I’m Jeanne Johnston, and I taught golfers at The Buccaneer Golf Course on St. Croix for many years.
Why do I begin a bio on an acting blog with the information that I teach golf? Because it’s what makes how I work with my students different.
I began developing “Spacious Acting”, a new approach to teaching acting, in 2007, when I founded From Page to Stage, in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. FP2S’s mission was to introduce and involve children of all ages in live theater. Spacious Acting sprang from my experiences directing community theater, which were as much about teaching the craft of acting as they were about staging good productions (including for colored girls who have considered suicide (when the rainbow is enuf); Dr. Cook’s Garden; A Christmas Carol; Hate Mail; and Moonlight and Magnolias.)
At the time, I was an LPGA teaching professional, and I began to see interesting correlations between the teaching of golf and directing, as well as between playing golf and acting. LPGA instructors work hard to help golfers know whether they are succeeding when they are practicing. When actors are learning their craft, however, they often can’t discern their own success or failure and rely on feedback from teachers and directors.
I started applying what I knew about teaching golf to acting, and discovered how to give actors a clear sense of what they are reaching for as well as ways of knowing if they are working correctly far earlier than they typically find those benchmarks in traditional acting classes. I began formally applying these principles in classwork in 2012, and began the Spacious Acting blog in 2013.
I have been acting for most of my life, performing in community, collegiate, dinner, and regional theater, as well as summer stock. Representative acting roles include leads in Vanities, The Miracle Worker, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, Steel Magnolias, and Woman in Mind, and the one-woman comedy, Bad Dates. My most recent acting was in 2019, when I played Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, a performance for which I was nominated for a Perry Award. (Lady Bracknell is one of those roles that tends to garner such attention.)
I am a former member of Actor’s Equity Association, the Screen Actors’ Guild, and The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and a current member of The Dramatists’ Guild.
I received a B.A. in Creative Writing from New York University, writing a play as my senior project. I also studied playwriting for two years each with both Susan Charlotte and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. My short play, Happily Ever After, was nominated for a Perry Award in 2016, and Rest in Peace won an Honorable Mention in the Two-Hander Slam this year. I am currently at work on an evening of short plays entitled God, Death, and Other Guilt Trips.
I read plays for the AACTNewPlayFest as well as TNT Pops! playwrighting competitions, and I presented two workshops at the AACTFest 2015: “Playing the Verbs” and “Blocking: Creating a More Interesting Visual Presentation”. I also review plays for the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT).
I do more directing than acting these days and seem to have fallen into the comedy rut. Hoping to try something a little meatier soon . . .