The Spiritual Psychology of Acting

11 Oct 2017, Posted by webdev_t6z8ug9s in Inside Story

I’d like to welcome acting coach John Osborne Hughes to this week’s blog. I first met John at one of his weekend classes for all creatives  and  I was hooked.

His techniques and skills to help me meditate have not just improved the quality of my life immeasurably, but from the feedback I have had from actors who I have recommended him to the results are pretty conclusive! This guy rocks!

As an actor he understands what an actor goes through during the audition process and so has real insight into how an actor can get rid of negativity and prepare for the ordeal ahead!

John delivers results time after time and so getting his insight here on my blog is a real to my readers –  especially with his ACTIONABLE tips you can take away and use.`


1. Tell me about the Spiritual Psychology of Acting?

The Spiritual Psychology of Acting is a comprehensive system of practical knowledge and technique in the fine art of acting. It is an evolution of the teachings of the great Russian stage director, Constantine Stanislavsky, combined with cutting edge Psychology and Spiritual Philosophy from both East and West.


2. Why would a performer benefit from The SPofA training?

The training has been developed to meet the true needs of the professional actor, living and working in the 21st Century… it provides you with in depth knowledge of both the art and the craft of acting, enabling you to do your job properly, to a high standard, in ever demanding circumstances.


3. Will it make me a better person too :-)?

Yes… In order to truly understand the process’s which nature/ psychology uses to create characters in life, we first need to understand how these process’s work in ourselves; how they have shaped, and continue to shape who we are. In the process of training it is normal for students to see previously unconscious ideas they have been holding about themselves and about life in general. By revisiting these primary building blocks of the psyche with a new awareness, we get a fresh chance to see how they play out in our everyday lives and ultimately to rethink them.

It is a normal part of the process for students to remove major burdens and step over old, self imposed limitation. One of the main purposes of art is to help those who have closed their heart to open them again. Obviously, the first precondition of this is that the artists themselves have first opened their own hearts. Great actors shine with a universal quality, so it would make sense for actors to expand their hearts and their consciousness to embrace the whole of the human family, in it’s goodness. A great actor is a true lover, and the world certainly needs more of those right now!


4. What is so unique about this method of training compared to other theories?

The Spiritual Psychology of Acting is not a ‘method’ or an ‘ism’. It is the ultimate system, because it takes in everything that has come before it, but it only uses the process’s found in nature. Unlike virtually all other actor training, there is nothing artificial. In fact, it should really be called, ‘the common sense of acting’, or just simply, ‘acting’!

5. Could I use this to help me if I have trained with Stanislavski or Meisner techniques?

Whatever your background and training, the Spiritual Psychology of Acting will enhance your knowledge, love and enjoyment of the work.


6. Isn’t all a bit woo-woo and patchouli oil, man?

Well, if the hippies were all about peace, love and freedom, then, yes! The teaching is actually very scientific and pragmatic, but if you really want to show up in psychedelic trousers, whiffing like you just rolled out of a tent at Glastonbury, then that’s cool by me.


7. What level of actors would you say the SPofA is beneficial too?

All levels will benefit – I taught a group of seasoned Hollywood film actors in LA, who’d all trained at the Actors Studio, along with Marlon Brando,etc, and they found the teachings to be extremely refreshing and inspiring. They told me that the practical knowledge of SPofA was exactly what their teachers had been searching for… When you’re green, you’re growing – when you’re ripe, you’re rotten!


8. Can you give me a few bullet points of what your teaching covers?

The entire course is in two parts. 1) The Elements of Acting 2) The 10 Steps to Creating a Character. During the intro seminar we will be covering:

  • The Three main purposes of Theatre/ Cinematic Art.
  • The principles of Great Acting.
  • The Qualities of a Great Actor.
  • Four Key Questions for designing a Character
  • Mind Triads: The three essential elements of the Characters psyche.
  • How to develop Awareness (the ability to observe our own thoughts), in order to dissolve creative blocks and gather material out of which we can create unique characters.
  • The secrets of Charisma and Stage/Screen Presence. How to develop them.
  • The psychology of casting. How to prepare for auditions. Properly.
  • The Principles of Zen and the Art of Acting.
  • Imagination and the acto


9. How long have you been teaching the SPofA?

I taught my first workshop in July 1993, whilst I was still training as a Director. My own training had it’s roots in the Moscow Institute of Theatre Arts, and in the Russian theatre culture, teaching is seen as a vital aspect of directing, so we were taught to teach early on.

I love teaching. The Spiritual Psychology of Acting is such a fascinating and enriching subject to teach and I’m constantly studying and learning new things. I have a great love of the students and I’m always thrilled whenever I see them on stage or screen. I honestly think I have the best job in the world!


10. 10 Tips from John that you can implement TODAY!

1) It doesn’t matter what you think about the character, all that matters is what the character thinks.

2) There are no evil angry or aggressive characters (or people), only unhappy ones.

3) Great actors love the art in themselves and not just themselves in art.

4) The duty of the actor is to observe human nature, without judging.

5) Nothing human is alien to you, so start by observing yourself. You are a walking laboratory for the study of human character!

5) The biggest obstacle to great acting is the actors own ego and self rejection. Learn to love yourself and never justify your existence to anyone.

6) The greater the talent, the greater the need for proper discipline and technique to harness it.

7) Stage fright is the result of not knowing what you are doing.

8) Confidence comes from the frequent use of the right knowledge, so make sure you buy the right knowledge in the first place.

9) Acting technique is the conscious use of usually sub-conscious patterns of thinking.

10) If you genuinely have the bug for the art and craft of acting, you need to exercise it properly and regularly. If not, you will go a bit bonkers.


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