Doreen Cannon

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Doreen Cannon.

Doreen Cannon (21 October 1930) was born and raised in New York City. She trained as an actress at the HB Studio in Manhattan for over 10 years with the famous Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof. Her contemporaries and fellow students were Peter Falk, Geraldine Page, Sandy Dennis, Maureen Stapleton, Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller. She appeared in many plays off Broadway and in Summer Stock alongside such stars as Dorothy Lamour, Robert Alda, Alan Alda and Basil Rathbone. She married an English Property Developer David Cannon in NYC and came over to London in 1959. She was subsequently invited by George Devine to teach master workshops at The Royal Court Theatre.

She was instrumental in being one of the first practitioners to bring over the Stanislavski technique - method acting from the USA. Consequently, she was invited to be Head of Acting at Drama Centre London in 1963. This was the first "Method" school to open in the United Kingdom. She taught and directed there for 20 years and was responsible for training such actors as: Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Geraldine James, Frances de la Tour, Penelope Wilton and Simon Callow, who wrote about his training with Doreen in his book "Being an actor".[1] She formed her own theatre company in the 1970s Theatre 84 which was one of the first fringe companies in London. She produced and directed premiers of European plays never before seen in England. In 1978 she was asked to head teaching acting for Adam Darius Mime School in London.

In 1983 Cannon was invited to become Head of Acting at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).[2] This marked a major change in the training at RADA and after 80 years this was the first time they decided to embrace the Stanislavski technique - Method as taught by Doreen Cannon. At the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art she trained such notable actors as: Michael Sheen, Adrian Lester, Indira Varma, Matthew Macfadyen and Ioan Gruffudd. As well as being known for teaching acting technique at these leading drama schools, she was also invited to guest teach and direct in Sweden at Göteborg Teaterhögskolan i Göteborg and Teaterhögskolan Malmö which she did for over 20 years. Doreen's views on acting were published in a book Masters of the Stage She also conducted various master classes and was a guest teacher at the HB Studio in New York City. She was well known for her Saturday morning acting classes, training such actors as Warren Mitchell, Oscar James and Rachel Weisz, which she conducted lovingly for over 30 years. There are hundreds and thousands of actors and directors from all over the world who owe a lot of their success to Doreen Cannon and her tireless efforts to make them be "Truthful" at all costs. Her son Desmond Cannon was an Executive of Post Production at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her daughter Dee Cannon went on to become senior acting teacher at RADA for the last 17 years and is considered one of the top acting coaches in the United Kingdom Her acting book In Depth Acting was published in June 2012 by Oberon Books And she has recently compiled/edited two monologue books published in Sep 2014 by Oberon Books There is a tribute page for Doreen

Doreen Cannon died on 18 September 1995.


  1. ^ Callow, Simon (1986) [1984], "Being an actor", St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-312-07276-6
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2010-04-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

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