Chapter 1 of 28 from Helen Mirren



To start her MasterClass, Helen demonstrates a simple act that’s one of the hardest things for an actor to do: walking naturally. She then introduces you to the world of acting and the empty space that will be your classroom.

Topics include: Introduction

To start her MasterClass, Helen demonstrates a simple act that’s one of the hardest things for an actor to do: walking naturally. She then introduces you to the world of acting and the empty space that will be your classroom.

Topics include: Introduction

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren Teaches Acting

In 28 lessons, the Oscar, Golden Globe, Tony, and Emmy winner teaches her process for acting on the stage and screen.

Learn More


Find freedom in your roles

Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy, and Tony winner Helen Mirren is one of the greatest actresses of our time. In her first online class, she discusses the dualism that is core to her method: the necessity for mastering technique (craft) and then letting go so that your imagination can take over (art). Learn how to break down a script, research characters, and master techniques so you can transcend them to find freedom in every role.

Helen brings you behind the scenes to show you the secrets of her acting technique.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Helen will also critique select student work.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This could well be a Master Class on learning how to be your own self with grace. Helen has truly mastered her craft, this is an amazing class.

Helen Mirren is an absolute acting darling! She transfers to the students the absolute and utter need for naturalism, and most of all, the need to embrace human qualities and emotions; to not run away nor be scared from them, but rather, to be thankful for them. This class is worth every penny!

I am totally motivated and inspired to move on and take more acting classes. It has been so exciting to watch Helen Mirren and learn about her experiences.

Learning from one of my favourite actors is a dream come true. Now I need to digest many tips and apply them to daily life as well. Thank you all so much for this unique and powerful masterclass


A fellow student

I loved how she ended the piece with saying how "we are storytellers." It is something absolutely true. We are the catalyst on which the story is told.

A fellow student

SO much insight just in that intro. The idea of simply walking to the chair is so good! My greatest challenge in acting is the overthinking. So excited and happy she started how she did! BRILLIANT

A fellow student

When I saw this on SM I had to take this course because of Helen M! She's like my idol (among Angelina Jolie, Gal Gadot, and Orlando Bloom). This is a once in a lifetime experience that shouldn't be missed. I'm an aspiring author, and one of the many things they've suggested is to take courses in film studies (screenwriiting and whatnot) to help you with scenes, etc. So this will also help with my writing skills.

Massimo G.

I'm doing an emerging works class, in where at the end of the semester we produce student written, directed and performed plays. I am both the writer and director of a 30+ minute play, and as such, I wanted to immerse myself in an acting Masterclass., to better help guide my cast. Already from this first video, I can see that this will be a very educational and valuable resource. Very excited to move forward.

David (.

I was a background performer on a Christopher Reeve HBO film which took place in the "Dust Bowl" days, and I did exactly what she described in her opening. How funny is that!

A fellow student

This was awesome and a great way to begin the class. A powerful lesson. I'm a sports broadcaster, who now has been dabbling in acting for about a year. I remember one of the first lessons I received when I was a young intern at my first TV station. I tried mimicking (in mannerisms and sound) like one of my broadcasting heroes, the late Stuart Scott, on my first demo reel. My boss was looking at the reel, critiquing it and noticed that I was using lines from Scott. He stopped the tape and said, "Al! This isn't you! When that camera is on, you have to be natural and be yourself. The audience can sense if it isn't natural!" An important lesson whenever that really relates to this introduction video from Helen Mirren. Excited to continue!

Gabrielle G.

I love her connection between nature and acting. to act, you must be ready. to be ready, you must be calm.

Bobbe N.

All will be revealed in the open space is spellbinding storytelling at its best. The stage was perfectly set and Helen Mirren is a natural, captivating teacher.

Jamal H.

Very Simple and great introduction. I found myself thinking about how I walk and then I realized that I don't really even think about walking as I walk, so that is a very simple yet hard thing to discern.

Galiya Z.

A very simple but open minding introduction. I absolutely loved the idea of an empty space.


So I just did what I consider to be one of the most difficult things to do in my profession of acting, which is to walk as yourself. Just to be yourself walking, is peculiarly difficult. I don't know how well I did it just now. Certainly off stage, before I walked on, first of all, I had my hands in my pocket. And then I thought, no that's fake. You're just trying to be casual. Take your hands out of your pocket. So I did. And then I thought, how do I do this? How do I be as real and as natural as possible? All of this stuff goes through your mind really fast. And then I thought, the only way to do it is simply, in my mind, to have the intention-- and this sounds so silly-- to walk to the chair. That's your whole intention. You just think, I got to get to that chair, and I've got to sit down. And that was all I did. But you know what? That was acting. Because here we have an empty space. I very much wanted to start my Masterclass in an empty space. As you will see later on, this space will become filled with elements, with costumes, with props, with all sorts of different things. All the tools of the acting trade. But basically, at its heart, our world of acting is an empty space. It's an empty space that we fill with our imagination, with our technique, with our philosophy, with our poetry, with our passion, with our fears, with our insecurity. It's funny about walking, you know. I was watching a young actor the other day on television. And this thing of walking naturally is peculiarly difficult. And I'm going to show you what he did to try and look natural. And I'm going to do it for you. What he did was sort of this. He had his hands in his pocket, and everything about him was trying to look natural. So when he walked, he kind of kicked his feet like this. And when he turned he kind of turned like this. And then if he did a gesture, it was kind of, oh, I'm so relaxed. I'm so natural. It communicated just unnaturalness. In our world of acting, we are constantly seeking for nature. Nature and art, and nature in art. So I wanted to start this in this open, empty space. An empty space into which we put our fears, our terrors, our imagination-- above all our imagination-- our poetry, our philosophy, our storytelling. Because that's what we are. We're storytellers. I'm Helen Mirren. And this is my Masterclass.