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Star of Brooklyn: John Stillwaggon

JOHN STILLWAGGON

FOUNDER OF ACT-OUT! ACTING SCHOOL

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: John Stillwaggon’s Act-Out! Acting School not only teaches beginners and Broadway veterans acting, but embraces the community through charity concerts.

Located at the Block Institute, 376 Bay 44th St, the school raises money each year for different charities. Last year, Act-Out! raised money for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the school raised money for hurricane relief for the local areas. In 2010, when Haiti was struck with an earthquake, the school held a charity concert for that as well.

The school also provides entertainment to the community, such as this year with its production of Shakespeare’s “Othello” to be set in July at the Narrows Botanical Garden.

“At Act-Out!, we endeavor to help students set aside fears or inhibitions, and embrace the courage and creativity they already have,” he said. “Through physical and vocal preparation, improvisation, goal-and-obstacle analysis, and character and scene study, our students achieve tremendous results and experience growth as actors and as human beings.”

Believing that every student already has what he or she needs to become an actor, Stillwaggon also tries to teach his students conflict resolution. He believes it can help them in their lives. He tells his students, “Don’t think what is most cathartic, think about what’s most effective.”

MOTIVATION: Stillwaggon is constantly impressed by the creative potential that he sees in young people and by the effect theater has on them. “When I’m able to work with young people, as well as adults, it’s incredibly renewing to me,” he said. “I feel as if I learn as much or more from my students than they learn from me as an actor and person.”

PROFESSIONAL LIFE: Stillwaggon graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After wanting to learn and analyze his own process of acting so he could teach it, he attended Brooklyn College where he got his Master’s degree in acting.

He has been acting professionally for about 12 years. He has participated in Off-Broadway plays as well as national tours with the Magik Theater in San Antonio. In 2011, ReviewedPicks.com named him one of the top 10 off-off Broadway professionals in New York City.

PERSONAL LIFE: Stillwaggon is the youngest of six kids, “which accounts for me going into theater because in order to be notice by mom and dad, you needed a loud, clear voice,” he jokes. Part of the year he resides in San Antonio, Texas and the other part he resides in the Ditmas Park section of Brooklyn.

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