Thom Rivera

Thom R.

Los Angeles, CA

Lesson Details



Thom delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 18+

Teaching since:

Thom R. is a TV, Film, Theatre & Voice Actor who has worked in LA & NY and at theatres all over the country. He spent 3 seasons with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, has worked with DC Shakespeare, Yale Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Colorado & Alabama Shakespeare Festivals, among many others.

He has taught at UC Irvine, OSF, The Acting Co., NY Film Academy, EMAS Meisner Studio in LA as well as workshops & Masterclasses all over the country.

He has over 20 TV & film credits, most recently as Javier on NEW GIRL.


On Camera Acting Instructor
Jan 2014 - Present
Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio

Teaching students how to integrate their Meisner training into on camera audition & performance

Acting Teacher
Jan 2014 - Present
Los Angeles Performing Arts Conservatory

Taught Scene Study, Text Analysis and Theatre History to a wide range of international students

Teaching Artist
Oct 2001 - Present
The Acting Company, NYC

Created lesson plans for students from middle school through college

Physical/vocal warm-up, physical exploration, physical transformation

Shakespearian text analysis: verse, word choice, imagery, clarity

Acting Instructor
Jan 2010 - Oct 2012
New York Film Academy

Create and implement syllabi for on-camera audition technique, business of acting, scene study, monologues, and text analysis classes

Guide students through differing techniques used for on-camera vs theatrical choices

Immerse students in script analysis and how it applies to moment-to-moment work in scenes

Create a concise program to prepare students to begin/recharge their careers

One on one intensive consultation work with students

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Teaching Artist
Jan 1999 - Dec 2000
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Design and run workshops with students ranging in age from middle school through college

Focus on movement, ensemble building, creative improvisation, textual imagery

Vocal and physical exploration

Acting Teacher
Sep 1993 - Jun 1995
University of California, Irvine

Taught undergraduate acting courses in Scene Study, text Analysis and History of World Theatre


MFA in Acting
Sep 1992 - May 1995
University of California, Irvine
BA (cum laude) in Theatre Arts
Sep 1988 - May 1990
California State University, Northridge


Fluent / Native Proficiency
Limited Proficiency


Jan 2004

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
Jan 1990

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

2016 Comedy Reel
Shakespeare Audition Sample
Professional Headshot 1

Jake Johnson & Thom Rivera, New Girl: What About Fred?

Alex Menenses & Thom Rivera, Telenovela: The Rivals

Behind the scenes, in full makeup.

Promo Photo for Macbeth at A Noise Within, Pasadena, CA

A Man For All Seasons, Berkshire Theatre Festival

A Flea In Her Ear, Kansas City Rep
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5 Reviews

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Jose Jun 20, 2016
Shakespearean Acting · Online

Thom is a patient, detail oriented, professional who will help you be your best. As a fellow actor and teacher, I have always been impressed with Thom's dedication to his craft and his students. Anyone who is lucky enough to work with him will be glad they did. His understanding of the text, as well as his ability to personalize the work helps bring a clarity and specificity that will help other actors book work...I look forward to working with Thom in any and all capacity. He is the real deal.

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Corinne Jun 17, 2016
Film and TV Acting · In studio

I wish I could give more stars, that's how much I love Thom as a teacher!!! I was lucky enough to be in one of Thom's on camera classes and it was amazing! What I loved about Thom's class is that he used class to both teach a technique and then created the audition environment to put what was taught to use. So, the first half of class was used to learn techniques like eye line for multiple characters in a scene or how to effectively use your frame, etc. Then the second half of class Thom set up an actual audition, everything from the waiting room outside the audition room to slating to exiting the audition room. We would audition with the sides given to us a few days before class and implement the technique being taught that week. It was fabulous because I got to learn new techniques, work a scene, and practice my auditioning skills all in one class. On top of it all I love that Thom is a working actor and brought real life audition and on set knowledge to class. I really appreciated being taught by someone who is patient and truly invested in his student's progress as actors, he is such a caring and wonderful teacher.

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Dawn Jun 14, 2016
Shakespearean Acting · In studio

I am an actress in my late 30's and I had never done Shakespeare! It terrified me! And then...I landed a role as Goneril in King Lear and I knew I needed help. I contacted Thom right away because I had heard such good things. In the first session, I was amazed at how much there was to know and how much Thom was able to teach me. His enthusiasm for Shakespeare and teaching was contagious and I didn't want the session to end. Through learning about the importance of patterns, rhythm, and the meaning of each word, I was able to break down a verse with ease. I went from feeling inadequate and clueless, to knowledgable and confident. I can't recommend Thom enough!

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Dominic Jun 14, 2016
Film and TV Acting · In studio

Thom is a phenomenal teacher. Professional and full of knowledge about the industry. He was able to unlock aspects of myself to fully express my authenticity and was able to bring me to my next level in acting and auditioning

Jules Jun 14, 2016
Film Acting · In studio

Thom is an incredible acting coach. He combines strong technique with a lot of heart.

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