NYFA New York Acting Faculty: Interview with Josephine Wilson

August 30, 2022

Our NYFA Acting for Film faculty helps students develop practical acting skills using a hands-on approach. Josephine Wilson, Chair of the Acting for Film department in New York, uses her ten years of experience acting, directing, and teaching at the nationally-acclaimed Shakespeare & Co in Lenox, MA, where she’s a company member, to guide students and help them build confidence in their craft.

Josephine moved to New York in 2015. She’s since been teaching at NYFA and is heavily involved in a number of theatre companies, both acting and teaching in them, and has also co-created and written shows herself.

NYFA Acting for Film Chair, Josephine Wilson


During her time with Shakespeare & Co, Josephine studied under Tina Packer and dove deeply into Kristin Linklater’s work in the place where it was created and developed. Following her move to New York, she helped Lincoln Center Theatre develop its Shakespeare curriculum for schools and has taught in its programs since 2015. She is a member of The Humanist Project, a theatre company that devises new pieces rooted in the classics, and was a part of a five-person Macbeth performed at the Secret Theatre. She was also in Macbeth for South Brooklyn Shakespeare, was a part of the Shakespeare Society’s exploration of Richard III, and co-created a clown show called Quantum Fairy Tales

She has also written and developed her own show, Psyche, which she performed at Dixon Place, and most recently, she played Dori Mae in Nathan Brewer’s short film, No Loss Here (2020). Her regional performances include Annie in Table Manners, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Miss Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

We sat down with Josephine to talk about her love of acting, her favorite films and acting performances, and what advice she’d give to acting students looking to get started.

New York Film Academy (NYFA): How did you first get interested in acting? 

Josephine Wilson (JW): In 4th grade, I had a teacher that was very excited about Shakespeare and would act out the plays for us in class. She encouraged me, and I began memorizing and acting out scenes in my bedroom in my free time. Out of this, I joined the Junior Musical Playhouse Company, in which I got to act in several wonderful productions. It became a passion and an obsession. 

NYFA: What have been your favorite projects/productions to work on to date?

JW: My favorite project was a short film I got to work on called No Loss Here, directed and written by Nathan Brewer. It was an important story about Alzheimer’s that had a wonderful message of love.

NYFA: Tell us about your time at NYFA.  

JW: I have been with New York Film Academy as both a teacher and administrator for seven years. I began in the Acting team for the Musical Theatre department and joined the Acting for Film department in 2018. 

NYFA: What are your favorite courses to teach? 

JW: I love teaching Acting Technique, Scene Study, and Shakespeare. I think these classes are immersive and fun. 

NYFA: How would your students describe your teaching style/methods?

JW: I am most interested in playing. How can you create the game in your scene work that brings your acting to life? I also want my students to learn to be very curious about the other actors on stage with them by listening to their whole being. This is where the exciting human behavior begins. 

NYFA: What are your favorite aspects of the film and acting community in New York?

JW: New York is ambitious and intelligent, but it is also fun. The film and acting community reflect the vibrancy of the city. You can find any kind of show you could possibly desire to see; turn the corner, and a film is shooting on the block. I love that there is room for creativity and that the actors in the city are highly skilled and trained. It is a wonderful place to work. 

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NYFA: Who do you believe have been some of the most significant actors/actresses in film?

JW: Marlon Brando and James Dean changed modern acting. Meryl Streep is undisputedly one of the greatest actors to grace the screen. Mark Rylance is the most alive actor I have ever seen on stage and on screen.  

NYFA: What are some of your favorite films/tv shows and performances?

JW: I am a true nerd. I love Star Wars (1977-2019), The Princess Bride (1987), Game of Thrones (2011-2019), Labyrinth (1986), and all of the epic adventure movies and shows. I think the best films and tv shows can transport us to another world but still reflect our human needs and emotional life. As for my favorite performances, I will never forget Minnie Driver in Good Will Hunting (1997). You can literally see her heartbreak moment by moment when Will tells her he doesn’t love her. That vulnerability and moment-to-moment specificity is something to strive toward.

NYFA: What advice would you give a prospective student looking to get started in acting?

JW: Practice, practice, practice. Get curious about what works and what doesn’t work, get help from others and begin to collaborate with people who share your same passions. Acting cannot happen in a vacuum, so it takes diligent work and a community to grow.

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