Get to know TAS Coach: Kate Leek

Get to know TAS Coach: Kate Leek

All of our acting coaches are highly qualified working actors who participate in the Film/TV industry in a variety of ways, in addition to coaching acting classes. But we want to give you a more in-depth look at who they are as people
This month we are sharing some insights that will help answer the question, 
“Who Is Kate Leek?” Read on to find out!

What Makes You Feel Confident?

I feel most confident when I learn something new. I get embarrassingly excited about knowledge and being able to share that makes me feel empowered. That, and high heels.

How did you first get into acting?

My mother always had a passion for musical theater and she passed this passion onto me. I soon fell in love with movies and would insert my own dialogue into films so I could pretend I was a character. I was absolutely obsessed with Lord of the Rings as a kid and I wanted to be a character in that world more than anything. When my parents asked me what I wanted for my eighth birthday I replied, “an agent”. I started lessons at The Actor’s Scene soon after and the rest was history.

Kate with family

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

When I was younger and living in Los Angeles with my mom, I missed my family terribly. As a kid, it was difficult to choose between chasing my dream and being apart from them. There was no video chat at the time so it was easy to feel disconnected. As I got older and decided that my true passion was coaching, it was a little tricky to make the shift into a new position. Having to explain my preferred role in the industry to all of those who supported me through my acting career was a bit of a struggle, but ultimately, my loved ones and representation supported it. It was the best decision I ever made. I love coaching actors so much and although I love performing for myself, I find true happiness
in being a coach.

How did you tackle the inner struggle?

It is important to always stay true to yourself. As a kid, I decided to come home to the Atlanta market. It simply wasn’t worth being away from my family. As for the professional shift, I studied the works of many successful acting coaches and used my knowledge as a performer to become excellent at what I do. Even today, I am always continuing to educate myself so I can best benefit the actors I work with. I feel validated by the progress I see in my students every day and that just confirms that I made the right move.

Acting is the ultimate exercise in empathy. As actors, we have the honor of recreating life. I always encourage my students to tap into the details that make us human so they can do their characters justice. Empathetic practice yields genuine performance and in doing so, we exercise self-discovery.

Besides acting, do you pursue any other interests in the entertainment industry?

I have dabbled in producing with some of my friends who are filmmakers and I have published a research thesis through Georgia State University entitled “Drama Therapy: A Character Analysis of the Self”. I am very proud of the year-long research that went into my written experience as a coach and the emotional healing I witnessed in my students through their acting journeys.

Why did you get into coaching?

When I was sixteen and I had just started college. I was working in admin for a talent development company. I would travel for work and there was this one weekend where our acting coach missed their flight and because of my performance background, I was asked to fill in. I was nervous. I was young and I had a serious case of imposter
syndrome. When I taught that first class, I felt invigorated. I was so proud of each performer and they improved so much in such a short amount of time. I remember thinking, “Wow, I think I am pretty great at this”. Based on the feedback from the students, the company hired me on as a coach. I traveled for three more years with the company and coached thousands of actors all across the United States before taking a full time position at a local Atlanta studio.

What is one important bit of advice you always give the students in your class?

Acting is the ultimate exercise in empathy. As actors, we have the honor of recreating life. I always encourage my students to tap into the details that make us human so they can do their characters justice. Empathetic practice yields genuine performance and in doing so, we exercise self-discovery.

What is your proudest coaching moment?

It is hard to pick just one because over the years, I have been blessed with truly magical moments in my classes. That said, there is a student that has always had a special place in my heart. When she was a teenager, she was going through a really tough time. She almost quit and I am so glad she didn’t. We spoke together and I gave her a script that was almost identical to what she was going through. At first, she didn’t want to do the scene so I told her we could pick another one, and we did. She came back to class the next week and said she decided to do the original script. She gave the most raw and honest performance I have seen to this day. I cried, which, if you know me, you know is a rare occurrence. I will never forget what she said next. She said, “feeling someone else’s pain allowed me to heal from my own”. That is probably one of my proudest moments as a coach.

Kate in a Spotify Commercial

What do you hope that your coaching legacy will be?

I just hope that my students feel a fraction of the pride I feel when I see them succeed. I am a huge advocate for drama therapy. I have seen the performing arts function as a platform for healing, confidence, self-actualization, and flat out fun. I aspire to be a coach that caters to the individual needs of each student I cross paths with.

Kate Leek Bio:

Kate Leek has been working in the entertainment industry for nearly twenty years. She has worked and trained as an actor, singer and dancer in the Southeast, Los Angeles, and New York markets. Kate began her performance journey at the Actor’s Scene when she was eight years old and her endeavor as a performer led her to her true passion for coaching. She has been coaching actors, singers, and dancers for twelve years. Kate feels such pride and joy from her client’s successes. Some notable projects her clients have appeared in include, “Stranger Things”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Dear Evan Hanson”, “The Summer I Turned Pretty”, “Salem”, “XO, Kitty”, as well as starring as Simba in the Broadway to urof “The Lion King”.

Kate has her BA in Anthropology from Georgia State University where she
conducted a research project and published a thesis about Drama Therapy, particularly in adolescents. It is her belief that the performing arts not only serve as an artistic outlet, but as a form of healing and growth that nourishes our minds. Her passion for educating actors is evident in her detailed approach that specifically caters to each individual performer.

In addition to this, she is a mother to a three-year-old boy and is currently obtaining her degree as a registered respiratory therapist.

Would you like to work with Coach Kate?

Kate is currently offering private lessons for both acting and singing.

To sign up for a private lesson with Coach Kate, click HERE

You can also give our Front Desk a call at 770-904-6646.

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We’re not (just) playin’ around

We’re not (just) playin’ around

We make acting classes fun, but let’s talk about the Why behind the fun.

“What did you do in acting class today?” 

“We played games.” 

“Games? That’s it?!”

If you are the parent of a child actor, chances are at some point you have had this conversation with your child. You helped your kid memorize the homework for the class all week on top of getting them to regular school, housework, and your own job. Now all they do is play games? 

Or perhaps you are the student it’s happened to in an adult acting class. You work all week navigating the ins and outs of life and prepping your homework only to get to class to play “Zip, Zap, Zop”.

So what gives? Why do acting classes involve so many games and not just, well, acting?

Fortunately I’m here to tell you there is simply more to it!

Here at TAS we not only know acting games are critical for actors, but we know how important it is to know why they are critical.  To do this, we need to break down the types of games that can be played in class. 

The first type of game that students encounter in class is an “Introduction Game” or “Ice-Breaker Game”. These are games specifically designed to get students to open up about themselves in a way that’s fun and not daunting. They are typically only played in the first class or two so the students can get more comfortable with each other. 

The next and most common type of game is the “Warm-up Game”.  If you take any class at TAS you will know it is important for an actor to warm up their voice, face, body, and imagination. The easiest way to do that? A game!

“For an actor, a good warmup will help them relax, will help get rid of any anxieties, and will make an actor more limber up in preparation for the physical demands of a performance. [sic] Drama games and acting exercises also help actors train their voice for performance…Warmups are an essential part of any drama class and actors’ pre-performance routines”


Another benefit we have found when it comes to playing warmup games at the start of class is that it helps to ‘sync’ everyone in the room. Doesn’t matter what kind of (various) environments the students come from, playing a warmup game at the very beginning gets everyone working on the same frequency to approach the day’s lesson.

Okay, we’ve covered the games we play at the very beginning, and our strategy for warmup games… but what else? 

Well sometimes- especially with  young creatives- students get a bit squirrelly in class or find it hard to concentrate on lines when the camera is pointed at them. That’s when “Focus Games” come in handy. These games help students learn how to stay focused on different things like their lines or their scene partner while the distractions of “being on set” are happening. One of the first things our new actors learn is the importance of awareness and intentional focus. These skills are needed on a real film set, and so we practice them in class- and we teach these skills through games! 

But we haven’t even scratched the surface…

There are games like “One Word At a Time Story” that get students listening to each other and thinking quickly in order to create a sentence together.

Games like “Approach the Chair” get students moving and thinking like their characters just by having them walk to a chair and sit in it.

Games like “Create a Scene” get all the students working together and using their imaginations to create a full and detailed picture for their audience. 

Starting to understand? A game is not just playtime; when a student is ‘playing a game’ they are actually working on real acting skills, skills that our coaches are then trained to apply to their lesson and help them grow as actors.

There are so many ways games are useful to actors that The Drama Teacher compiled an article of 100 reasons students should play games. Instead of listing though I asked one of TAS’s newest coaches, Nyah Bass, what she thought about it all and I must say she gave probably one of the BEST reasons to participate in games as actors.

Coach Nyah Bass

-Before I ask you about games Nyah, let’s learn a bit more about you. What drew you to acting?

● “Ever since I was little, I was always fascinated by the framework of the entertainment industry. I was enamored with the “in front of camera” work, but once I got to high school, I started to branch off into the “behind the camera” work. I truly believe getting this perspective made me appreciate my love for acting a lot more.”

-That is an awesome perspective! So how long you have been with TAS?

● “I’ve been with The Actors Scene since 2017. I actually took my first acting class at TAS! After that, I started interning around Summer 2018; I loved it so much that I continued interning while completing my training during the years. Last year, I got the opportunity to become a coach and I’ve enjoyed my experience so far!”

-I’m so glad you stayed with us! What classes do you coach?

● My current classes are Working Actor: Taped Auditions and On-Camera Foundations

-What is your favorite thing about being a coach?

● One of my favorite things about coaching is the in-class discussions that my students and I will have; especially if a student needs more clarification or if one is really passionate about the lesson of the day. As an actor, talking to other actors, we are able to connect and I love to see when my students are eager to learn, as well as asking questions!

-What is your favorite acting/improv game and why? 

● One of my favorite acting games is Channel Surfing (where students act out various tv programs in rapid succession through different characters and genres). This is one that I just recently introduced to my students and they all have the best time! This is a great improv game and I love to see where their creativity takes them throughout.

-What is the value of actors playing/participating in games?

● The value of actors participating in these games is creating a certain sense of trust between everyone. For example, warm up games set the mood and get everyone on the same wavelength for the rest of the class time. Also, I love to explain the significance of the game even before we play it; this answers the “why?” in students’ heads, but also lets everyone be on the same page about the game’s goal.

-Sometimes people can come to class with a single frame of mind. They can feel blindsided by our focus on games. What would you say to someone who thinks it’s “a waste of time” playing these games?

● To someone who would think in-class games are a “waste of time”, as I said earlier, it creates not only trust but encourages teamwork among students. Most, if not all, of these weekly games require multiple students at a time to work effectively. I will always give students time to collaborate and exchange ideas while playing games. 

-Do you have a “go to” game in class if there is extra time and why?

One of my “go to” games in class is Alien/ Gibberish Translator Interview. This is one of my favorite improv games because it requires quick thinking and big creativity from all parties!

Trust. There are lots of great reasons for actors to play games, but trust is one of the most important ones. If you can’t trust the people you are working with, creating with, and on set with then all of your talent is kind of worthless. Acting games teach actors to confidently trust themselves and their team. 

If you want to dive into more games that will build skills while having fun, check out TAS’s Improv classes available to students young and old. Or to learn more about the awesome classes Nyah teaches, visit our website that gives you an in depth look at the class details. Start learning to trust at TAS! 

Ready to get started? Reach out today!



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About The Author

Kirsten Krehbiel

Kirsten Krehbiel is an Atlanta based actress, director, and writer who enjoys bringing people new truths through the art of storytelling. She has a love of acting both on camera and on stage, having been lucky enough to be a part of incredible productions in both worlds. Kirsten joined the TAS team in 2020 as a coach, a job she loves because it lets her watch first hand as students grow and gain self confidence as actors. When she is not creating or coaching, you can find Kirsten hanging out with her grumpy cat on their back porch. 

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