The Meisner Studio Curriculum

The Meisner Studio class


“Acting is doing.”  — Sanford Meisner

The Meisner Progression: The core curriculum leads the actors through a progressive and organized process to train the acting instrument by strengthening and challenging all the basic areas of actor training:

1.  Imagination to access and express the full palette of his temperament

2.  Voice and Speech to be resonant and free of habits that might interfere with his ability to communicate

3.  Physical Training to develop the skills and flexibility that the demands of any character he is challenged with may be met with confidence.

The First Year

Meisner based his work on something called “the reality of doing.”  He believed that good acting should reveal the humanity in every character.  In order to be able to do that the actor first has to acquire a deep connection to his own. 

The first year is devoted to developing the actor’s ability to make this deepened connection in all areas of our training: what it means to experience him/herself and another truthfully under imaginary circumstances.

Core classes are supported by stage combat and play. 

The Second Year

The second year encompasses and builds on the skills introduced in the first year.  This year is devoted to transforming; applying the work of first year towards developing character.

Core classes are supported by scripit analysis, clown, and accents and dialects.

Advanced Training

This year is devoted to application of the Meisner Technique in practice. The actor explores craft and character in rehearsals and performance. The fall term is devoted to classical texts from the Greeks, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Shaw and Ibsen. The spring term is dedicated to contemporary and devised work of the students’ own creation. Each semester has a culminating production supported by a design team and fully realized.

Core classes are supported by various master teacher workshops, and classes that include The Business of Theatre, Camera, Singing for the Actor, and Commedia.

Production Opportunities

Second Year Rehearsal Projects

Second Year Rehearsal Projects are the culmination of your Primary Training.  These are workshop productions of full-length plays, directed by one of the full time Meisner faculty.  Each project has seven-weeks of rehearsal and a week of performances in the spring term.

Recent shows include PRIDE & PREJUDICE, by Jane Austen & adapted by Jon Jory, TOP GIRLS, by Caryl Churchill, A FEW GOOD MEN by Aaron Sorkin, LOVE AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Timberlake Wertenbaker, UNITY (1918) by Kevin Kerr, and PICNIC by William Inge.

Third Year Productions

Each term, the entire third year ensemble is cast in a fully realized production. The Fall term picks from the classical canon (Greeks through early 20th Century).  The spring is a contemporary or completely new play.  Each production is supported by a full design team.

Additionally, in the fall, there is a Chekhov project and an Edwardian salon. In the spring, the students devise their own work, alongside playwrights from the Dramatic Writing Department in our class: The LAB.

Recent shows include TROJAN WOMEN: A LOVE STORY by Chuck Mee, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM by William Shakespeare, GOOD BREEDING by Robert O’Hara, 13 by Mike Bartlett, and MARY STUART by Friedrich Schiller and adapted by Michael Poulton.

Summer Intensive: Meisner in Perofmance

This six-week advanced program is also open to students from other studio training who have completed their Primary Training at another Studio or University.  Classes are five days a week, and are all in support of a culminating production. The Summer Intensive counts as a semester of studio training.

Applicants are required to demonstrate readiness with an interview and two monologues. Please contact the Studio Administrator, Jeffrey Withers, at, or (212) 992-6633 to schedule an appointment.

Recent summer intensive shows include OH, THE HUMANITY AND OTHER GOOD INTENTIONS by Will Eno, A RESPECTABLE WEDDING & DRIVING OUR A DEVIL by Bertolt Brecht, JACK OR THE SUBMISSION & THE FUTURE IS IN EGGS by Eugene Ionesco, and SIX SHORT PLAYS by Tennessee Williams