Watch this video where Elia Kazan,  founder of the Actors Studio, explains how Method Acting shifted our consciousness and paved the way to dramatic film acting as we experience it today.


Shelley Mitchell is a creative mid-wife who helps her students relax into and source from their own essence. Her eclectic approach puts an emphasis on traditional Method Acting exercises, mindfulness, philosophy, anthropology, social justice, Gurdjieff and Abraham/Esther Hicks. She is a trained practitioner of Applied Kinesiology and uses it to help her students learn how to keep themselves emotionally balanced, centered and focused.

This is a boutique acting class that helps students at all levels make significant breakthroughs towards their goals. The fundamentals are:

1) Sounding Unscripted

2) Not Outsourcing Authority

3) Developing Mental and Physical Agility

4) Developing Focus

5) Cultivating Self-Awareness

Each three hour class is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 is focused on the individual mind/body work of each actor.
  • Part 2 is focused on  scene work, monologues, improvisations and auditions.

Traditional Method Acting exercises like sense memory, chair work, Song and Dance and affective memory are a departure point for this training, however, students are encouraged to stay free from any methods or concepts that might get in the way of their talent, vitality and creativity.


Shelley’s hands on approach is rooted in her early training and her experience as a performing artist and teacher.  In the 1970s she lived in New York City and trained with Lee Strasberg in both his private classes and at the Actors Studio. At that time she also worked on Al Pacino’s production of Brecht’s Arturo Ui at The Public Theater.   Shelley is a graduate of the Circle in the Square Theater School  where she worked with Estelle Parsons (Oscar winner, Bonnie and Clyde), Irene Papas (Zorba the Greek), David Margulies (The Sopranos), Nikos Psacharopoulos (founder of the Williamstown Theater Festival) and Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist and Oscar winner for Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore).

As a performer, Shelley is best known for her critically acclaimed performance of TALKING WITH ANGELS: BUDAPEST, 1943. She can be seen on the big screen in SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, written and directed by her student, Boots Riley, and in the 2016 LA Film Festival award winning film GREEN IS GOLD, starring, written and directed by her student Ryon Baxter.

In addition to teaching at Duse Studio, Shelley teaches at the SAG Conservatory and is co-founder of Moment Makers at the Slauson Rec. Theater School in south center LA along with Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto.

She began her teaching career in Venice, Italy where she lived throughout the 1980s. Surprised by the extremely positive and life-changing effect her class had on both actors and non-actors, Shelley developed an approach integrating mindfulness, art and science that helps her students make full use of their talent.

In 2014, Shelley moved to LA from San Francisco where she taught acting at her private studio for 20 years.  In San Francisco her students ranged from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Adam Smith (seed investor of Drop Box and founder of Kite),  to world class performing artists like Tom Waits (Seven Psychopaths) and Eamonn Walker (Lord of War, Chicago Fire).  Guest teachers at Duse Studio include Sean Penn, Eamonn Walker, Jill Eikenberry and Joseph Cross.


Demystifying the Method…

Demystifying the Method…

  Salvador Dali asks if I would gently put my hand between my legs, turn my face towards the ceiling and show him what I look like after a climax from pleasuring myself. I hold this pose for about half an hour (minus the self-pleasuring). He stands there...

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