SHEILA GRAY'S BIOGRAPHY
Since 1990 Sheila Gray has run an independent acting studio based in Manhattan, where she teaches weekly group classes and intensive workshops. Outside of New York she has worked in Los Angeles, London, Madrid, Mexico and South America as well.
Sheila also coaches clients privately for theatre, film, television and a wide range of special projects. Her clients range from actors, singers, dancers, models and comedians to rappers, public figures and on-air personalities. Though she works with many well-established performers, Sheila is also renowned for her ability to develop less experienced ones by giving them a strong and enduring foundation and technique. She has also helped established personalities with little or no experience as actors make a successful career transition into acting.
Born in Manhattan, Sheila grew up in the theatre and began studying acting as a teenager. She studied privately in the city with many teachers. Her first mentor was Sandra Seacat, an Actor’s Studio member and Method- based teacher who also teaches dream work. Sheila was also deeply influenced by Marcia Haufreicht, also a Studio member with a more traditional Method and sensory- based technique. Sheila worked as an actress for 15 years in NY, LA and abroad. She began teaching for Sandra in 1992 and by 1993 had found her true calling. Developing her own hybrid approach fusing method techniques, improvisation and original exercises and material, she turned to teaching full time.
That same year acclaimed casting director Ellen Chenowith hired Sheila to be the pre-production and on-set coach for Robert De Niro’s directorial debut “A Bronx Tale” Sheila has had the good fortune to work on many sets for various films and television productions, including: “Narnia: Prince Caspian” (Dir. Andrew Andersen, Disney Productions); “The Naked Brother’s Band,”(Dir./producer Polly Draper, a Nickelodeon series;) “The Transporter,” (a Luc Besson Production;) and “Homeboy,” (Dir. Michael Sarenson,) to name a few.
Sheila’s clients appear on a number of major television shows as well including “Friday Night Lights,” “CSI,” “Gossip Girls,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “Arrested Development,” “The Sopranos,” “Entourage,” “The Wire,” “Life On Mars,” “Out There,” “Six Feet Under,” “ER,” “Bodies,” “Sex in The City,” “Seinfeld,” “Saturday Night Live,” “All My Children, ” “Girlfriends,” “The L Word,” “Crossing Jordan,” “Medium,” “Private Practice,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Law and Order,” and “Rescue Me.”
Although Sheila works mainly with performing actors, she has also coached people outside of the arts who wish to strengthen their performance and presentation skills such as businessmen, sales representatives, advocates, government officials, politicians and academics. She uses relaxation, improvisation, a loosely structured rehearsal process, role-playing, body language, music and feedback to meet each client’s specific needs and help him achieve his goals.
Sheila’s clients also include individuals seeking to explore their own creative instruments and deepen and refine their capacity to express themselves imaginatively and emotionally. She uses various forms of relaxation, imaginative, interactive and written exercises, and improvisation. This work can take place in creative group workshops and/or in private sessions as need and preference dictate.
Sheila received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, studying with several prominent writers such as Grace Paley, Thomas Lux and Jane Cooper, among others. She has led a number of outreach activities and creative workshops in New York City public schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and homeless shelters.
Her varied background and experiences have allowed her to collaborate as a creative consultant to writers, directors, producers and performers on a wide range of projects. She has worked closely with a number of directors including Robert De Niro, Wayne Wang, Tony Gilroy, Polly Draper and Andrew Adamson, among many others. She is currently developing two of her own projects: one as writer/director and another as writer/creative producer.