I spent a year working with Jerzy Grotowski in Italy in the early nineties.
Since moving to New York City in 1999, I have coached and taught other actors on my own and alongside Andre Gregory.
My approach combines rigorous training of both mind and body, with great attention to the demands of film naturalism. My background in physical training for the actor under Grotowski complements my film-oriented approach. It is my deep-seated belief that actors cannot depend on others (directors, etc.) in the matter of their own work. They must learn how to develop their own methods, their own gauges, to assess their work and to grow.
Finally, I've spent many years working in a number of spiritual traditions—Sufi, Kabbalistic, Vedic. I have found these ancient traditions and their techniques to be effective in working with the inner life in a way that is useful for actors on stage and in film.
"Amazingly passionate and playful, Ayad Akhtar's teaching provides gentle, respectful guidance toward finding again what is so easily lost both in daily life as well as on stage: The connection of body, mind and soul, the authenticity of creative expression."
Peter Gruber – Director and Actor, Vienna, Austria
"I received my MFA at NYU and was taught by some extraordinary teachers there, including Ron Van Lieu, who now heads up the graduate program at Yale; I can honestly say that I have never had a teacher more gifted in perception or more adept at helping actors overcome the mental obstacles that often stand in our way than Ayad Akhtar. "
Robin Weigert – Deadwood; Angels in America