James Wagner

James W.

Los Angeles, CA
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Lesson Details

Shakespearean Acting

Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
My MFA is from a top 3 actor training program. I have been coaching actors for over a decade. I live in Los Angeles and work professionally as an actor in theatre, film, and television. I have such a wide variety of techniques at my disposal that I bring whatever technique seems to be best suited to the you and the material you are working on. I have taught at The American Conservatory Theatre, The Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre, The Theatre of Arts, Naropa University, and privately.
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James teaches



James passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
James delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 18+

Teaching since:
January 2001

I have been teaching and coaching for over a decade.

I live in Los Angeles and work professionally as an actor in theatre, film, and television.

I have an MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre. With my PhD research at the California Institute of Integral Studies (funded by The Esalen Institute) I explored a distinct teaching approach that focuses on cultivating the extraordinary capacities of great actors.

I have taught at The American Conservatory Theatre, The Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre, The Theatre of Arts, Naropa University, and privately.

I love the creative process of teaching, and I teach primarily through caring relationship to my students.

We can meet online or in person. I have a huge library of resources to support you with. I also will often record our lessons so you can listen or watch them multiple times as a way to get maximum value from the work we do.

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Acting Instructor
Sep 2008 - Present
Berkeley Repertory Theatre

I have taught acting, audition technique, business skills for actors, and movement at Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre for almost 10 years.

Acting Instructor
May 2005 - Present
American Conservatory Theatre: MFA and Young Conservatory

I have taught movement, improvisation, acting technique, and business skills for actors at ACT's MFA program and Young Conservatory.


PhD - Transformational Actor Training
Sep 2008 - May 2013
California Institute of Integral Studies
MFA Acting
Sep 2005 - Jun 2008
American Conservatory Theatre


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Limited Proficiency
Limited Proficiency


Apr 2011

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York, and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond.

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Actors' Equity Association
Dec 2007

Actors' Equity Association, founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 49,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society.

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Photos & Videos

Photo by James W.

Photo by James W.

Photo by James W.

Photo by James W.

As Dennis in "Mauritius" - The Magic Theatre. San Francisco.

As Jim O'Conner in "The Glass Menagerie"


6 Reviews

Write a Review
Jeffrey May 30, 2017
Acting · In studio

James Wagner is actually the best teacher of creative work I've ever had in any field, and as a writer/ filmmaker/ musician dude, I have had a lot! His teaching is rigorous, passionate, and results-driven, while remaining flexible and sensitive at the same time. His knowledge of acting and theatre theory is endless. He is always trying to expand the possibilities in his classes, bringing in guest speakers, and facilitating unexpected exercises. He is also an inspiring, warm hearted person. Kate and I started a theatre company with actors we all met in his classes, so that should tell you something. I honestly would not be the same person had I not encountered his generous vision of acting and theatre. You cannot go wrong by having him as a coach or teacher.

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Deborah May 26, 2017
Theater Acting · In studio

I met James when I took his class at Berkeley Rep (Eugene O'neill scene studies). I immediately knew he was the kind of Acting coach I'd want to train me, the level of professionalism and high standards is invaluable. During a short trip to LA, I met with James for a 3 hours coaching in which we created a 3 year plan to go from Student actor to working actor this was followed up with some online (Skype) sessions. Next I took another scene study with James at Berkeley Rep in which we workshopped Contemporary plays, James in a kind, professional way was able to push me to the level he knew and expected his students to be. And recently I took an Actor's retreat end of last year, again I left the retreat so inspired and motivated. I can tell you now that I have been in a few Theatre productions, I have and continue to meet the goals we set out for me sooner than what we had mapped out. I couldn't have done it without James vast knowledge of acting and motivation. I highly recommend you study with James!

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Gino May 20, 2017
Stage Performance · In studio

I've studied with James in both a workshop context, and one-to-one on-line. Both were very valuable and enjoyable experiences. James is a very skilled actor, a very learned man, and an insightful teacher and director. Each element of his teaching is a different expression of a life that is clearly committed to his art as an actor. I found working with him to provide a deep new view of the playwright we studied (Albee in our case), and a very supportive guide to my personal work as an actor. I can highly recommend him.

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Kenneth May 10, 2017
Acting · Online

I first met James at his Eugene O'Neill class at Berkeley Rep. In that class, he pushed my acting beyond my unconscious limits. I started taking coaching session from him after that and have found him invaluable in my acting career. He has worked with me to develop an overarching plan for me to pursue my acting goals and while at the same time assisting me with the individual steps of that plan. He is highly responsive to my needs, has developed my confidence in my acting, and is an irreplaceable asset for me.

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Kate May 9, 2017
Acting · Online

I began working with James over Skype after taking a class with him in person. I was very pregnant and didn't want to stop my training entirely when my new baby arrived. Working with him remotely gave me the flexibility to clarify my goals and objectives and continue working. James has an incredible depth of understanding of the acting profession as well as the spiritual side of things. His instruction has lead me to greater understanding of the characters I am portraying as well as clarity in who I want to be as an artist. He is highly intelligent, intuitive, and well read. I absolutely recommend working with him! He will hold you to high standards and will deliver on them himself.

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Marianne May 6, 2017
Acting · Online

James has been my teacher. I have worked with him since 2010 and had the pleasure to share the stage with him too. He is my go-to person for feature films, stage performances, commercials, or basis presentations. He is flexible and personable. Initially I wasn’t sure moving from live sessions to on-line would work for me, but it really does. Give it a try. It’s like having a coach sitting on the other side of your desk. He is humble so he will not flaunt his skills. But they will reveal themselves with his ability to tune-in and be present to your experience. He is wicked intelligent, well read and a resource of information from basic acting skills to along the existential continuum. Leave your ego at the door because James coaches acting from the soul.

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