The William Davis Centre for Actors’ Study at VanArts
VanArts’ Acting Department was originally founded in 1989 by William B. Davis, one of Vancouver’s most recognizable faces. William played the infamous Cigarette Smoking Man on The X-Files throughout 11 seasons, and is a legendary figure in the Canadian film industry. He still teaches scene study classes to our students during the year.
Today the acting program is overseen by Chilton Crane, a veteran performer on film and television shows like Supernatural, Once Upon a Time, and iZombie, to name just a few.
This is the most intensive conservatory acting program in Canada, designed for aspiring actors who are dedicated and passionate about their craft.
Acting Graduate Plays David Bowie on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
2014 graduate Thomas Nicholson recently portrayed a young David Bowie in an episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow for the CW Network.
Since graduating he has also enjoyed a steady flow of acting gigs, ranging from short films to recurring & guest star roles on shows like Damnation, The X-Files, Supernatural, The 100, The Terror, Project Blue Book, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Virgin River, Trigger Me, and many more.
Listen to his story here:
Bowie “Heroes” photo of Thomas Nicholson by Ashley Ross Studios.
Term 1 is devoted to building strong foundation skills in acting. In these first 12 weeks, your mind, body and imagination are challenged while exploring text and story. This intensive foundation prepares you for the challenges that await you in the upcoming terms, with most classes held in our dedicated studio space.
Film & TV - On Camera Improvisation Techniques - Hagen & Meisner Buffoonery Text Analysis Power of your Voice
The second term is dedicated to the actor’s individual process and character development, as you begin emerging into public spaces for location shoots and showcases. Through an intensive scene study and a short film project, as an actor you are challenged to use yourself and your foundation skills to advance your personal exploration into story and character.
Film & TV - Intermediate Short Film Character Building Scene Study Standard American Dialect Dance & Singing
In Term 3 the challenge to you as an actor is full on! You are pushed to expand your range and raise the commitment and integrity of your performance while gaining confidence in your craft. This term is designed to confront and encourage the individual while pursuing and expanding into ensemble work, rehearsing and performing your first full-length play.
Film & TV - Advanced Fighting for Film Advanced Voice & Speech Shakespeare "On Set" Short Film In-House Play
In the final term, the professional actor emerges in two intensive projects: a short film shoot and a full-length play in a professional theatre space. The last two months are committed to the business. Demo reels, voice over and audition skills are paramount to your success, so many guest speakers and instructors are brought in to pass on their expertise — including professional actors, directors, casting and talent agents who have worked extensively across North America.
How to Audition Headshots Live Stage Performance Voice-Over Meet Local Casting Directors Demo Reel
Chilton CraneHead of Acting for Film & Television
Head of Acting for Film & Television
Chilton has been a professional actor for 25+ years, most recently co-starring in the feature film Cut Bank with Liam Hemsworth, John Malkovich and Billy Bob Thornton, plus many lead, recurring and guest star credits including 4400, Supernatural, Final Destination 2, The L Word, V, The X-Files and many others. Through the William Davis Centre at VanArts Chilton has the longest-running film & television part-time course in the city and brings all of her energy and experience to each and every class, demanding and encouraging the best of her students while preparing them for their careers in the film and television industry. IMDB
Bruce studied in New York at the renowned HB Studio with Carol Rosenfeld. He is a past member of the Equity Theatre Company Sea Theatre and has appeared in many of their critically acclaimed productions including Burn This, Popcorn, and Established Price. Bruce has appeared in numerous film and TV roles. He currently has recurring roles on the popular television series The L Word and the new series Painkiller Jane, as well as playing Flash Gordon’s father in the new Flash Gordon series. He can also be seen as “Captain Harrison” in the feature film Holloman II. His teaching is influenced by Uta Hagen’s methods. Students of his love the fact that he teaches them techniques that work on set and on stage, not just in the classroom. Click here to see Bruce on the imdb.
From Winnipeg to London to Vancouver, Julie has trained, performed and taught in theatre, TV and film for well over a decade. Expert at teaching beginning actors, she has introduced over 1000 students at the William Davis Centre to the thrill of acting. European credits includeBrookside (BBC), Soul Survivor (Trisquare), and French National commercial Orange. North American credits include Hallowe’en 8, The Gut Girls , US national Got Milk commercials and character voice work for Da Vinci’s Inquest . Julie just made her directorial debut with Alan Ball’s Five Women Wearing the Same Dress for Kindred Spirits. She brings with her the eclectic background and positive attitude needed to facilitate true acting.
William B. DavisFounding Director & Actor
William B. Davis
Founding Director & Actor
Before becoming the infamous “Cigarette Smoking Man” on the hit TV series The X-Files, William Davis had a long career as a teacher, director and actor. He has been the Director of Canada’s two leading acting schools: the National Theatre School and the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School. He was the founding Artistic Director of Festival Lennoxville in Quebec, Director of the Dundee Repertory Theatre in Scotland and Assistant Director at the National Theatre of Great Britain. Mr. Davis has directed over 100 professional productions at major theatres in Britain and Canada. He founded the William Davis Centre for Actors’ Study in 1989, which now offers its highly regarded curriculum at VanArts, where he sits on the Board of Advisors and still teaches classes.
For more information, see also: www.williambdavis.com
William B. Davis at IMDB
Brent Stait has been acting in film, television and theater in Canada for the past 30 years. From X-Files to Mystery, Alaska, from serial killers to priests, Brent has performed a large number of character parts on film and stage. A graduate of Ryerson Theater School andBanff School of Fine Arts Master Class, Brent spent the first four years of his career doing theater at Stratford and surrounding areas before venturing into his numerous film & TV credits. He has been the recipient of a Tyrone Gutheri award, a Leo award, and has been nominated for a Genie. Check out Brent Stait on IMDB
Dave is a BFA graduate of University of Victoria and is committed to challenging established creation concepts and developing new ways of seeing theatre. In the 1990’s he was core member of the Chaos Collective and his creative efforts gave rise to the Metanoia Projects and a number of site-specific theatre installations in local rave parties. A committed member of the CORE group in Vancouver since 2005 he is skilled in Suzuki Method, Viewpoints, Grotowski & Fowler physical theatre techniques. As co-founder of Upintheair Theatre in 1999 he has created, produced, directed and/or performed in Wedgie, Pyropornomania, Moxie, Men of the WORLD, STUMPED & 120bpm and established Vancouver’s short form original theatre festival – The Walking Fish Festival. Selected Acting: Escape From Happiness, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Glengarry Glen Ross, Hopscotch, Hello Out There, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear. www.upintheairtheatre.com
Jillian Fargey brings over 20 years of experience as a professional actor working in film, television, theatre and radio. She has sat on the jury for the Genie and Gemini Awards and holds several nominations, as well as a Leo Award for Best Supporting Actress in the film Green Chain. Jillian serves on the Board of Directors for the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award Society and has several years experience as an instructor of the acting craft at several schools and workshops.
Cindy Block; Performer, Movement and Voice Specialist, and theatre researcher. A veteran stage performer, much of Cindy’s career has evolved around the development of new Canadian works. She was a Founding Member of Pink Ink Productions (currently PIE Theatre) in Vancouver. Some of her most influential core training was at The HB Studio in New York and The William Davis Center in the 1980s. She went on to receive an MFA in Acting as well as a Voice Teaching Diploma from York University and a Teaching Certificate from the School of Embodied Practices. She teaches Movement, Voice, Story Telling and Theatre Creation, Coaches professionally and is currently on Faculty at The George Brown Theatre School in Toronto, The University of Toronto’s Drama Program and The Moving Voice Institute; a National training organization dedicated to physical and vocal practices for performance. She has also taught at The Centre for Indigenous Theatre, York University’s Theatre Department and the Humber College Comedy Program to name a few. Her research has centered around the application of Embodied Practices in Actor Training, and Authentic Movement for theatre creation and performance. She has presented her research nationally as well as at the Festival of Making theatre in Athens, Greece and, the Roy Hart Centre for Voice in France. She is thrilled to return to her Vancouver roots to be part of the VanArts team.
Mel is a highly regarded pioneer of Canadian theatre, a director of international reputation and an innovator in theatre training technique and philosophy. Mel’s thirty-five year history of directing, teaching and performing in Canadian theatre is extensive. This includes artistic directorship of three companies, thirteen years as administrative director of Ryerson’s acting program and national recognition in the form of three ACTRA and two Genie nominations. With Mel’s experience in the education and direction of Canadian talent, he has been honoured to have seen many of his students move on to major roles in the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival and regional theatres.
Bill Pozzobon has been acting and teaching for over 20 years, having performed with theVancouver Theatresports League, Number 14 at the Axis Mime Theatre, Blackdog Theatre in Toronto, and performing with comedic actor Ryan Stiles at Upfront Theatre in Bellingham, WA. He has taught at the Shadboldt Center for the Arts, Carnegie Community Centre, and Simon Fraser University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1991.
Gabriel Carter is from San Francisco, California. He graduated from the American Conservatory Theatre masters program. In NYC, he was a voice over director for Don Buchwald and associates where he coached such luminaries as Ally Sheedy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Billy Crudup, Lisa Bonet amongst others. He was a instructor at the Stella Adler Conservatory. In Vancouver he was a core faculty member of Schoolcreative for five years. Gabriel believes acting is not a mimicry of life.
Trained in her second language at Le Conservatoire D’Art Dramatique de Quebec, in Quebec City, Trilby Jeeves was the first and only English student to graduate from the three-year program. She went on to perform in both French and English across Canada. During this time, she also worked part-time as a costumer, and a set supervisor for the film & TV industry. Trilby’s directing experiences include the first French Canadian productions of Les Monologues du Vagin for two consecutive years, and a recent production for First Impressions Theatre ofThe Memory of Water. Her passion for inspiring truthful performance evolved from teaching improv classes to various schools into her own Buffoonery Acting Workshops, which have taken her throughout BC to Puerto Rico, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. She also helped create the Directing the Film Actor workshop, which she teaches with her partner, Peter D. Marshall, around the world. By providing a safe place, Trilby encourages her students at to find their inner bouffon giving them a unique tool for text exploration. You can follow Trilby, a social media enthusiast, on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tjbuffoonery and check out Buffoonery Acting Workshops
Program Duration12 Months
Next Start DatesSeptember 5, 2023 September 3, 2024
The William Davis Centre for Actors' Study at VanArts has a strong team of experienced professional actors working directly with you to prepare you for the world of acting in the film and television industry. This is one of the most intensive acting programs - best suited if your desire is to push yourself and your skills to the highest level of creativity and professionalism. You will receive personal mentoring, small class sizes to ensure individual attention and focus, and the opportunity to collaborate with other faculties in photography, visual effects and animation production.
Our faculty of Acting instructors have starred in regular, lead, and recurring roles on TV series & features such as The X-Files, Supernatural, Continuum, Motive, Bates Motel, Battlestar Galactica, Cut Bank, Final Destination, TRON: Legacy and many more.
This program has been approved by the Registrar of the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
VanArts has articulation agreements in place with several well established universities/colleges in Canada, Australia, and the UK. These degree pathways allow you to complete your bachelor’s degree in as little as one year after your studies at VanArts. This gives you the advantage of two credentials; a professional diploma and an undergraduate degree. These partnerships may not only save you money in tuition cost, but allows you to transition easily from VanArts to the partner institution while continuing your educational pathway in your chosen field of study. For international students, completing your BA degree in as little as two years of additional study with our local university partners provides you with the option to apply for a Canadian work permit, which may lead to permanent residency or Canadian citizenship. This list represents the pathways, universities and specific degrees available for graduates of Acting for Film & Television at VanArts:
10% deposit upon acceptance to hold your seat
40% six weeks prior to start date
50% by end of Term 1 (3 months into studies)