Training Methods & Techniques
METHODS: Our training incorporates several techniques and modes of delivery. They all stem from our belief in the collaboration between the actor’s mind and body in the creative act.
The Viewpoints is taught world-wide and is considered to be a fundamental part of actor training. It’s a theory, and a language for training, rehearsal and creating new works. This approach helps artists work with the core elements of performance. Like an artist’s “color wheel” describing how colors relate to each other, the Viewpoints lays out the material qualities of Time and Space for performers.
There is a wide spectrum of methods with different strengths and virtues. Your instructors have trained close to the source in an array of techniques. To get a solid foundation, you’ll want to give each method a real workout with well-written scenes that have high stakes. You’ll laugh, cry, love, rage, win, lose, play. Our scene workshops are designed to help you break boundaries.
Crosspoints is unique to our school. It’s a framework for integrating different practices and theories of performance cohesively. It combines performance and analysis in active, physical exploration. Crosspoints are for stage, film, musical theatre, opera and more. Mary Overlie has called it one of the first cohesive acting systems to incorporate the Viewpoints.
“Write In The Now” Writing Technique
Write in the now is a writing technique that taps into the actor’s intrinsic knowledge of character and motivation. This liberating process allows your characters to speak openly, silencing your inner critic and helping you deepen your performance and develop new works.
Camera performance is subtle while requiring as much depth and emotional power as a Shakespearean soliloquy. You’ll need experience with how technology and performance interact. All “dailies” from your sessions are made available to you online for you to review with your notes. Our coaching sessions include units on editing and publishing a project so you’ll be familiar with what kinds of coverage a director needs. You’ll also be able to shoot, edit and publish a show reel or self-tape for an audition.
A live audience helps you develop the arc of a performance. You also have to manage your performance adrenaline by putting it to use rather than letting it interfere. There’s nothing like the immediacy of live feedback. Once every semester we host a scene showcase for an invited public audience of friends and family.
Each semester we create a list of special topics and have industry specialists speak from their professional experience. These are open to the public and might include topics like goal-setting, actor’s life and business coaching, networking, auditioning and getting an agent. The list varies according to the needs of the class and the availability of speakers.
Our online courses are designed to be stepped through in 15-minute segments. They cover a range of topics from performance history to acting theory and the ins and outs of a film set.
Our introductory courses are free.
References & Further Reading
INFLUENCES & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Our work owes to several master teachers and pioneers. Our methods are a blend of practical studio work and research with these resources.
Mary Overlie (The Six Viewpoints)
Sanford Meisner (The Meisner Technique)
The Meisner Technique emphasizes the power of an actor’s imagination to create, and hold on to, the circumstances of a scene. Rather than conjure past memories or work solely from the intellect, this work places you actively in the “here-and-now.”
- Wikipedia | Sanford Meisner
- Wikipedia | Meisner Technique
- “Sanford Meisner – Theater’s Best Kept Secret” by The Playhouse Repertory Company
- The Meisner Center (L.A.)
- The Alex Taylor Studio: Training Actors, Building Careers
- Wikipedia | Alex Cole Taylor
Anne Bogart & SITI Company
SITI Company is renowned for their fusion of different training methods. Anne Bogart, the founding director, developed a version of The Viewpoints for her theatre work and combined it with Tadashi Suzuki ‘s unique Actor Training.
- Wikipedia | Anne Bogart
- Wikipedia | Sratoga International Theater Institute
- SITI Company Vimeo Channel
- Wikipedia | Tadashi Suzuki
- The Suzuki Company Of Toga, Japan (SCOT)
- “The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition” by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau
- “A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre” by Anne Bogart
- “Culture is the Body: The Theatre Writings of Tadashi Suzuki” by Tadashi Suzuki and Kameron Steele
- “The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki: A Critical Study with DVD Examples” by Paul Allain
Jerzy Grotowski’s robust interrogation of physicality in performance went through many stages. Grotowski’s productions, his paratheatrical phase, his theatre of sources and objective drama are all grounded in a common idea; the interstice of “psychophysical” performance, where the body and the mind are unified and connected. His work has also been developed by Eugenio Barba, Richard Schechner, Peter Brook and Stephen Wangh.
- Wikipedia | Jerzy Grotowski
- The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowsky and Thomas Richards
- Grotowsky.net Encyklopedia
- Training at Grotowski’s “Laboratorium” in Wrozlaw in 1972 Screener
- Jerzy Grotowski interview Wywiad z Jerzym Grotowskim (Polish with English closed caption)
- The String of the Body® practice -The Grotowski Institute, Wrocław, Poland
- Grotowski Podcast with culture.pl (Part 1)
David Mamet & Practical Aesthetics
Constantin Stanislavski’s acting system has passed through many generations of teachers around the world. It has spawned many branches such as American “method acting” and the more recent renaissance of Stanislavski’s original “Method of Physical Actions.”
Practical Aesthetics is a redux of the Stanislavski system created by David Mamet and William H. Macy. It’s taught at The Atlantic School in New York City.
Practical Aesthetics is a very clean, spartan version that exemplifies the core values of Stanislavski’s teaching. It has also been influenced by the Meisner Technique and the Stoic philosopher Epictetus.
- “William H. Macy Explains Practical Aethetics” by Eliza Moldawer and Spencer Hickman
- Atlantic Acting School Practical Aesthetics
- Wikipedia | Practical Aesthetics
Michael Chekhov believed that there was more than one way to get to inspired, “effortless” acting. His approach is physically engaging and highly expressive while being wholly practical. One of the most pithy phrases in a studio doing Chekhov work is, “Never toil.” Instead, creativity is invoked through a playful flow of action.
- Wikipedia | Michael Chekhov
- The Michael Chekhov Association
- Michael Chekhov Techniques with Lisa Dalton
Penelope Stella is a retired professor of the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Stella’s unique approach to a physicalised method of acting was influenced by the writings of Jerzy Grotowski. She was also influenced by Linda Putnam (who trained with Jerzy Grotowski and worked briefly with Stephen Wangh) and Tim McDonough (Emory University, USA).
The Emblems and the Character Development Cycle comprise most of the early acting training of the Other Acting School’s founder. These have evolved and combined with other methods through nearly 35 years of practical application.
Postmodernism, Postdramatic Theory & Psychology
The “deep end” of the Other Acting School’s library of influences includes a number of sources. These relate to psychology, philosophy and cultural theory and are featured in our online courses. They’re also discussed in the school’s blog.