Ellis Jones was, for sixteen years, a senior director at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, the UK’s most celebrated acting school.Ellis was RADA’s Head of Acting from 1993 to 2003, the Academy’s Vice-Principal from 1998 to 2003, and more recently (until the autumn of 2009) has been Creative Director of RADA’s Enterprise Company, producing educational and corporate projects in the UK and abroad. He is the author of “Teach Yourself Acting” (Hodder Headline 1998) and is grateful to Hodder & Stoughton for their permission to use the title in developing this website.
As Head of the Acting Course, 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 demands a fast-changing industry would make on new actors.
This is an effective and hugely succesful combination of rigorous and detailed voice and and movement classes alongside intensive text and character exploration, often drawing on work explored by teachers such as Uta Hagen and Sandford Meisner. As head of the course at RADA, Ellis was on hand as senior tutor to make sense of the training for the student actors as they went along, and to help them make make maximum use of it in their public performances on the stage, on camera and on microphone. Those who trained at RADA while Ellis was in charge of the training include Tom Hiddleston, Ben Whishaw, Eve Best, Sally Hawkins, Gemma Arterton and Matthew Macfadyen.
This website now offers emerging actors a link to a mix of the best of British and North American training disciplines with a range of acknowledged expert tutors, plus an opportunity for one-to-one guidance from Ellis, at the click of a mouse.
Prior to being asked to join RADA, Ellis had a significant career as an actor, starring in a number of situation comedies on the UK ITV channel (“Pardon my Genie”, “The Squirrels”) 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.
From 2003 to 2010, Ellis’s productions of British classical theatre with RADA graduate actors have been a widely-acclaimed feature of the cultural programme offered to passengers on the Cunard transatlantic liner, the Queen Mary 2. He retired from RADA in 2009, and has recently worked on several projects in Asia: he was asked to be Consultant Director, Acting Programmes for New York University Tisch Asia in Singapore, a Visiting Professor for the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in Beijing, and in the autumn of 2010 directed “Taking Steps” the first-ever Chinese-language production of a play by the Britain’s most successful playwright, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. In December 2012 he directed Rodney Ackland’s remarkable play “Absolute Hell” for the Royal Central School of Drama, at the Embassy Theatre, London. Ellis currently lectures and runs workshops for New York University Tisch School of the Arts, and two other American universities, Hollins University, Virginia and Case Western, Ohio. During 2015 Ellis ran courses in London, Shanghai, and Beijing.
In November 2015 he was asked to return to the stage as a performer, as understudy to Kenneth Cranham in the title role of Florain Zeller’s award-winning play “The Father” in London’s West End, at the Wyndhams Theatre.