Growing up in Cincinnati, Daina
Griffith was a shy only child who played tennis and thought she would
teach art. She never imagined becoming an actor.
During her senior year in high school, she auditioned and was cast in
the fall play. Griffith enjoyed her first acting experience. At Miami
University of Ohio, her interest in theater increased, and she began
taking voice lessons at the nearby Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
After two years at Miami, She transferred to Point Park Conservatory
of Performing Arts in Pittsburgh.
According to Griffith, “My parents were very supportive of my
decision to pursue an acting career. I attended my first acting class
at Point Park and I was smitten. Initially, I worried because many of
my classmates started acting at a young age and were more experienced.
My late start turned out to be an advantage because I was more focused
and sure of what I wanted.”
Before graduation, Griffith signed with the Docherty Talent & Modeling
Agency in Pittsburgh and joined AEA, SAG-AFTRA. “I started going
to auditions for plays in Pittsburgh and getting roles. I also auditioned
for commercials, voice overs, television roles and films. I continued
to hone my craft and gained valuable experience which allowed me to
make a smooth transition to New York in 2005 to pursue new opportunities.
“New York was exciting, but the competition for every role was
fierce. Pittsburgh was becoming a popular location for filming thanks
to its affordability, the availability of trained actors for supporting
roles or extras, and the tax credits being offered to non-native movie
productions. Because of its location, Pittsburgh actors can easily audition
for theatrical productions in Ohio and West Virginia. I realized I could
be closer to my family and make a good living as an actor in Pittsburgh,
so I moved back in 2008.”
Griffith has extensive theatre experience. She has had several roles
in movies filmed here in Pittsburgh. She played Foley’s wife in
The Dark Knight Rises, Angela in Hollidaysburg, Tilly in Civilians,
and she appeared in the Pittsburgh Dad short film, Street Light
She has appeared in national commercials and the television programs,
Outsiders (she had a recurring role as Ricki in season one)
and Guiding Light. She appeared in the web series, I’ll Call
You and the television pilot Munhall starring Cheers
alum George Wendt. Griffith recently finished filming a television pilot
in New Jersey called Intrusion.
On Mondays, when the theatre is dark, Griffith teaches at the Pittsburgh
CLO Academy. She teaches Audition Techniques, Acting for TV and Film,
and Acting II (character development and scene study). She’s taught
there since 2009. It’s an opportunity to give back to the community
Nancy Mosser of Nancy Mosser Casting approached her about doing some
workshops in 2016. Mosser admired Griffith’s professionalism -
especially her ability to stay calm and focused during auditions. “I
have all ages and experience levels in my workshops,” Griffith
says. “The camera puts people on edge. It restricts where you
can go and how much you can move. You have to develop an awareness of
yourself. It can be as simple as what to do with your hands. You don’t
want to appear stiff, but nervous habits can be greatly exaggerated
on film. Movements as benign as closing your eyes, blinking, swaying,
or cocking your head to the side can be distracting for the audience
and take away from your performance.
“I’m basically a big cheerleader. I want to build up my
students and give them confidence, so I always start out with the positives'
of their performances and show them how to be better. It’s easy
to criticize and tear someone apart, but I know how that feels. I teach
my students the way I wanted to be taught. I have no time for mean people.”
Griffith recently performed in Death of a Salesman at the O’Reilly
Theater in Pittsburgh. She also participated in a reading for the public
of The White Chip for the City Theatre Momentum Festival –
the actors perform with the writer in the room, so he/she can gauge
the audience’s reaction to their work. She will be appearing with
her husband, Daniel Krell, this summer at the St. Vincent Summer Theater
in Latrobe in See How They Run.
“Daniel and I don’t often get the opportunity to work together,”
she says. “We met in 2002 while I was in college. I had a part
in a play he was in, and I was in awe of his talent. We worked together
sporadically for several years before we started dating in 2009. We
were both with other people during that time and didn't begin seeing
each other until suddenly we were both single, and I got up the nerve
to talk to him.
"The first time we played opposite each other was in When the
Rain Stops Falling. We played a dysfunctional husband and wife.
We scream at each other and his character commits suicide, so it was
a very emotional experience. Of the dozen or so plays we’ve done
together, we have played opposite each other four times. See How
They Run is the first farce we will appear in together, so I’m
ready to have some fun.”
For more information about Daina Griffith, visit her website, http://dainamgriffith.wixsite.com/dmg7.
Find out where she will be performing next, view clips of her performances
and find out about her workshops.