Q&A: Actors Lab Philly’s Bryan Fox
The founder of the Wayne-based studio shares how he got involved in theater.
Bryan Fox of Actors Lab Philly. Photo by Tessa Marie Images.
Growing up in Berwyn, Bryan Fox struggled to find his life’s passion. The Conestoga High School grad eventually discovered acting and spent much of his career in New York City and Los Angeles, landing roles on shows like Bones and JAG. Fox eventually returned home, opening Actors Lab Philly. This year, the Wayne studio is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a new location and a larger space.
MLT: How did you get involved in theater?
BF: I was never a theater kid. I moved to Los Angeles when I was about 22 and took some acting classes. I thought, “If I’m really curious about acting and I want to pursue this, I need to move to New York City and get my butt kicked in life and in theater.” So I moved to New York City, which is where I really studied.
MLT: What inspired you to open Actors Lab Philly?
BF: I felt like I had one leg in LA and one leg at home. When I moved here, I dreamed of offering what was never offered to me when I was younger. I started with six students. Now we have about 10 or 11 classes.
MLT: What are some of the new studio’s features?
BF: It comfortably fits 14-16 [students], and that’s where I’m going to cap it. We’ll be able to do a couple things at once now. Something called self-taping has become very popular. You get an audition for a show in Atlanta or New York or Pittsburgh, we film it, and then we upload it and send it to casting. We just had someone book episodes of Mr. Robot and MacGyver.
MLT: What’s your favorite part about working with aspiring actors?
BF: To watch the personal growth. I [recently] had two who made huge strides in their ability to understand text, get out of their heads, understand quote-reading or in-depth scenes, and apply themselves. That really affects me in a positive way. An actor’s job is being able to get people, to be intimate and connect.
MLT: What do you think of the state of acting in the region?
BF: I wish there was more of it for these actors, but I know that the City of Philadelphia can do it fantastically. [As for film and television], when I moved from Los Angeles, I think there were two television series, and Harrison Ford had a film here. Since then, the series went away. I’m really fighting hard to get it back here in Philadelphia.