Meisner Technique Actors Retreat

23.11. - 18.12.2021

Ibiza, Spain

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Join us for an unforgettable retreat in Ibiza, Spain with Ashlie Walker, Nita Arpiainen and Ben Joiner. This retreat will help you access and awaken the most important skills of an actor: authentic connection and listening, moment-to-moment living, the courage to follow your instincts, body & mind awareness and clarity of your goals. The mornings will start with gentle yoga/body awareness and meditation sessions and during the days we will run two sets of acting classes still leaving time to rest on the beach or explore the beautiful city and surroundings. If desired, it is also possible to travel with a friend, partner, or family members who are not taking part in the retreat program.

About The Retreat

This acting retreat will help you uplevel your acting skills, enhance your personal awareness and support you with tools to reach your career and life goals.

Yoga/ body awareness and meditation classes are built to connect you deeper into who you are, releasing restricting beliefs and patterns. This is crucial for creating a space that helps you tap deeper into your innate freedom and acting instincts. 

MEISNER TECHNIQUE

The Meisner Technique acting classes will help you to access and express your truthful impulses based on your partner's behavior, through an exploration of the famous 'Repetition Exercise', 'Independent Activity' and 'Emotional Preparation'. The retreat suits beginners and all levels of Meisner students as you will be paired up with someone with the same experience and you can work on the level you at the moment. 
 

"Your responsibility as an actor is to live more truthfully than you dare in real life.”

- Ashlie Walker

      ABOUT MEISNER TECHNIQUE

  • The Meisner technique is an approach to acting which was developed by the American theatre practitioner Sanford Meisner. The focus of the Meisner approach is for the actor to "get out of their head", such that the actor is behaving instinctively to the surrounding environment. To this end, some exercises for the Meisner technique are rooted in repetition so that the words are deemed insignificant compared to the underlying emotion. In the Meisner technique, there is a greater focus on the other actor as opposed to one's internal thoughts or feelings associated with the character.

  • Meisner Training is an interdependent series of training exercises that build on one another. The more complex work supports a command of dramatic text. Students work on a series of progressively complex exercises to develop an ability to first improvise, then to access an emotional life, and finally to bring the spontaneity of improvisation and the richness of personal response to textual work. The techniques developed the behavioral strand of Stanislavski's. The technique is used to develop improvisation skills as well as "interpreting a script, and creating the specific physical characteristics of each character the actor played”.

  • Sanford Meisner said that his approach to training “is based on bringing the actor back to his emotional impulses and acting that is firmly rooted in the instinctive. It is based on the fact that all good acting comes from the heart, as it were, and that there’s no mentality to it.”

  • Learn to live in the moment as an actor, and let go of any idea of the result. Learn what it means to really “do” and to respond truthfully to a given moment based on what you get from your partner. Through improvisation, emotional truth and personal response learn to resonate authenticity within a given circumstance. Only in this way will you begin to understand the definition of real acting, which is “to live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances”.
     

 

“If you want to reach every person in the audience, it's not about being bigger, it's about going deeper.”

- Sanford Meisner

MOVEMENT

Our movement training is a deep,personal exploration into embodied awareness and presence. From this wholistic standpoint we then apply that to emotional fluency and apsycho-physical approachtorehearsal and performance.

 

Our life story is written into our body. Every laugh, cry, stumble, cut, hurt or pleasure is felt through our body. It is the means through which we learn, relate and perceive. Our behaviour, conscious or unconscious, is expressed in the way we move, breathe, feel and relate to the world. By bringing these habits into the foreground we can develop more choice as to what feels right for us personally…and make an authentic connection to thelife story of the character.

 

The movement practices offered are ways to use the bodyto communicate, find ease, poise, balance and inhabit space. They will cultivate imagination, awaken the senses, allow vulnerability to occur, feel comfortable with uncertainty, open the  breathing, and understand how intention is carried out by the body and voice. Students will develop an increased ‘felt sense of self’. Acting will feel less ‘heady’ and access to emotion will become easier.

VOICE 

Our voice training is a practical exploration of how to free the emotional, creative and expressive potency of the human voice. It develops this further by helping the actor access an embodied relationship to language that is shaped by the intellect but not controlled by it. By combining a free voice and a deeper connection to language a meaningful exchange emerges between speaker, listener and audience.

 

Our voices have the capacity to reveal our needsinorder to connect withand be understood by others. Over time, the potency of our voices are submerged under layers of conditioning. If we are to play characters whose lives extend into the full range of extra-ordinary human experience…can our voices support that depth of expression?


The training will help to undo the psycho-physical blocks that inhibit the human instrument and strengthen the natural power of the voice. Through a carefully considered selection of exercises, personal work, imaginations, play and improvisations… a voice will emerge that reveals nuance, range, sensitivity and presence and power.

 

The areas of focus will be broken down into elements that include Physical Awareness, Voice, Resonance, Range, Articulation and Text. While these terms could be used to describe pure vocal dynamics, what’s important is that the person is heard through the voice!This is the focus of the training. To free the voice is to free the person. An actor must understand themselves, their instrument, and then the needs of the character so intimately that they can vibrate with a charge that affects the other actor and resonates in the audience also. This is more than projection, it is connection!

"A naturally resonant and expressive voice is the by-product of the freedom of emotional expression. Clarity of speech is governed by clear thinking. The two must work in harmony."

- Ben Joiner

 

PLEASE NOTE: The movement and voice training draws heavily on the learning principles embedded in Feldenkrais, Linklater Voice and Contact Improvisation and other like body- minded somatic learning systems.

 

This practice has the potential to be transformational work. It will gently challenge habitual behaviours and suit those who want to develop more connection with others when communicating. It is a respectful and holistic training with authentic dialogue at its core. It does not champion one type of ‘voice’over another and welcomes all ‘bodies’ regardless of age, gender, cultural background or ability.

YOGA & MEDITATION 

How would it feel like to have the permission to be fully humane and wholesome? How would it feel like to be fully seen and heard as your true self without masks? How would it feel to not fear confrontation or being connected and vulnerable with another?

 

Ever since childhood and throughout our lives we've learnt to close ourselves from our natural impulses, senses and emotions. We dive back into your true self, especially into your emotional life and its empowering spectrum, through Yoga & Meditation alongside with other tools and exercises. In a variety of group and partner exercises we will learn to express ourselves, truly listen to another and to be present.

"Nothing more magical than then courageous moment a person drops their mask and steps into their authenticity. Nothing more empowering for them and nothing more appealing to anyone in their presence."

- Nita Arpiainen

COLD READING

We look in depth at how the actor can explore the text of a script from a truthful yet creative place. Allowing the feelings evoked by the words and your partner to guide a more free flow and playful process to working on a scene and how to make it alive and believable on screen. You will learn a comprehensive approach to taking the words off the page, from first contact with the script to working with your scene partner in front of camera. On the final week you will film scenes in pairs and get and edited clip of your work to be used on your showreel, Spotlight profile, professional website etc.

TO WHOM IT IS FOR

For actors (advanced and beginners), performers, directors, writers, artists, coaches and anyone wanting to understand their emotional life and the authentic human connections deeper.​

WHAT DO YOU GET

Through this retreat you will:

  • Learn the Meisner technique's repetition practice, independent activity, emotional preparation & relationships, strengthen your acting instincts and capacity to take risks, and truly listen & follow spontaneous moment-to-moment impulses

  • Tools to release tension and restricting patterns in your body and mind, and how to access your natural voice and greater emotional freedom in the body

  • Deeper understanding and tools to enhance the body-mind connection, tools for daily practices for a healthy and free mind & body 
     

INFO

  • LOCATION & TIME

    • Ibiza, Spain​

    • Villa details:

    • 23.11. - 18.12.2021

    • Teaching from Tuesday - Saturday

    • Sundays & Mondays, free time

  • PRICE

    • Early bird: 1.950€ / for bookings done by August 30th

    • Normal price: 2.150€ / bookings done after August 30th

    • Book a single room for your stay: +600€

    • (Jousto part payment available)

  • Price includes

    • Accommodation in a four-star hotel for the duration of the Retreat (23.11. - 18.12.2021), shared bedroom

    • Delicious continental breakfast buffet

    • Daily acting classes, yoga/body awareness & meditation etc. (4-7h / daily)

    • A welcome drink at the hotel​'

  • PAYMENT SCHEDULE

    • Book your spot by paying a deposit of 700€

    • Final payment due September 30th 

  • CANCELLATION POLICY

    • Cancellation is done by email:

    • more than 65 days prior first day of the trip: deposit payment non-refundable

    • 65 - 46 days prior first day of the trip: 75 % of full payment held

    • 45 – 32 days prior first day of the trip: 85 % of full payment held

    • 31 or less days prior first day of the trip: no refunds

  • Place is limited and will be filled on a 'first-come-first-serve' basis.

  • You do not need any previous experience. Yoga /body awareness classes fit all levels.

  • Teaching language is English (please keep in mind that you do not need to have perfect English skills, and you do not need to worry about accent and pronunciation).

  • All rights to changes reserved.

  • You can find the event on Facebook in this link here.


 

Click this link if you want to book a place in the retreat. The deposit payment to confirm the booking is 650€. Jousto part payment available through this booking link. After your booking, we will email you more information and ask for any specific requests. The final payment can be done either in one installment or in part payments.

Your Coaches

Ashley Walker_Acting Coach

ASHLIE WALKER

A wealth of experience as a professional actress for 20 years and extensive training in Meisner Technique, Ashlie is a highly respected international teacher, tutor and personal coach. As a tutor, she especially focuses on unlocking the actors' instinct for truth, elevated by dramatic choices in performance. She guides actors to deepen their understanding of the craft, experience emotional freedom, build their actors' faith and, perhaps most importantly, to take risks. ​Alongside teaching, Ashlie has numerous directing credits and holds a Bsc (Hons) in Psychology and Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy, both of which expand her capacity to work with and empower her actors on and off stage. As a personal transformation coach, Ashlie guides those living in fear, anxiety and stress to discover a life of freedom, purpose and joy. Ashlies soul calling is to guide others back to love and into their light.

TESTIMONIALS

It was transformational! I think the best thing about the course and about the way Ashlie taught Meisner was the simplicity and effectiveness of focusing on one another’s feelings. While I’ve always had a part of me thinking whether I should provoke or not, act or not, do or not, be one way or another, or otherwise analyzing the right way of doing the repetition, with Ashlie I was able to settle down into my acting partner’s feelings as well as my own. It was powerful to just see the other person and let them affect me, to see how they affect me. In the end it all made me learn heaps about not only acting but myself as well. It’s come up in most acting related situations that “why go to therapy when you can go to acting class”, but Ashlie’s course took it to a new level. Hands down, I would give Ashlie a 10/10.

- Timo Utterström, actor & writer

Ashlie is a skilled professional. She gave individual attention, presence. The environment was safe. I learned a lot through practice how humans can connect to another human and what it does to one's feelings. Repetition exercise was excellent for that to happen. Cutting off thinking and connecting to feeling through another person in front. The course gave me a strong and different understanding of acting and definitely a more appealing way of acting. I grew as a personality and as an actor. Ashlie was skilled in creating the space for this to happen.
- Slava Dugin, actor

More testimonials here.

ABOUT NITA ARPIAINEN

Nita Arpiainen is is an actor and acting coach, yoga teacher, health and life coach and the founder of Actors Academy Finland. In her previous career, she has also worked as a TV presenter and producer. 

Nita's deep passion and curiosity for acting, learning and personal growth is the underlying motivation for AAF to come alive. The vision for AAF was formed while Nita attended numerous acting schools and workshops in London at the Actors Studio, Giles Forman Acting Studio, City Academy and the Actors Temple to name a few, ultimately falling profoundly in love with the Meisner Technique, and it making a powerful and lasting impact on the way she viewed acting. Nita has been studying the Meisner Technique with various teachers since 2015.

AAF has put together the One Year Actors Training as the optimal training course. It combines the expertise Nita has gathered on the subject around the world and eager to share it with her fellow actors.

TESTIMONIALS

"I was shaken in the best way possible by Nita’s workshop. I learned so much about myself as a performer and it opened for me an entirely different way to approach the craft of acting. Even with a group of persons that I had never met before I felt safe, connected, and free to explore my capabilities as an actor. I would so recommend this workshop to anyone and everyone! Even if you are not an actor, it is a way to tap back into the humanness of the self. FIVE STARRRRZZZZ!"
- Marja, actor

"I thoroughly enjoyed working with Nita. She was a very patient, compassionate coach. Working with her was intensive and challenged everyone to be brave and open to the unknown depth and dynamics of our rich inner life. Nita made sure that we felt safe and supported in doing so.  What I find most useful and important in the Meisner training is its focus on the other. By being utterly present with the other, I can be free to feel the emotions that arise from the circumstances,  authentic feelings, not manufactured in my head. I think this sense of inner liberation in authentic human connection is something anyone can benefit from, not just actors. I can only wish that the course like this would be available more often and for longer periods."

- Yuko, actor

More testimonials here.

ABOUT BEN JOINER

Ben is an actor and a vocal coach. He trained as a dancer in the early nineties, touring internationally with various ballet and modern dance companies before retraining as an actor in 2000. Since then he has worked extensively in theatre, film and television. He coaches on the MA in Voice Studies at The Royal Central School of Speech of Drama and is one of approximately 200 vocal coaches worldwide trained by Kristin Linklater to teach her method Freeing the Natural Voice. Since 2010 he has been coaching at The Oxford School of Drama, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, Arts Educational Schools, The Giles Foreman Centre for Acting, The Actor’s Temple, plus numerous theatre companies, independent groups and individual clients.

TESTIMONIALS

I really enjoyed our working with Ben Joiner. As a classically trained singer I especially enjoyed the exploration of more primal sounds and how releasing a sound - totally uncontrolled - feels like. It was quite liberating and helped me to connect more with my body and my emotions. We also looked at how an open and receiving body looks and feels like in acting. The exercises for releasing the body through movement and awareness without judgement were just what I needed as well. Ben was an inspiring teacher with a very conscious and compassionate way of teaching, and I would definitely recommend his workshop for anyone wanting to explore their voices, or looking for ways to release tension in the body or for just more freedom of expression.

- Emma, singer & actor

Ben is a brilliant teacher! He’s a genius at what he does, and was able to create a supporting and safe learning environment by being a teacher as well as ”a peer” at the same time. He listened to the students’ needs and concerns and allowed for any feelings to arise. I would recommend this workshop for everyone and anyone interested in learning about their voice and how to use it well.

- Anna, actor & dancer

More testimonials here.