All About Ronn
Originally from sunny Southern California, Ronnie studied and worked in professional theatre and film in many capacities. For eight years, he was Company Manager of Creation Studies Inc., a California based touring company that focused on issues of faith and social reform. He also worked as a freelance actor, director and lighting designer, and extensively coached actors for university and professional auditions in the Los Angeles area.
In 1991 he moved to New York to pursue graduate studies. Upon the completion of his course work, Ronnie began his second career: teaching. He was Chair of Theatre Arts in Anderson University from 1995 to 2014. In 2007 with Alumni SuzAnne Mathai (MFA Theatre Management, California State University, Long Beach; former Education Director for Long Beach Opera), he co-founded Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project, creating one of the only undergraduate institutions in the country with a model professional company attached to it.
Ronnie is well versed in most of the extant techniques that emerged from Stanislavski's Method (Miesner, Hagen, Adler, Strassberg, etc.), and as such is one of the few acting teachers who knows the lingo from various "schools." The list of Ronnie's mentor's reads like a who's who of American theatre; he studied Improvisation with Paul Sill and Sheldon Patinkin (founders of Second City in Chicago and recognized as the fathers of modern American improve); Viewpoints with Tina Landau & Guy Adkins (founder and ensemble member in the development of the Viewpoints style); Studied the Grotowski Method under Mark Magarian (member of the Polish Lab theatre for three years); Theatre Theory under Dr. Marvin Carlson (recognized as one of the worlds leading semioticians, and America's leading Theatre theorist); Theatre History under Judith Milhouse (one of the world's leading authorities on Restoration theatre); American Popular Entertainment under Brooks McNamara (leading authority on American Popular Entertainment); and Ensemble company structure at the Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago.❝I've not been as interested in the number of letters I can collect after my name as I am in finding the leading scholars and practitioners–and growing from those encounters.❞
Ronnie's acting career spans over three decades; with a resume including such diverse roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Bob Crachett in A Christmas Carol, Mordichi Weiss in A Shayna Maidel, and Lenny in Of Mice and Men. Since coming to Indiana, Ronnie has worked at The Phoenix, ERT, TOTS, Comedy Sportz, The Bonderman Festival with IRT, Arden, AUP and Indy Fringe.
Aside from teaching and performing, Ronnie was president of the board for the Arden Theatre Company, an Indianapolis based Production Company that promotes the work of young Indiana playwrights. As a director, Ronnie has over 30 productions to his credit, ranging from Shakespeare to original and experimental works. He directed the world premiere of Lisa Railsback's Stone Girls Dreaming and the Indiana premier of Lisa Loomer's Living Out.
He is currently Producing Artistic Director of Wisdom Tooth Theatre Project.
What're People Saying About Ronn?
❝If I was in a training program, I would hope I'd be lucky enough to be in one with Ronn.❞ Bryan Fonseca – Founder and Artistic Director, The Phoenix Theatre
❝Ronn, you have taught me so much. Not only about the Art but about being a good human. I will continue to break the rules, but only because you taught me that that is okay, and you taught me how to be brave.❞ Kait Burtch
❝Ronn understands how theatre can transforms people's souls. This work wasn't just about being an actor, a director, a stage manager, or even a lighting designer. It was about connecting to the human experience in the most tender and vulnerable of ways.❞ Nicole Morris
❝I am deeply thankful for what I learned from Ronn and constantly astounded by the places that I find to use the skills and knowledge (and even a bit of wisdom) I picked up a decade ago.❞ Rachel Engelbrecht
❝I learned more about myself though improv games than I thought possible and gained insight and skills that continue to help me to this day in all facets of life. Trust in others and in yourself, the ability to "go-with-the-flow," thinking for yourself, originality, responsibility are all things that are valuable regardless of what path one chooses in life. In fact, I still firmly believe Ronn’s improv training should be a required course for everyone.❞ Melissa Kae Fronckowiak
❝Ronn made grad school a bit disappointing, as I wasn't learning as much as fast as I had with him.❞ Kenny Burgin – Theatre BA '99, MFA '02, Professional Actor, NYC
❝Ronn is an inspiration not only because of his passion for the craft, but because he continues to train himself, he practices what he preaches, and thoroughly prepares students for the joy and pain of the acting life.❞ Holly Laurent – Theatre BA '96, Principal Actor/Writer Second City
❝Discovery, play, and truth are things I learned from Ronn. He helped me realize and reiterated the beauty of just being honest and being myself. I will take that with me the rest of my life.❞ Alicia Bush – Theatre Education BA '10, Masters in Educational Theatre, London's Royal College of Speech and Drama
❝Grad school is awesome, but Ronn was one of the best teachers, mentors, colleague and friend I could have ever asked for. He gave me more than sound training, he gave me direction. That direction is what I now do with my life.❞ Sarah White – BA Theatre '12, current second year MFA student in scenic design, University of Missouri-Kansas City
❝Ronn Johnstone has created a terrific legacy of folks on and off the stage.❞ Matt Socey