Our Roots & Mission

No Mans Land

No Mans Land



TOM IRWIN AND I MET, as did most of the first generation of Steppenwolf’s ensemble of actors and directors, in the mid 70’s, in the Theater Department at Illinois State University. Our training at school was defined by gifted, wildly opinionated teachers steeped in various versions of Stanislavski’s acting technique. We were fortunate enough to be a part of a program that encouraged its students to produce and direct their own peer selected plays. After graduation, nine of us continued working together in this way. We wanted to expand the freedom we had tasted at school while working on plays we loved in an environment that we controlled. Some of us had directed or would grow into directing and some of us would become writers as well, but in our beginnings we were, above all, actors.



STEPPENWOLF CLASSES WEST started about four years ago when Tom and I asked for and received our artistic directors blessing to create Los Angeles based studio classes and workshops. We sought to create classes that would reflect our creative upbringing in an acting ensemble while addressing the realities of being an actor in Los Angeles. Like you, we are working, auditioning actors in a town largely devoted to camera work. Like you, we use class to grow as artists and to keep the love of our craft beating strong. We want Steppenwolf Classes West to be your favorite actor gym – an environment of trust and challenge that nurtures your practice and experimentation and growth.



Our class sizes are small so that you can work every session. Our teachers are experienced, passionate, and talented. Their love of the craft and their skill as instructors creates an environment in which we are confident that our students will feel both safe and challenged to do their best work. As a faculty we are inspired by the same goals: to nurture the ability to act spontaneously, instinctively, and with abandon, while practicing the specificity and discipline required of great acting.