Mr. Meisner spent the last decade of his teaching career at Playhouse West.
There is no acting school in the country like Playhouse West. While there are many imitators of Mr. Meisner’s work and Playhouse West, the Playhouse West Program is exclusive to us.
Mr. Meisner spent the last decade of his teaching career at Playhouse West. During that time, he was still evolving his method and adding new exercises and enhancements to his original exercises. Only we are heir to those improvements and additions and therefore, exclusively offer the final version of the Sanford Meisner Technique.
In addition to offering the very latest in the Meisner approach to acting, we are not without other influences. The founder of Playhouse West spent years working with the legendary teacher, Stella Adler, who was a friend of Mr. Meisner and fellow Group Theater member. So we have incorporated her brilliance into our program as well. The founder of The Group Theater, Harold Clurman, is also an influence. His classes on acting and playwriting were experienced by us as well. Elia Kazan, the director of “East of Eden” and “On the Waterfront,” played a personal role also in our evolution.
It is Harold Clurman and Elia Kazan who both believed in the value of like trained actors working together over a long period of time. Harold found The Group Theater for that reason, and Kazan, The Actors Studio, for the same reason. Give talented people a place to work together for years and something magical happens.
Hence, the Playhouse West Program does not have a conventional starting or stopping point. One enters into this work at any time and becomes a part of an ongoing group from which they can learn. Everyone progresses at their own rate of speed through the technique. There is no graduation or end point, for how could there be with a creative endeavor?
James Franco, one of he leading actors of our day, stayed here between 8 and 9 years, during which time he would work on his professional roles I the classroom, or write, direct, and act in plays in our three theaters, or produce films which he would enter into the Playhouse West Film Festival. Scott Caan, star of “Hawaii 5-O,” followed the same path. He not only honed his acing skills here for a decade or more, but also became a writer, putting on his own plays, eventually writing movies and recently returning to teach our members using his own plays for their material. Star of film, television, and Broadway, Ashley Judd, was likewise here for many years, and an original cast member of our original award-winning play, ‘Welcome Home Soldier,” which has run over 25 years and provides forty of our members a chance to act onstage every time we do it.
The founding of Playhouse West was born of the idea that Meisner-trained actors needed to continue to work together with others of like approach. The incredible actor, Jeff Goldblum, was one of the original founding members of Playhouse West and has shared his knowledge over the decades with us through teaching classes and doing plays here. His talent and knowledge of acting has been a great gift to the school and is one of our ongoing influences that separates us from so many other academies.
An outgrowth of the acting program is the doing of plays in our studios and the making of movies. Our members produce over 100 films a year using Playhouse West members. Plays are constantly in production, using our members exclusively. This is all part of the ongoing training we offer at Playhouse West. And for those who have produced films, we put on a three day Film Festival to show the best ones and to give out awards. All this is an incentive to keep or members working together and to give them an artistic community from which they can learn and grow and not become overwhelmed with the ups and downs of the business side of acting. Our advanced-level classes are always putting on mini-productions of scenes and one-act plays they develop. We also have special classes in which our members can practice their auditions.
We have our own Film School where our members can learn the nuts and bolts of filmmaking, and not have to wait for someone to give them a job. Along with that, we house one of the best Comedy Improv training and performance situations in Los Angeles. Space does not permit here all the advantages of being a member of Playhouse West, but we, like Mr. Meisner, are continually evolving and new and exciting things are happening all the time. We would welcome you to be a port of the EVOLUTION!
You are sitting in on a Level I Class at Playhouse West. Playhouse West has been training actors, directors, and writers in Los Angeles for over thirty-five years. Our reputation for excellence is not only nationwide, but world-wide. Actors come here to study from England, Russia, Australia, South Africa, India, and many other countries. Playhouse West is recommended by leading agencies and management companies as a training ground for their clients. Our members have gone on to achieve success at all levels of the industry, from Academy Award nominations to Golden Glove winners, from film producers to the creation of television shows, from starring in motion pictures and television, to Emmy Awards for acting and writing, to starring on Broadway. (See the partial list of our members inside)
Our impact upon the Los Angeles acting scene has spurred the opening of a Playhouse West in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a Playhouse West Lab in Brooklyn, New York.
Playhouse West was chosen by legendary teacher of acting, Sanford Meisner, as the venue for his last decade of acting classes. While many claim to teach The Meisner Technique, only a handful have first-hand experience with Mr. Meisner himself, let alone ten years of work with him as we have. So our presentation of this approach to acting is legitimate and first-hand, something very few can claim.
We have always believed in not charging overly expensive rates for classes, which break the budgets of the students and limit their ability to continue their work for an extended period of time. As with any profession, time-at-task is fundamental to success. So our payment structure is designed to support our students in their career objectives, more than it is to support ourselves.
In addition to our regular twice-a-week classes, we also offer Comedy Improv classes with regular performances, a Film School, writing classes, audition classes, a Commercial Class, and a multitude of special events and classes at easily affordable rates.
We have been given seminars by special guests such as Academy Award winning director, Sydney Pollack, Academy Award winning actor, Rod Steiger, Academy Award winning director and actor, Mel Gibson, tony winner, Julie Harris, Academy Award winning actor, Martin Landau, Tony Curtis, Eli Wallach, ect., as well as top-level writers agents, managers, casting directors and others.
Our members not only work in their classes, but as part of our program are given the opportunity to appear in our stage productions at our three theaters. They are also cast in our film productions. Over 100 films a year are produced by our membership and shown at the prestigious Playhouse West Film Festival. One of the films produced at our school, “Little Surprises,” and directed by staff member, Jeff Goldblum, was nominated for an Academy Award.
The students you will see in your audit have either just started their training or may have been working with us for several months. The exercises you will observe have at their root, two clear guidelines: (1) acting is more instinctive than intellectual, and (2) it is vital for the actor to connect with their partner.
Membership is granted on the basis of an interview with the teacher after the class you have observed. If qualified, a schedule will be worked-out and an acceptance form granted. Membership is on a month-to-month basis. Training may begin anytime in the month, in which case, the monthly fee is pro-rated.