Sanford Meisner Yoshiko Nakaima Atsushi Dempoya Recruitment News Schedule Map Contact us History Actors Link
Sanford Meisner Sandy who comments. Sandy in a class.

Besides being the most influential

acting teacher of the 20th century,Sanford Meisner also was involved in the production of plays where he taught at the Neighborhood Playhouse in Manhattan, New York. He possessed a depth of modesty and charisma, and was one of the few genuine acting teachers. He never tired of teaching his students to create something believable, that is truthfully, naturally and with feeling.

His students included such actors as Gregory Peck, Joanne Woodward, Diane Keaton, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, Grace Kelly, Tony Randall, and Peter Falk, such directors as Sidney Pollack and Sidney Lummet, and playwrights like David Mamet.

Sanford Meisner was born on August 31, 1905 to Herman Meisner, a Jewish furrier. Meisner attended Erasmus High School and then the Dumrosch Institute of Music. He joined the Theater Guild as a teenager and got his first part as an extra in a film entitled They knew What They Wanted. When he was twenty-five he met Lee Strasberg and through him met Stella Adler, Elia Kazan, and others, and with them formed the Group Theater. The technique used by the Group Theater, based on emotional memory, was derived from the ideas of Konstantin Stanislavsky of the Moscow Arts Theater. From 1931 to 1941, driven by great aspirations, they produced one hit after another on Broadway. During that period Meisner appeared in over ten roles including the leading roles in Clifford Odets’s Golden Boy, Awake and Sing, and Paradise Lost. In 1935 with Odets he coproduced Waiting for Lefty, and it was praised highly by the critics.

It was during this period that Meisner began to formulate his convictions about acting such as the necessity of doing something real and truthful in imaginary circumstances, or that the act of sharing with another actor a space on stage that is believable is virtually the same thing as the creation of a character, or the idea that to an actor on stage, his partner is more important than he himself is (this last idea, Meisner says, is bitter medicine for most actors to swallow. But such is the truth). He began teaching acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in 1935 and in the following year took over leadership and became its principal. After that he has put on marvelous productions both in the field of stage and screen. From 1964 till his death he devoted himself exclusively to teaching.

He is TV program {Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)} of an American master in 1990, and was introduced as "Theater’s best-kept secret" He answered like this at the interview, “My teaching methods grow out of and have been a strengthening and refining of guiding principles we developed back in the days of the Group Theater. Their basic principle was that art is an expression of human experience. I have never abandoned this principle and I never will.” Furthermore, this TV program became an article to TV Journal.

The Neighborhood Playhouse is located in a red brick building near the 54th block of 1st avenue Manhattan, New York. On the wall are some framed slogans. One of them reads, “Act Before You Think”. Another says, “An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words”. The lessons there consist of partners doing improvisations in which the partners work off of each other’s reactions moment by moment. During the improvs from beginning to end he remained mute so as not to disturb the participant’s concentration. But after the students had finished he commented on what they did. For example, he would point out that one of them did not react truthfully or had no reaction at all. He advised his students to base the fundamentals of their art on instinct and intuition. He also said that it is difficult for each actor to find his own inner rhythm and to control its movement; for that reason in order for a scene to have real life in it a delicate balance has to be found and preserved. One has to stay in the present moment.

David Mamet the playwright said that among all the acting teachers he had met, Meisner was the only genuine one. “Columbo”, played Peter Falk said during an interview that from the time he was a young acting student, Meisner was the only teacher he could really respect, the only teacher who inspired in him the desire to continue on in acting.

Sanford Meisner’s last performance was as a patient in 1995 in the TV series ER. When Steven Spielberg such as “A.I.” and “E.T.” saw that performance he said it made him glad to be able to see this great acting teacher who had been teaching the supreme acting method for so many years.

On February 2, 1997 at his home in Sherman Oaks, California this great teacher who had taught thousands of students how to act, went to his eternal rest. He was 92 years old.

Sandy's Message.
The actors who studied the Meisner Method.


運営管理 N・Y アクターズワークショップ
  contact us

Administration  N・Y ACTORS WORKSHOP Tokyo, Japan