Ever wonder if your body language is sending mixed signals? Professor Danny Campbell’s movement class explores in order to make actors more aware of where they move from and where they hold tension. “Through manipulation, I give actors tools to physically manipulate their bodies on stage and in life and to take responsibility for what their body is communicating,” said Campbell.
Campbell joined Pepperdine this year as a full time professor of theatre. Campbell has been an adjunct faculty member for the past four years and is excited for the opportunity to spend more time with students. Campbell teaches two introductory acting classes, a movement class and one senior acting class.
“I love Danny and I love his class,” Senior Laura Cook said. “It’s probably one of the best acting classes I’ve taken at Pepperdine. He’s great to work with.”
Campbell teaches the Suzuki Method of acting in his classes. He says that that it is important for actors to learn as many different styles of acting as possible. “Most actors I know create their own styles,” Campbell said. “Actors take what they know from different styles and make it their own.”
Although this is Campbell’s first full-time year, he is no stranger to the Pepperdine theater program. He has previously taught a variety of theater classes and has served as a dialect coach for “The Rivals” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” a flight choreographer for “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Grapes of Wrath,” and a movement coach for “On the Verge” and “Cosi Fan Tutti.” Campbell has directed “Electra, The Weir, Senior Showcase 2005” and will direct Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” next semester.
“Danny’s enthusiasm is contagious. He makes you want to work for him because you know how hard he is working for you,” senior Elice Giorgione said.
After receiving his Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut and Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware, Campbell went on to act in commercials and various plays as well as teach at Santa Monica College, California State University of Northridge, Oxnard Community College, and the High School for Performing Arts.
“One of the reasons I love teaching is I get to live theatre and get paid for doing what I love,” Campbell said. “You need to love what you are doing. It is very difficult to have a fulfilled life in the acting business or in theater. The odds are against you making money in this business.”
Campbell first began acting shortly after joining choir in high school to be around all the girls in the class. The musicals at his high school were mostly women and usually required a lead male role that wasn’t required to sing. From participating in the plays, Campbell found his true calling: theatre.
“I enjoyed the process,” Campbell said, “the work, and creating something off the page into a real-life person.” Campbell continues to act in a Shakespeare company and does Commercial work.
Campbell was in the play “Hamlet” last summer that was directed by his wife. “Everyone I know is in the business. My friends are in the business…even my wife is in the business. My wife does voiceovers, teaches, and directs.”
How do Pepperdine actors measure up? Campbell they are “perfect for Hollywood.” Campbell said that Pepperdine is an excellent school for acting training. “For theater and acting you can never stop training. I help actors to realize how much more they need to train. It never stops.”
Campbell says that next semester’s “Twelfth Night” is going to have a contemporary setting and a variety of music for greatest appeal to all students. Campbell’s introductory acting classes are open for non-majors.
“Theatre is a great opportunity to create something real and alive,” Campbell said. “It’s too late to stop acting and doing theater. I don’t see theater disappearing from my life ever.”