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Breaking it down for Walter Lee in "Raisin in the Sun"

Winner of the 2013 SF Weekly Best Classical Theater Mentor of the Bay Area, veteran award-winning actor and director L. Peter Callender brings to coaching his 35 years of theater experience.  He has taught acting Shakespeare for CalShakes and San Francisco School for the Arts.


He has been private Shakespeare coach to Erica Gimpel, Michelle Pfeiffer and professional actors throughout the Bay Area. Mr Callender's theater credits span coast to coast including: Broadway's Helen Hayes Theater, New York Shakespeare Festival, African-American Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pennsylvania Stage Company, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Milwaukee Rep, Berkeley Rep, American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre and Marin Theater Company. Mr Callender is the recipient of several theater awards including the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award, several Dean Goodman Awards and SF Guardian's Goldie Award.

Audition Coaching

Auditions are difficult. No matter who you are or what your experience. There you are, with less that 4 minutes to show your stuff, showcase your years of training to please a casting director who, most of the time, is not sure what he or she really wants. The idea is to get a call-back. Put yourself in the running for the gig. A good acting coach will work with you to do just that: Help you activate the text, guide you through your physical choices which helps to create character and excite your work. I am deeply focused on text work, speech, voice and character development through specific use of the text. Four minutes is not a long time: Get their attention! Get a call-back! Then let's work on getting you the job!

Character Work

I also work with actors who are in rehearsal and need a bit more attention: "My director needs me to be more specific with this text, but I just can't get it right!" "My director asked me to erase all indications of how I felt about what I was saying, both in the intonation of my voice and my expressions: HOW DO I DO THAT?" "I am asked to play five different characters in this play, I really need to bring in some specific physical choices. I need help!" These are real requests I have responded to with great success. I am passionate about using specific gestures to create character; using breath to activate thought, and movement to inspire emotion. The work should be honest, pure and riveting. This is my goal as an actor and my job as your acting coach.

"Peter is the one who brings the scenario in my head to a real scenario. 'Where's she been? What does that feel like?' I look to him to bring it down and crystallize it to the here and now."

Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, Actress


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