JOHN RUSKIN – Founder / Director

MICHAEL ROBERT MYERS – Acting Faculty / Associate Director

AMY RUSKIN – Director Classes for Young Actors/ Media Training

MICHAEL LAURIE – Acting Faculty

EDDIE JAUREGUI – Acting Faculty

PAUL DENK – Acting Faculty

DANIEL PASSER – Commedia dell’Arte & Viewpoints

LAUREL BARHAM – Classes for Young Actors


JOHN RUSKIN – Founder / Director

john_photoAfter graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder, John Ruskin studied with the Yale School of Drama and the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.

He returned to New York, where he studied under Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and then on the West Indian island of Bequia. At Meisner’s request, John became his apprentice and joined the acting faculty of The Neighborhood Playhouse, where he taught under Meisner’s direction.

In 1986, while still teaching at The Neighborhood Playhouse, John founded his school of acting in Santa Monica, California. He now resides in Los Angeles full time, teaching the two-year program in The Meisner Technique. In addition, he founded and is Artistic Director of the Ruskin Group Theatre, a theatre company whose members are composed primarily of graduates from The Ruskin School and The Neighborhood Playhouse.



MICHAEL ROBERT MYERS – Acting Faculty / Associate Director

mike_photoMike has been teaching & working with John Ruskin since 1999 in both the Ruskin School and Group Theatre. Mike has served as Managing Director for the Ruskin Group Theatre since it’s inception in 2002.  Mike  has produced and directed over 100 plays since 2002.    Mike is a co-creator of the Ruskin Group Theatre’s critically acclaimed  CAFÉ PLAYS, the monthly offering of one-acts that are done in 10 ½ hours from conception to staging. In 2008, the Santa Monica City Council appointed Mike to the cities Arts Commission where he currently serves as Chairman.




AMY RUSKIN – Director of Classes for Young Actors/ Media Training

amy-photoBorn and raised in New York City, Amy was six years old when she fell in love with acting and began performing in plays, film and television. Amy earned her degree in Theatre Arts & Comparative Literature from Brown University and trained in programs with Julliard, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Shakespeare & Company. After moving to Los Angeles, Amy continued training while working in production, supervising many network reality series including FOX, NBC, USA and E! directing on-camera talent, as well as writing scripted children’s shows. Amy is proud to have launched the Classes for Young Actors program in 2009 at the Ruskin School, and is honored to have supported hundreds of students as they have grown into incredible young adults. Amy also merges her training in Meisner Technique with years of directing and cultivating talent to offer unique perspective on Media Training that brings authentic connection and communication to the business world. Amy resides in Topanga with her husband, John, their sons, Bodhi and Cooper and their dog, Champa.



MICHAEL LAURIE – Acting Faculty

michael_photoBorn on the South Coast of England and classically trained by Vivianne Guignard of R.A.D.A, Michael Laurie is also a graduate of The London School of Singing and toured the UK on the Variety Club Circuit as one half of the comedy duo “Scott Free“. Michael had a recurring role on TVS in “Gentlemen & Players” and wrote/hosted “Tattoo“. In the late 80’s Laurie relocated to the United Sates and over the next 11 years appeared as a Stand-up in some of this countries top Comedy Clubs. Laurie is also a graduate of The Actors Institute, NYC and The Ruskin School in Santa Monica class of 2002 after studying the Meisner technique. A founding member of the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, Michael is also a creator/producer/director of The LA Café Plays. Michael Laurie’s numerous theatre credits include: The Fir Tree, Mitigating Factors, Career, The Unsinkable Titanic, Androcles and the Lion, The King and I, Dial M for Murder. Film and Television credits include: Starwatch, Perish The Thought, Mystery ER, Diagnosis X and, Super Kids and Dad.



DANIEL PASSER – Acting Faculty

danny_photoDaniel Passer, a graduate of the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University, is currently playing the lead clown in Franco Dragone’s Le Reve at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Theater credits include: Center of the Starwith Cornerstone Theatre Company, the Lover inDreamplay, the title character in The Servant of Two Masters (Bergamot Station), The Imaginary Invalid (the Actors’ Gang), Rameau’s Nephew,Chicago Conspiracy Trial, and Macbeth (the Odyssey Theatre), She Stoops to Conquer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anthony and Cleopatra, andJulius Caesar (Shakespeare Santa Cruz), and My Birthday Party, a theatrical piece incorporating acrobatics, music, and clowning that he co-created with his partners at We Few Productions. Film credits include Danny Roane, First Time Director with Andy Dick and Jack Black, The Little Death, Music From Another Room with Jude Law, Almost Heroes, and Ted. On television, Daniel has appeared on Monk, King of Queens, Grounded For Life, Providence,Tracey Takes On, and News Radio. Mr. Passer is on the national advisory boards of the Edward Albee Theatre Festival and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.



PAUL DENK – Acting Faculty

Paul has been with John Ruskin and the Ruskin School since 2007 after graduating from the two year program.He became a teaching apprentice before joining the acting faculty at the school. Paul has performed in many of the Ruskin Group Theatre productions including Mutiny at Port Chicago, A Memory of Two Mondays, and Sideways- The Play.



LAUREL BARHAM – Classes for Young Actors

LAUREL J. BARHAM is honored to be a part of the Ruskin School of Acting faculty!  She believes in the mission of the Ruskin School of Acting and loves the artistic community fostered here. With more than 25 years in the theatre, she continuously serves as an acting coach, teacher, performer and director. Performance credits include more than 30 musicals and plays: a few favorite roles include Ainsley (Misadventure), Mama (Night Mother), Madame Thernardier (Les Miserables), The Mayors Wife (Seussical The Musical) Mother Frog/Turtle (A Year With Frog and Toad)) and Betty Blast/Irene (Footloose-the Musical).  An award winning director (“Starmites”, “Scarlet Pimpernel”, “Measure for Measure” “Twelfth Night “, ”Smokey Joe’s Cafe”), she has directed over seventy five one acts, plays, musicals & revues -including Cafe Plays with the Ruskin Group Theatre-  and has produced and directed short films and a documentary. A graduate of The Ruskin School of Acting Two Year Meisner program, she continues to study the craft of acting and the business in Los Angeles and New York and loves to share all she learns with her students. Laurel is known for her passion to inspire young artists to celebrate their individual creativity, while learning to collaborate with their peers. She abides by the philosophy that Theatre is Life and each young actor is encouraged to dwell in the realm of possibilities onstage and off.  Her students can be seen on Broadway, National Tours, Independent Films and Commercials. She is a lover of nature, laughter, silliness, warm hugs and all things Disney- she is proud to be a facilitator in the Youth Education Series program at the Disneyland Resort! Laurel currently resides in Orange County with her amazing husband Robert, awesome son Nathan, adorable rescue dogs Zoey & Tilly and Max the cat.


KAREN LANDRY – Acting Faculty

karen_photoKAREN LANDRY has been working as a professional actress in theatre, film and television for over 30 years. She is also a director and has taught acting for UCLA’s Entertainment Studies in Extension, and for the Ruskin School.

Onstage and on film she has worked across the country from off-Broadway, to the midwest and the west coast. On television she may be best remembered as Myra White,recurring on “ST ELSEWHERE.” But she has been seen most recently in CRIMINAL MINDS, JUSTIFIED, COLD CASE, SIX FEET UNDER, THE DIVISION, ANY DAY NOW, THE PRACTICE, JAG, BEVERLY HILLS 90291(as Hillary Swank’s Mom), PICKET FENCES and STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION among many others.

Karen’s work in film includes roles in AFTER THE DENIM directed by Scott Rosenfeldt, FINDING HOPE, COLLAPSE, LIVE, SWEETLAND, FROZEN KISS,PEACEFUL WARRIOR, SHATTERED, DRAGON WARS,JIMMY ZIP, THE PERSONALS,  as well as writing and starring in PATTI ROCKS with her husband, actor Chris Mulkey.

Off Broadway, Karen and Chris also starred together in PURE CONFIDENCE and FLAGS at the 59E59 Street Theater. Most recently they appeared together in AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY as Mattie Fae and Charlie. In California at the South Coast Repertory Theater, she appeared in EL DORADO, LIPS TOGETHER TEETH APART (as Sally) and THE FAITH HEALER. At San Jose Rep she starred in THE GEOGRAPHY OF LUCK. And in Los Angeles she has worked at the award winning Pacific Resident Theater in MY ANTONIA, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, PRELUDE TO A KISS, and A DELICATE BALANCE, and at the Odyssey Theater she starred in FLAGS with her husband Chris Mulkey.

Karen hails from Minnesota and began her career there at the famous Guthrie Theater, performing in several plays over more than three years as a regular company member. Among her favorite roles there were Stella in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, Elaine in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, and Perdita in A WINTER’S TALE.

Also at the Mixed Blood Theatre she starred as Virginia in THE CLEAN HOUSE, Maddie in PURE CONFIDENCE, Grandma in VESTIBULAR SENSE, and as Emma in the world premiere of FLAGS, Amanda in GLASS MENAGERIE, and at the Jeune Lune Theater in ANTIGONE. She continues to work in theatre there and will be playing a lead role with her husband, Chris Mulkey in AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY at Park Square Theatre this fall, where she starred in FROZEN as Shirley and in THE LAST SEDER.

At the Ruskin Theater in Santa Monica CA she has developed and directed the original plays COME SUNDOWN and JESSE BOY. She also directed several of the popular Cafe Plays and teaches Master Classes there as well. Karen directed the award winning “When They Speak of Rita for the Pacific Resident Theatre, and for ten years directed Orson Bean in his adaptation of “A Christmas Carol”.