Brighton Meisner


Sanford Meisner was a founder member of the Group Theatre, New York. In 1931 Lee Strasbourg, Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford chose 28 actors, one of whom was Meisner, to from the Group Theatre; it still has a profound impact on American theatre today. Within the group different opinions began to form about Strasbourg's use of Emotional Memory. Stella Adler returned from Russia having studied with the greatly respected Constantin Stanislavski; she brought with her Stanislavski's belief that with imagination and knowledge of the circumstances given by the script the actor could access the characters thoughts and feelings without delving into his own emotional past.

In 1940 the Group Theatre came to an end and Meisner became head of acting at The Neighbourhood Playhouse and his own technique came alive. He sought to create a series of exercises where there would be no space for intellectuality, to 'eliminate all the head work ...and get to where the impulses come from.' To help actors achieve this he devised a series of exercises to develop spontaneity and responsivness, widening their emotional range and increasing their interaction on stage.


'[Acting is] the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances' - Meisner