Students acting out a scene in acting class

Find Your Inner Actor With Acting Classes From Jeffrey Puukka

March 29, 2024

Ever dreamed of taking center stage and delving into the world of acting? Mt. Hood Community College’s (MHCC) community education program, led by theater director Jeffrey Puukka, is how you can bring those dreams to life. Read on to learn about Puukka’s teaching style, the format of his classes, and feedback from his students.

With a 20-year career as a theater director, Puukka’s journey into theater started with a childhood love for the stage. However, a pivotal moment during a production in his teenage years changed his mind.

“I was interested in acting because I believed in theater from a very young age. Once, I thought I was going to grow up and be an actor, but a negative experience with a director shifted my focus to facilitating and directing,” Puukka said.

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Puukka’s experience includes teaching engagements with organizations such as The American Association of Community Theatres, the Gresham-Barlow School District, Metropolitan Performing Arts, and the parks and recreation platform of the City of Gresham. He also played a major role in developing the Teen Acting Conservatory at Vancouver’s Metropolitan Performing Arts Academy.

Beyond his work with actors, Puukka has also spent time caregiving, mentoring, and serving as a support figure by collaborating with adults coping with developmental disabilities.

“I have a perspective on acting from working with actors in rehearsal and thinking about what is often expected or demanded from actors. I can contribute to developing actors from that perspective that is different,” Puukka said.

Puukka’s beginning acting classes offer a haven for adults to explore acting basics. Through group activities, solo work, and engaging exercises, students build confidence and discover the joy of performance. Puukka’s believes that acting is about “behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances,” fostering authenticity and exploration.

“I want to create a gentle, empowering environment that encourages people to try acting. Just start. Jump in and see where you land, because it could be a very positive twist in your journey,” Puukka said.

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For those ready to build their skills even more, Puukka’s advanced acting class focuses on character development, scene study, and peer collaboration. Students receive personal attention as they refine their craft and prepare for auditions. Puukka’s classes have empowered people to pursue dreams, with students praising his supportive teaching style and the inclusive community he fosters.

“I’ve had students go on to work in several productions, launch successful careers in film, and gain the confidence to step into the spotlight,” Puukka said. Many students have had very positive remarks about Puukka’s classes:

“It was fun as well as helping to bring out a participant’s creativity. It helped the participants gain confidence in their own abilities.”

“He was ALWAYS supportive of all the students and created a safe atmosphere. Every student thanked him for that.”

If you’ve ever dreamed of stepping onto the stage or trying acting, seize the opportunity at MHCC.

Learn more about upcoming acting classes at MHCC