Russell Porter has been guiding actors though their craft at The First Step Actors' Workshop since it's opening in 1999. After years as a personal coach and mentor for local actors and agencies, Russell realized there was a need to create an honest program where actors could be free to discover their craft and develop confidence and discipline. The focus was to create a safe and supportive program, conducted under the guidance of genuinely caring and capable instructors. This was the beginning of The First Step Actors' Workshop. Russell has an excellent reputation within the industry as being an honest person with a great deal of integrity. Russell is team oriented and committed to quality in every area of the program. Eleven years of experience back him as a professional actor both in the Vancouver and LA markets. Russell has guest starred and played recurring roles on some notable shows such as The X-Files, Sliders, First Wave, outer Limits, The Net, Harsh Realm, and Dead Man's Gun. Russell has also played lead roles in mainstream feature films such as Excess Baggage, Ernest goes to school, World Cup 98, Annie ECO, Convictions, Come together, and Trust. From 2002-2004, Russell co-hosted Shaw TV's daily variety show Urban Rush along side Erin Cebula. He is currently also the President of the Board of Directors for the North Shore Film Festival.
Acting and the Art-form is my lifeline and calling card, and has been for more than half of my life! My objective in each class is to be a part of personal and professional development that encourages and demands every individual's best, so their best keeps getting better. I love this work. We are here because we love what we do, so keep breaking down walls and knocking on doors, opening up more for you than you could possibly have imagined.
An intuitive and sensitive Artist, Laela Selina cherishes the pathways that open up in each and every class; "it's the students who make this such a special place". Laela believes that acting is a therapeutic way of discovering who you are by embracing your unique qualities, listening to your inner "knowing" and in turn, developing a strong sense of self. Laela's goal is to reach out to each individual student so they discover they are truly special, just as they are. "The greatest moment in each exercise is the moment of personal courage".
Felicity Hoeberechts has been with the First Step for eight years. She feels that acting class is one of the only places where you can express yourself with the freedom to be exactly who you are and have the opportunity to discover and become your truest self. Felicity's goal every class is to help the students see their potential and to help them build the confidence they need to grow as an individual and as an artist.
Immersed in both writing and performance her whole life, April is thrilled to be writing and instructing at The First Step Actor's Workshop. April believes the purpose of acting is to kindle the truly vulnerable, brave, and empathetic parts in all of us. Language and intention not only tell a story, but strengthen human connection. Whether it's a professional pursuit, or a personal challenge, acting class is the perfect place to explore oneself, one's body of emotion, and the value of intention. How this can improve other aspects of one's life is immeasurable. April's goal is to provide a safe harbour, encouragement, and an abundance of support, as her students step into a story; defining, not just the character on the page, but also their own.
Clifford Upham has been loving acting ever since he had the power to remember. Clifford has been attending The First Step since 2011 and is a multiple MVP Award recipient! Cliff firmly believes there is no greater feeling than connecting with someone on an emotional level. Acting brings understanding, develops confidence, creativity and the courage to go after what you want. "My goal is not to teach people how to act, but to work with students by providing a safe and supportive environment in which they can push themselves in new directions".
Zach has been loving and pursuing acting from a very young age, and has been assisting at The First Step over the past year while furthering his study of this craft he’s so crazy about. Zach believes that acting allows an opportunity to live entirely without ego, and through that, embody an imagined life that yields clarity to ones own. Zach's goal is to open up each students world by creating a safe environment where they can play, trust and truly embrace who they are.