our core curriculum

The Meisner Technique

Created by Sanford Meisner of New York Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater, the Meisner Technique creates truthful, emotionally-connected actors. Meisner-trained actors include Gregory Peck, Steve McQueen, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Allison Janey, Dylan McDermott, and Chadwick Boseman.

The Meisner Technique gets you out of your head and into the moment. Using a brick-by-brick process, Meisner gives actors a strong foundation in being emotionally available, truthfully responsive actors. The technique places a heavy emphasis on listening, reacting, and fully engaging with scene partners, thereby creating a natural and spontaneous performance. 

Whether you are an actor interested in deepening your craft or someone looking for greater confidence, spontaneity, imagination, and intuition in your everyday life, the Meisner Technique can help you on your journey.

Meisner’s innovative approach begins with his iconic “repetition exercise,” which serves as the foundation of his technique and is where all training at Actors Bridge begins.

Your meisner foundation

The Repetition Exercise

Meisner Foundation: Module One (Weeks 1-5)
The repetition exercise, a deceptively simple yet powerful tool that requires actors to truly listen and respond, allows authentic emotions to emerge naturally. By breaking down barriers and inhibitions, this exercise is a powerful vehicle through which actors access their true emotional selves, laying the groundwork for performances that resonate with a profound sense of truth and vulnerability. Actors Bridge students begin their training with five weeks of practice and study with the repetition exercise.

in Module One, you will:

  • Develop the ability to be in the present moment with a scene partner.
  • Learn to effectively read human behavior, assign meaning that is personally significant to that behavior.
  • Recognize your organic impulses to stimuli.
  • More deeply trust your intuition, and act upon those impulses and intuition in the immediacy of the moment.
  • Meet once a week with your scene partner to practice.

The Independent Activity

Meisner Foundation: Module Two (Weeks 6-10)
Meisner famously described good acting as “the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.” The Independent Activity exercise puts this maxim into practice by giving students a difficult but tangible task that must be completed in a short amount of time for a compelling reason. The focus on the "doing" rather than the "acting” allows actors to bypass the temptation to perform emotions and instead channel their energy into authentic actions.

in Module two, students will:

  • Develop “actors faith” and ability to create and believe imaginary circumstances.
  • Respond instinctively to stimuli with emotionally authentic behavior.
  • Gain an awareness of “public solitude” and how to build it.
  • Apply Meisner’s principle “to act before you think” in order to move from “impulse to impulse” rather than “cue to cue.”
  • Meet once a week with your scene partner to practice. 

    At the end of 10 weeks, students receive a written evaluation of their work in 4 areas: participation, preparedness, works to full ability, attitude/commitment.

Emotional Preparation

Meisner Foundation: Module Three (Weeks 11-16)
Sanford Meisner's concept of Emotional Preparation can be one of the more elusive aspects of the technique because it is highly individualized and deeply personal. At Actors Bridge, we explore Emotional Preparation using text from Edgar Lee Masters’ "Spoon River Anthology” to investigate a rich tapestry of characters and their stories, each encapsulating a life's worth of emotions, regrets, and aspirations.

in Module three, you will:

  • Apply all the skills built in the first 10 weeks to monologue work. 
  • Gain practical experience with Meisner’s concept of Emotional Preparation.
  • Learn to analyze text and make the language your own.
  • Learn Meisner’s approach to memorization of text. 
  • Develop characters with distinct points of view through 2 contrasting monologues.

    At the conclusion of the third module, students will interview with Meisner faculty to determine the best track to meet their needs going forward. 

Since the pandemic, many of our students have expressed interest in more rigorous acting training. To accommodate these students as well as those whose life circumstances require them to move at a more moderate pace,  we have created two tracks for those seeking further professional training:

IMPROVISATION TRACK : 12 weeks

This track is best for students who know their work/life schedule will allow them to focus on their acting 3-5 hours per week in-class work and rehearsal with a partner. 

These improvisational exercises are built to  deepen actor’s faith as students create believable relationships with complex points of view to explore character and motivation under more sophisticated  imaginary circumstances. 

While attendance is mandatory, students can move forward on the Improvisation Track as long as they have not missed more than 2 weeks of class.

SCENE STUDY TRACK : 20 weeks

This track is best for students who can commit at least 5–10 hours per week on their acting training including in-class work, memorization, research and rehearsal with a partner.

In these classes, students will work with a partner on a scene chosen by our Meisner instructors. After memorizing it in the Meisner way, they will discover how to authentically embody a character’s point of view and respond with the reality of doing as Sanford Meisner conceived it. Students must be available for all classes in the series. Students who miss more than one class will have to repeat the course before moving on to the next.

The Advanced Scene Study class culminates in a public showcase and reception.

FAQ

Find all class times and dates on our Class Schedule page.

Everyone starts in the beginning regardless of prior training or experience. If you have studied Meisner before, we will assess your familiarity with the technique during the first 5 weeks and promote accordingly.

If you have completed the full Meisner series with us at Actors Bridge and wish to return to a specific level, contact us.

The total cost of our Meisner Foundation is $1085. Students may choose to pay the entire tuition up front at a discounted rate of $985.

There is also a payment plan available. A deposit of $185 secures your place in the program. Each of the three modules is then $300, with a $300 payment due by the start of each session. That means you’ll invest $485 at the start of the program, $300 at the top of M2, and $300 at the top of M3.

Electives are priced according to the cost to host them. Find those prices on the Class Schedule page.

Students must be able to commit to attending every class in their module. You must be able to commit to at least Modules 1 & 2 (Repetition + the Independent Activity = 10 weeks) when signing up. We recommend taking all 3 Modules consecutively for maximum efficacy of the Technique.

Attendance in class is mandatory. Students who miss more than one class per module may be asked to repeat the module before moving on.

Yes. If you are interested in taking both tracks simultaneously, please discuss this with your Meisner faculty during your interview. You must be able to put the time and energy into both classes.

If you need to drop a class before the start of the session,  you must give the office at least ONE WEEK’S NOTICE prior to the start of your class or workshop. 

If you do so: any tuition paid toward the class and the non-refundable $100 deposit will be kept on credit at the studio for up to one year, to be applied to a future class or workshop.

If you drop the class ON THE DAY OF THE FIRST CLASS, the full tuition is non-refundable but will be kept on file for up to one year and is also transferable to another student.

If you drop a class MIDWAY THROUGH THE CLASS, you will need to have a conversation with your instructor about when you will be eligible to retake the class. Tuition payment is required to retake the class.

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