We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Castle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Diana, what do you attribute your success to?
We hear from our actors that what sets us apart from other studios is our innovative approach and our heart to heart, life to life care for the working artist. Our favorite stories are when actors tell us that they have witnessed an Imagined Life actor on set and thought…Wow!… I want to do it like that! For us, IMAGINE begins with Imagination and ends with Empathy. Mindfulness, Authenticity, Gratitude, Interdependence, and Never giving up! are core to our mission statement as well. Empathy is at the heart of the actor’s art. We empathize with the people we work with.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my story! Well, I’m the first born child of survivors who believed in “The American Dream.” Dad was a Holocaust survivor and mum survived the blitz of London. They were both in their teenage years during these horrors. They immigrated to New York City, where I was born. My parents loved the arts so, throughout my childhood, they always found a way to take us to the theatre, concerts, and art museums.
In the mid 1960’s, we moved to the south and, for the first time in my young life, I experienced anti-semitism, school segregation and “otherness”. Swastikas were painted on our home and my father was re- traumatized. The only place I felt truly myself was playing music or in the theatre.
All these formative experiences deeply impacted and influenced my interest in beliefs and their consequences, interpretation and our experience, interconnection and interdependence, historical repetition and intergenerational trauma, imagination and empathy.
After receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre with a minor in music performance from Florida State University, and spending a year at The Burt Reynolds Institute for Theatre Training, learning from the epic talents of Julie Harris, Sally Field, Charles Nelson Reilly, Burt Reynolds and many other luminaries of the time, I enjoyed a wonderful career as a working actress and singer in NYC, in national tours, in film/television and on stages around the world.
Thirty years ago, I began coaching actors and forming a philosophy, as well as a practical application to access the power of imagined possibility now known as The Imagined Life.
In 1995, I met my life partner, Steve Tietsort and together we created and opened the theatre/studio space, The Imagined Life, at 5615 San Vicente Blvd. We’ve created a beautiful home for the professional actor. We have four teachers on staff and we offer both day and evening workshops as well as private coaching.
Now- because of Covid19, we’re online via zoom. This has been an eye opening transition because actors are now joining us from their homes in NYC, Atlanta, Vancouver, New Zealand, and beyond.
My job and my joy is in the day to day work with actors using the transformative power of their empathetic imagination to enter a world of imagined possibility.
The Imagined Life is a community of professionals from widely different personal backgrounds and experiences, all dedicated to expanding their capacity as professional empathizers as well as to transforming the “toll’ that “otherness” can take on talent into something creative, authentic, connective and life affirming.
Mentoring the professional actor in this work and play is my great joy.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them?
In my fantasy of leaving my house, ending Covid19 and returning to an “in person” lifestyle, I’d say breakfast depends on where we are headed for the day. If we can wake up really, really early, the Flower Market is amazing. Grand Central Market is not far so that might mean breakfast at Eggslut or exploring the market for interesting foods. A stroll through Little Tokyo is always fun along with a visit to the Japanese American National Museum. Chinatown and Olivera Street are certainly on the list for any friend visiting from oot. We’d also have our aura photographed at Halo Auragraphic in the Downtown Arts District and go to the galleries there. The Brewery Art Walk and Diavolo Dance Theatre are both things I’d go and see if they are happening. Of course we’d go to The Broad and MOCA. We might eat at Otium and go to a show at the Taper or LA Opera. Brunch at KtchnLA is also great. We’d go to the Westin Bonaventure revolving bar at some point- with dinner at Bestia and jazz at the Blue Whale. There’s just so much to do in LA and so many places I didn’t mention! My Two Cents, Powerplant and Bloom on Pico Blvd near my theatre on San Vicente are favorite spots. Ethiopian food on Fairfax, Sasabune traditional sushi on Olympic Blvd, Zuma beach, hiking at Leo Carrillo state park, watching the polo matches at Will Rogers state park, exploring the Griffith Observatory, sailing out of Marina Del Rey, a trip to Catalina Island, The Farmers Market, Hollywood Forever Cemetary summer music and screenings, Yamashiro for drinks and the view, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, art galleries on La Cienega, and so much more…
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this to my incredible staff and to every student and client that I have worked with in the past 30 years. They have all taught me so much.
Facebook: Diana Castle’s The Imagined Life