John-Riley O’Handley is an early career actor and producer. He has also recently begun teaching through Irondale with residencies at Columbia, NYU, CUNY, and Rockaway Water Alliance.

He is a recent graduate from the Actor’s Studio MFA program in New York City, and is currently a finalist qualifying for his lifetime membership. John-Riley is a dedicated artist often portraying anti-hero types, that can’t get out of their own way, or playing the best friend/partner full of doubt that eventually is won over; becoming supportive of the leads and helping them overcome their obstacles. Offering conflict in the story, whether internal or external has offered John-Riley the ability to stand out in any role, and his dedication to collaboration, and developing with others has always ensured a professional and rewarding experience for everyone he has worked with. 

John-Riley is a Canadian born actor, producer, and educator who found his love of acting at a young age, attending the prestigious Unionville High School with a concentration in drama, followed by Dalhousie University in Halifax Nova Scotia, graduating with a major in Theatre and minor in Business. John-Riley was the recipient of many awards throughout his education, and was honoured with an ACT-CO award for his performances in Suddenly Last Summer. John-Riley has originated several roles in new plays including the role of Kevin in the Governor General Award winning play Bone Cage. 

Following his post secondary education, John-Riley founded the Toronto-based theatre company Workhouse Theatre and spent several years producing and acting in stage productions focused on bringing local Toronto writers works to the live stage. While in Toronto he also produced a handful of independent films and acted in many short films, web series, and television series.

John-Riley took his passion for theatre and his love of acting to New York City in 2015, where he was accepted into the prolific Actor’s Studio masters program. Committed to learning from the masters of the art, John-Riley has taken on many roles. From comedy to intense drama, he throws himself into each role with complete commitment and an unmatched work ethic.

John-Riley’s impressive list of stage and screen work include television, film, web-series, and live performance, as well as producing. John-Riley is a committed and hard working actor who views the medium as not only a way to express himself, but to convey a greater message to others who view it. His ability to play the roles with varying demands, shy or brazen, kind or terrifying, gives him the breadth needed to truly stretch his wings as an actor. His innate need to match challenge with hard work and a studied determination makes him an ideal actor both to direct as well as to work alongside. His humility and sense of humour (ever so the Canadian he is) makes him a lovely presence behind scenes on set and in the wings of the stage, and actors and directors alike have praised working with him time and time again.

John-Riley wishes to continue to do good work, bringing lesser known artist’s work to the stage and screen, to help create and give life to those stories that touch the heart, that stir the mind, that challenge the norm, and to open our eyes to a new way of seeing.


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