Teacher Spotlight: Shannon Patterson

Doug GoldringCommunity, Training

We’d love to introduce you to one of our incredible TBG teaching artists, Shannon Patterson! Read our interview with her below…

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

SP: I love the collaborative process of the classes at The Barrow Group. We are all learning from each other and sharing ideas about a group of tools and adjustments. Together our understanding of the tools’ diverse effects grows as we see them applied to different scenarios. I am so inspired by how we use our workshops to fully involve everyone in the room. Class isn’t only about getting up and playing with a scene, but also training our eye while observing to be crystal clear on how these adjustments are playing on the actors and why the adjustments were given by the instructor. It grows an awareness and understanding of how to apply them to our own process, so we can develop a practice that we can use in any scenario to keep our acting free and playful! This is electric to me – so energizing – and I learn something new every single time I walk through the door to teach.

What is a TBG tool you love to use in your own acting journey?

SP: It’s a tie between looking at the 5 W’s of script analysis (who, where, when, what, and why) and the Impulse Exercise (looking for an impulse or earlier opportunity to say my line.) The 5 W’s inform everything from costume and props to activities I can get busy doing to tell the story. These specificities help make the playing more stimulating and engaging to me, as the actor, while also clarifying story for the audience. The impulse exercise helps keep me playing from a place of spontaneity and awareness. It takes the focus and pressure off how I’m doing or saying something and turns my awareness to my scene partner and my surroundings in such a direct and easy way. All of this keeps the acting fun and simple…and I’m totally all in for fun and simple!

What is a project that you’ve been a part of that you are proud of?

SP: I’m still kind of riding on the lingering magic dust of performing the role of Mary in 17 Minutes by Scott Organ at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past August. Spending a month in such a charming city full of other creative folks, all doing their art and supporting each other, was beyond special! It was also a beautiful way to share The Barrow Group and our approach with an international audience! Sharing the stage and production experience with my long-time TBG friends, fellow teachers, and mentors will be a treasured life-long memory.

I’m also so thrilled to get back to work as an acting coach on set for a popular MAX series! I am so grateful to the SAG negotiating committee for all of their hard work to fight for a fair deal and get actors (and crew, and everyone else on set) back to work! Sitting at video village for two seasons and working closely with folks in different creative departments has given me invaluable insight into making a TV show and on-camera work. I am currently developing some creative projects based on what I have learned. I’m also in the process of streamlining a business to help actors and directors succeed on set, which I am very excited about! More soon!

To take a class with Shannon…check out the 2024 1-Year Directing Program starting 1/7, Intermediate Scene Study I: Introduction to an Approach starting 1/7, Directing Workshop I starting 1/18, ONLINE Directing Workshop I starting 1/22, and Beginner Acting Class II: Getting Specific starting 1/25.

Check TBG’s full schedule of classes!