Ellis Jones & Teach Yourself Acting
Ellis Jones, for many years a senior director at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, one of the world’s most celebrated acting schools, has supervised the training of many of today’s most exciting actors. He was RADA’s Head of Acting from 1993 to 2003, the Academy’s Vice-Principal from 1998 to 2003, and more recently has been Creative Director of RADA’s Enterprise Company, producing educational and corporate projects in the UK and abroad. Ellis is the author of “Teach Yourself Acting” (Hodder Headline 1998).
Prior to being asked to join RADA, Ellis featured regularly in situation comedies and dramas on the UK ITV channel (“Pardon my Genie”, “The Squirrels”, “Raven”) and in television Shakespeare productions (The Fool in “King Lear” and Elbow in “Measure for Measure”). He has acted and directed in theatres throughout Britain, was awarded an Arts Council Associate directorship, and for three years was Artistic Director of the theatre at Keswick, Cumbria.
Ellis’s productions and workshops with RADA graduate actors have been a widely-acclaimed feature of the entertainment offered to passengers on the Cunard transatlantic liner, the Queen Mary 2.
Since retiring from RADA, Ellis been in demand in Asia: he was retained as Consultant Director, Acting Programmes, for the New York University Tisch Asia Film School in Singapore, and directed “Taking Steps” the first-ever Chinese-language production of a play by Britain’s most successful playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, at the Shanghai Theatre Academy.
Back in the UK, he directed Rodney Ackland’s “Absolute Hell” with final-year acting students at London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Ellis co-produced and directed the Festival of Chinese Comedy (with Chinese actors) at the RADA Studio Theatre and subsequently at the Soho Theatre, London for the Chinese new year celebrations 2017, in association with Peking University, Beijing.
When not directing actors or coaching TYA clients in London and online, Ellis is Lecturer in London Theatre for “studies abroad” programmes, New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Recently Ellis has made a cautious return to performing, as understudy to Olivier award winner Kenneth Cranham in the title role of Florian Zeller’s remarkable play “The Father”, for its two West End runs at Wyndham’s and The Duke of York’s theatres, and on tour. Since then Ellis has been quite busy in film and television – during 2022/23 he has appeared in “The Thief, his Wife and the Canoe” (ITV), “Year Ten” (Kenwright Films), “The Tuckers” (BBC Wales) and “The Contract” (Woods productions).
Ellis and the actors
As Head of the RADA Acting Courses, Ellis Jones worked with Nick Barter, the Academy’s Principal, in developing a training which drew on RADA’s great teaching traditions while tackling the challenges facing young actors in a rapidly changing industry.
Some of the actors Ellis worked with at that time include: Gemma Arterton, O.T. Fagbenle, Eve Best, Kezia Burrows, Gugu MBata-Raw, Sally Hawkins, Tom Hiddleston, Bertie Carvel, Matthew Macfadyen, Maxine Peake, Andrea Riseborough and Ben Wishaw.