Act­ing teacher takes the stage

Central Leader - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

The teacher of some of the coun­try’s most promis­ing act­ing tal­ent is en­joy­ing her own soiree into per­for­mance.

For the past 30 years Vicki Yian­nout­sos has coached ac­tors and direc­tors now at the top of their craft – in­clud­ing Out­ra­geous For­tune’s An­thony Starr and Sarah Wise­man and Whale Rider di­rec­tor Niki Caro.

Ms Yian­nout­sos ap­peared in her first play in 30 years at the Maid­ment Theatre last month as a Dal­ma­tian gumdig­ger’s wife in An­ton’s Women. This month she makes her Short­land Street de­but as a pas­tor’s wife.

The long-time Grey Lynn res­i­dent says get­ting up on the stage her­self puts teach­ing in a new light.

“It con­nects me to the stu­dents more and what they go through.”

She trained at the Jeremiah Comey Act­ing Stu­dios in Los An­ge­les in the late 80s.

When she ar­rived back in New Zealand in 1989, she saw there was a need for act­ing teach­ers in the coun­try.

Since then she has taught film act­ing classes and di- rected both dra­mas and doc­u­men­taries.

Her classes have re­cently moved to a new space in West­mere at Gar­net Sta­tion.

She de­scribes the classes as a gym for ac­tors.

“It’s a bit like a jam ses­sion with prin­ci­ples and tech­niques,” she says.

She says film act­ing should be about work­ing in­stinc­tively, in­tu­itively and emo­tion­ally.

“Film per­for­mance should re­ally be about con­nec­tion and liv­ing in the mo­ment.”

Hav­ing seen New Zealand film evolve since tak­ing off in the 1980s, Ms Yian­nout­sos says she is ex­cited about the new gen­er­a­tion of ac­tors en­ter­ing the in­dus­try now who are learn­ing hands-on rather than in a class­room.

“What’s great is that it’s eas­ier now to get out and get a film made.

“There’s a whole gen­er­a­tion who are learn­ing hand­son. That’s kind of cool.”

Ms Yian­nout­sos is also work­ing on a doc­u­men­tary about Greece and also has a script for a fea­ture film.

“I sup­pose I’ve got my fin­gers in a few pies.”

For classes call 376-7229.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Into the light: Teacher and di­rec­tor Vicki Yian­nout­sos says she is a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to per­form­ing.

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