Jackson Gay
New York, NY
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Jackson Gay

Jackson G.

New York, NY
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This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I'm a freelance theater director currently working in NYC and throughout the country. I'm an acting coach, teach directing for the stage and dramaturgy/text analysis for actors, directors, and designers. I have over 15 years of teaching experience at such institutions as Williams, Yale, New School, Columbia, Fordham, and Primary Stages ESPA.

I will focus my classes on auditioning, callbacks, cold reading audition skills, grad school auditions, and text analysis and dramaturgy. I'm also available to coach and consult with aspiring theater directors and public speaking clients. I would be happy to customize my classes to each student's individual needs and goals.

I received my MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama and my BFA in Acting from the University of the Arts.

About Jackson G.

As an established theater director and teacher, I am very fortunate to be working continuously in New York and across the country from New York to California and in between. Actors are a part of my daily life as I audition and collaborate with them for a living. I often have new directors as assistants on productions. I teach private clients in many different areas such as general auditions, cold readings, graduate school auditions, directing skills and techniques and also assist with professional tips and guidance in their careers as actors or directors. I have several actor collaborators who have also made the move to writing, teaching and directing. I understand what producers, directors, and writers are looking for in actors and new directors and will do my best to get you to a great place in your work.

MFA Directing Yale School of Drama and BFA Acting University of the Arts


Write a Review
7 Reviews
Leah Nicole Raymond
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Jackson is a great director/coach. When you are working you can trust that Jackson is fully listening to you as you the actor and you the character. She knows how to push in a way that works for you and will get you where you need to be. I trust Jackson and highly recommend working with her.

Posted Jan 15, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I had the privilege of studying stage directing with Jackson Gay at Yale. Jackson has a remarkable way of bringing out students' individual artistic and creative sensibilities. In scene workshops, she gives highly practical advice for working with actors to shape an overall dramatic vision. She also reinforces this instruction by relating her own professional experiences, highlighting what has been effective. Her guidance in script analysis is very clear, and showed me how to fully understand characters' dramatic objectives before going into rehearsals with actors.

As well, Jackson incorporated invaluable practical career advice into the class, which is often hard to find. One of her exercises for this was to pair us with another student and have a mock "writer-director" meeting, where the writer was considering hiring the director. This was a really helpful window into the professional process, which has given me an important springboard to communicate my own ideas in the production of new work.

Jackson Gay’s teaching applies across theater disciplines — for instance, my work in theater is primarily as a composer and lyricist. She showed me how to look at the big picture of a play or musical, giving me the insight to write in a way that is dramatically cogent, engaging, and entertaining.

Posted Jan 13, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Jackson Gay is masterful at guiding the actor to find their own authentic voice. She has a laser sharp focus imbued with empathy, that simultaneously put me at ease and helped me find my edge, in a way no other director has. More than anything, she helped empower me to make my own bold choices within a vast array of styles, so that my work was informed from a deep and genuine place (rather than an impersonation or a desire to please). I always feel safe to explore my edge with Jackson, but never humored if something isn't working. She's honest. It's rare to find guidance both so kind and so sharp. Jackson Gay understands and loves actors, and that love comes through in her work.

Posted Jan 13, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Jackson is both a very practical and a wonderfully nurturing teacher, because she combines a clearheaded straightforwardness when approaching material with a real kindness and an ability to empower people to do their best work. She works in a way that is very un-precious, and feels designed to bring you closer to your own perspective and ideas, rather than to impose her own in any way. As a student of directing, a great lesson that I took from Jackson is the belief that empowering people to connect with their artistry and making them feel valued is its own fine art and is a huge part of the craft of directing, and this is something that Jackson herself really embodies as a teacher and as an artist.

Posted Jan 8, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Jackson is a really great teacher. I took an acting class focusing on a modern American playwright with her, and she challenged me and my classmates to grow by honing in on what we needed to strengthen in ourselves as actors to play the scene and nail the role. Jackson emphasized listening to one another and on keeping the fun in it. I left with a better sense of myself as an actor and with a new confidence I could bring into parts I was working on and into my auditions. Jackson is an awesome acting teacher and coach. Highly recommend!

Posted Jan 8, 2020

Jackson's scene study class at ESPA was the first acting class I took after moving to NYC. I couldn't have landed in a more supportive, challenging, and just plain fun classroom. Jackson pushes you to look deeper into the text and yourself to find your way to your best performance. In her class, you are safe to take risks and fail but are never allowed to get away with "good enough." In our class, we had a variety of skill and experience levels and Jackson was able to communicate with and guide each actor in an effective, respectful, and inspiring way. Jackson meets you where you are and always brings you back to the text and the emotional truth of the scene. I would happily take a class with Jackson again.

Posted Jan 8, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Jackson has the rare ability to give specific, intelligent feedback while providing the actor with a safe space. She has an incredible knowledge of new plays and resourceful insights into finding great monologues. Doing scene work in her class was always a positive, curiosity-driven investigation of the material, and made me fall in love with acting and the theater all over again.

Posted Jan 7, 2020


Theater Director and Instructor
Jun 2002 - Present

Directing and Teaching

Jackson’s directing work includes: Wendy MacLeod’s Slow Food (Dorset Theatre); Power of Sail by Paul Grellong (Warehouse Theatre); Chekhov’s The Seagull (Juilliard); Kleptocracy by Kenneth Lin (Arena Stage); Woman In Mind by Alan Ayckbourn and August: Osage County (REP); Transfers by Lucy Thurber (New York Stage & Film and MCC, off-Broadway Alliance Best New Play Award); Christina Anderson’s the ripple, the wave that carried me home (Ground Floor Berkeley Rep); Lover Beloved by Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik (Alley Theatre); Mat Smart’s Kill Local (La Jolla Playhouse); Chekhov’s Three Sisters (Studio Theatre / New Neighborhood); Shakespeare’s Much Ado adapted with Ken Lin (Cal Shakes); These Paper Bullets! by Rolin Jones with music by Billie Joe Armstrong (New Neighborhood, Atlantic, Geffen, Yale Rep - Critics Pick Time Out NY, Best Production and Adaptation LA Sage Awards, Time Out Los Angeles, Connecticut Critics Circle Award Best Production and Best Director); 3C by David Adjmi and Thurber’s Where We’re Born (Rattlestick); Elevada by Sheila Callaghan (Yale Rep); Thurber’s The Insurgents (Labyrinth Theatre Company); Thurber’s Scarcity and Jones’ The Jammer (Atlantic); A Little Journey by Rachel Crothers (Mint - Drama Desk nomination Outstanding Revival of a Play); Jones’ The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Atlantic and Yale Rep, Connecticut Critics Circle Award Outstanding Production of a Play). Jackson’s upcoming projects include: Lucy Thurber’s Transfers with Audible; the new musical Sabina by Willy Holtzman, Louise Beach and Darrah Cloud (Portland Stage); Yale School of Drama Second Year Project (Yale University); Partnership by Elizabeth Baker (Mint Theater Company). Teaching: Williams, Yale, New School, Columbia, Fordham, Primary Stages ESPA. MFA Directing Yale School of Drama, Yale University. BFA Acting University of the Arts.


MFA Directing
Sep 1999 - Jun 2002

Yale School of Drama, Yale University

BFA Acting
Sep 1995 - Jun 1999

University of the Arts



Fluent / Native Proficiency


Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
Jan 2004
SDC is the theatrical union that unites, empowers, and protects professional Stage Directors and Choreographers throughout the United States. Our mission is to foster a national community of professional stage Directors and Choreographers by protecting the rights, health and livelihoods of all our Members; to facilitate the exchange of ideas, information and opportunities, while educating the current and future generations about the role of Directors and Choreographers and providing effective administration, negotiations and contractual support.

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