative "Playing Shakespeare Series”, and furthered his academic engagement with numerous institutions such as Columbia University’s Teachers College, Rutgers University, NYU, Penn State, and Elon University, to name a few. John is currently a tenured professor at Marymount Manhattan College.
John began his theatre career as an actor, studying with Stella Adler, Uta Hagen, and Mira Rostova, or also referred to as “The Three Sisters”. He went on to work the Williamstown Theatre Festival with Nikos Psacharopoulos. After studying with the Royal Shakespeare Theater’s John Barton, it all changed.
Drawing on his work with actors of varied levels of classical experience, from novice to experienced, John co-authored his first book, “WILL POWER: How to Act Shakespeare in 21 Days” (Applause), which is now used at twelve universities. In 2021, John Basil will release “Building A Performance: An Actor's Guide to Rehearsal”.
CLICK HERE FOR A PREVIEW OF JOHN'S NEW ONLINE "PLAYING SHAKESPEARE SERIES"
Download FULL BIO
workshops & coaching.
"Over the last 30 years, I've had the great pleasure of not only working with John Basil as an actor but observing him as a teacher. John is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on Shakespeare, his plays, his world. He knows how to unpack his text and embody and inhabit his characters. As a teacher, John shares all of this knowledge with his students in an atmosphere that's fun, freewheeling, creative, energetic and inventive. He's devilish virtuosity on steroids! And when you are done learning from John, you not only understand how to play Shakespeare, you can't wait for the chance start doing it!"
- Barbara Tirrell, film and television actress (Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway); Jessica Jones; FBI; Bull; Vinyl, Boardwalk Empire)
"John Basil is the most gifted teacher I have ever worked with. His method takes the seemingly impossible and makes it not only understandable but wildly fun and fulfilling. As an actor, this will teach you how to take brilliant risks, and successfully make strong choices. This technique has been invaluable to me - and translates excellently to film and TV acting."
- Olivia Thirlby, film and television actress (The L Word: Generation Q; White Orchid; Dredd; Goliath; United 93; Juno)
John is available to teach workshops or give lectures at your school or over Zoom.
With over 41 years of experience in directing and teaching Shakespeare with the First Folio, John will guide actors through the clues in Shakespeare's text, analyzing the Bard's language, and thereby allowing an actor's choices to be clear and concise; creating a dynamic that is easily understood.
"Read Will Power if you want every day's rehearsal, from Day 1 to Day 21,
to hold remarkable insights and activities."
- Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress, Moonstruck
How to Act Shakespeare in 21 Days
by John Basil with Stephanie Gunning
Competition is fierce, how can an actor gain an edge? Prepared actors make bold, unique choices and impress casting directors, gaining the performance edge.
Will Power guides the seasoned, and novice actor alike, through a lively, goal-oriented 21-day rehearsal process leading up to the moment of audition or performance. Never again be confused about where to begin, and how to follow-through in development of your Shakespearean role.
In this book, the stepping-stones to character, coded into the work by Shakespeare himself, are clearly laid out, explained, and adapted to our modern rehearsal process. Now make bold, visceral choices rooted in the text, from staging to speech and actions, and incorporate this technique into your personal approach to not just classical works, but acting.
BUILDING A PERFORMANCE
An Actor's Guide to Rehearsal
by John Basil and Dennis Schebetta