Paula Shaw

Paula Shaw is a professional actor, a master teacher of acting and a leader of self-expression courses for non-actors. She started her career in New York City, but then moved to Los Angeles, where she became a member of Lee Strasberg's Actor Studio. It was also there that she got introduced to EST, Werner Erhard's seminar trainings, which later became The Forum.

Paula was an EST graduate seminar leader before she took an acting workshop created by Dan Fauci, called The Mastery, to Esalen Institute in 1988, which  evolved into a 5-day workshop called THE MAX, which Paula has been teaching there ever since. THE MAX became a sort of rite of passage for Esalen staff, and until today maintains a reputation as Esalen's most edgy offering.

I met Paula in 2003, when I was a work scholar at Esalen. I took THE MAX, twice, and was very impressed by Paula's insight into the human condition, and her fierce and compassionate approach to helping students grow. I was fortunate to be able to assist Paula in 2018 and 2019, and I recorded an interview with her on location at Esalen.

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