As an actor/improvisor, John Dawson trained with improvisation maestro Del Close while studying at North America's famous Second City Theatre, the forerunner and principal casting pool of long-running hit TV show Saturday Night Live.
For over 21 years, John has taught for theatre companies, drama schools, corporations and institutions in the UK, Ireland and Canada. These include The Actors Centre in London, Trinity College’s Samuel Beckett Centre, Dublin’s Gaiety School of Acting, the Galway Film Centre, the Granary Theatre in Cork and Toronto’s Equity Showcase Theatre.
At Dawsondramaworks, he teaches and collaborates with fellow facilitators to provide master-classes and workshops in improvisation, characterization, scene study, audition technique and on-camera acting.
John’s theatrical credits include co-writing and directing three plays devised through an improvisational process that were performed at Dublin’s Andrews Lane Theatre. In 2005 he co-wrote a production for the awarding winning Irish physical theatre company Articulate Anatomy, presented at the Project Arts Theatre.
In the same year he directed ‘Bus Spotting’, a one man tour-de-force, presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which received rave reviews.
In 2012, John directed two one-person shows for that year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and another for the Brighton Fringe Festival.
In 2009, he produced a sold-out charity event; the Comedy Craic Down, a night of improv and sketch comedy held at Dublin’s Sugar Club in support of Oxfam Ireland and SafetyNet. Since then, he has produced and directed numerous similar sold-out benefit events including five 'JUST KIDding: Comedy in Support of Kids in Need' live comedy shows with proceeds going to Temple Street Children’s University Hospital.
From the autumn of 2012 to the summer of 2013, John served as facilitator/producer/director and MC with his own improv troupe, MONDO BIZARRO. They performed live, off-the-cuff improv, both short and long form, at numerous venues in N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Their swan song was 5 sold-out shows at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
For 2 years, he designed and facilitated a series of his own Dramatic Arts for Wellness Workshops for St. James Hospital Dublin. It’s participants were a mix of care users, carers, and mental health care service providers including occupational therapists, nurses, and psychologists. Recently, he facilitated a similar workshop for the new Recovery College at Dublin City University’s School of Nursing and is returning to do more in the autumn of this year.
John has taught his improv-based workshops in Communication /Collaborations Skills and Team Building for many large corporate and institutional clients such as: Google Ireland, AirBnB, DropBox, Twitter Ireland, Dublin Institute of Technology, Krefar International, H.S.E. (Health Service Executive, Ireland)
John is a produced playwright, screenwriter, story & script editor, dramaturge and theatre/film director with numerous feature films projects in development.
Selected teaching experience
2013 - Currently
Improvisation Instructor - Communication/Collaboration Skills & Team Building through Improvisation
Clients: Google Ireland, AirBnB, Twitter, DropBox, Dublin Insitute of Technology, HSE (Health Service Executive Ireland)
May to July 2013
Programme designer & facilitator - Designed and Facilitating a dramatic arts pilot project: DCU (Dublin City University) Cooperative Learning Course: Service Improvement Leadership for Mental Health Service Users, Carers & Service Providers. In association with St. James Hospital, Dublin and the HSE
Sept. 2012 - current
Improvisation Instructor - Learning through IMPROVISATIONAL ‘PLAY’ - for the Young Learner
Classes in collaboration, communication, and team building skills developed through improv - for 1st year secondary school students, St. Gerard’s Secondary School, Bray, Co Dublin
Guest Director/Acting Instructor - Master-class in working with actors and on-camera acting technique, BCS TV and Media Production, Institute of Technology Carlow
Sept. to Dec. 2008
Improvisation Instructor - ‘Train the trainer’ workshop in all aspects of teaching improvisational acting for participants in the South Dublin Arts and Disability Course, a joint venture between South Dublin County Council, Clondalkin Partnership and Stewarts Hospital, Dublin
2000 – 2006
Guest Director/Acting Instructor - Master-class in on-camera acting and audition technique, Samuel Beckett Centre, BAS program, Trinity College, Dublin
2003 to 2005
Guest Director/Acting Instructor - Master-classes in on-camera acting and audition technique, The Actors Centre, London, England
2000 to 2003
Guest Director/Acting Instructor - Workshops in on-camera acting, BTS program, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin
Nov. 2001 to Dec. 2001
Guest Director/Acting Instructor - Workshops in on-camera acting, Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin
1996 to 2003
Guest Director/Acting Instructor - Workshops in on-camera acting and audition technique, Equity Showcase Theatre, Toronto
1996 to 2003
Acting Instructor - Various workshops in on-camera acting, improv, audition technique, Toronto and Dublin
2002 to 2003
Acting Instructor - Workshops in on-camera acting, The Randolph School of Dance and Drama, Toronto
Acting Instructor - Workshop in on-camera audition technique, Galway Film Centre, Galway
Jan. 2001 & 2002
Guest Lecturer - ‘The Art to Screenwriting’, Literary Society, Film & Video Society, Trinity College Dublin
1998 to 1999
Film Studies Instructor - Workshops in on-camera acting, directing, screenwriting, and film production with ‘Lights, Disability, Action!’ Introduction to Film & TV Production, a pan European Horizon pilot scheme for people with disabilities, Kilbarrack, Dublin
Andy Crook - former course co-ordinator of the Professional Actor Training Programme, Trinity College, Dublin Co-founder and Acting coach - ActorTrainingIreland, Dublin
Peter Kearns - Project co-ordinator and professional disability equality consultant
Yvonne Lynch - Light, Disability, Action! Introduction to Film & TV Production,
Project co-ordinator, disability equality consultant