Acting Coaches

Jeff Alan-Lee, Artistic Director

Jeff Alan-Lee is the Artistic Director of The Young Actor’s Studio, and a top acting coach Los Angeles. He has taught and directed young people for over 20 years, both in New York and Los Angeles. Jeff was a former child actor himself and began acting with his own television series at age 9. He was Andrew McCarthy’s co-star in Warner’s feature, The Beniker Gang, featured in Whispers In The Dark, co-starred with Andrea McArdle in the Broadway tour of Snoopy and in Huck Finn (directed by Broadway legend Joshua Logan). Television includes guest-star roles on As The World Turns, The Street (Universal TV), Could it Be a Miracle and many others. Other leading roles in professional regional theatres include: Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Lion In Winter, Orphans King Lear, and Losing It (Directed by Home Improvement’s Andy Cadiff), and most recently critical acclaim for the lead role in The Zoo Story with Mark Taper Foundation and Deaf West. Jeff has a BFA from New York University and has taught and directed at private schools, public schools, youth shelters as well as teaching and directing children and teens at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institutes in New York and Los Angeles. Some of his students include Shia LaBeouf and Scarlett Johansson among many other great actors.

Andrew Shafer, Producing Director

Andrew Shafer received his B.A. (cum laude) from UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television (playwrighting emphasis). Recent writing credits include: Weak/Side/Help (Guignol Theater- Lexington, Kentucky), Colossus of Rhodes (Tri-State Actor’s Theater- New Jersey), Touch of Genius (Senior Theater- Washington D.C.), Checkpoint in the Safe Zone (development with Moving Arts, and Athena Theater), Electra (Theater/Theatre- Hollywood), Wonderland (The NoHo Actor’s Studio), and Infinite Glory (in development with A Theatre Connection); screenwriting credit- Hollywood Desertion (developed with Breakout Entertainment, Boulevard Industries), This Shining City (in development with Triangle Road Productions). Other credits include directing Ryan Scott Oliver’s Making Beautiful (Powerhouse Theater- LA Times “Recommended”), and producing “Portrait of the Architect in Ruins” (The New LATC), Eugene Ionesco’s “Exit the King” (The NoHo Actor’s Studio), and “Detective/Partner/Hero/Villain” (A Theatre Connection). He has been a producer of new works development at The BLANK Theater (Hollywood, California), and at the Los Angeles Theater Center. He is currently Managing Director of The Young Actor’s Studio

Leila Birch

Leila has been acting since she was nine years old. She trained at The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London, studied Shakespeare at R.A.D.A (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), Learned Sketch and Improvisation at The Second City Conservatory and when she was only 15 attended the Stanislavski Summer program at Yale University.
Leila has worked extensively in film, television, radio and theatre in the U.S. and the UK, for companies such as NBC/Universal, FOX, ITV, DreamWorks, Sony, E! Entertainment, BBC Television, Warner Brothers, EA Games, The Style Network, Carlton, Nickelodeon and many more. For three years Leila played the series regular ‘Teresa di Marco’ in the U.K.’s BAFTA award winning BBC drama ‘EastEnders’, with ratings as high as 28 million viewers.

In 2014 Leila was thrilled to be cast as ‘The WABAC’ in DreamWorks animations ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’, as the voice of Fox Sports 1 & Fox Soccer and for four consecutive years has been asked by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles to be the ‘Voice of God’ for their BAFTA Britannia Awards.

Leila has been teaching since 2002 and is very happy to be working with the Young Actors Studio.

Khanya Mkhize

Khanya Mkhize is originally from South Africa, and has over 25 years in the industry. She began her career as a child in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson on Broadway. Months into the run she landed a role in Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang, as the sassy little girl in the art school. She’s also appeared in three seasons of One on One as Arnaz’s love interest Ginger, and two seasons of Lincoln Heights as Ta’Wanda. Since making the move from Philadelphia to Los Angeles she’s appeared on numerous television shows including Boston Public, The Shield, Brothers and Sisters, Monk and many others. Khanya is also a voice over actress and has been featured in many films including, For Colored Girls, The Soloist, Why did I get Married, Invictus, Happy Feet, The Incredible Hulk, Idlewild, Talk to Me and many others. Khanya is a graduate of New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts (Atlantic Theatre Company), a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, and currently teaches Acting Technique at the Young Actor’s Studio in Los Angeles