I trained in the Meisner Technique at the wonderful Actor's Pulse in Sydney for 3 and half years. It was an incredible experience and is the foundation of all i do now in teaching, directing and acting.
What drew me to acting initially was the concept of truth and truth telling; the freedom, expression and imagination. Studying Meisner was a revelation - a journey which absorbed me during years of intense study and one i continue today.
On returning to England in 2010, i found not many people had heard of the Meisner technique beyond 'Repetition'. The fact that the technique was so misrepresented in so many ways bothered me greatly. I started teaching informally before ironically, an acting role led me to being offered a position teaching the Meisner technique at the Giles Foreman Centre for Acting where i taught for 2 years and also started Directing. An invaluable experience where i found my true passion and, as importantly, how i wanted to be as an artist.
What inspired me the most were the tales of the Early Group Theatre - creative, explosive, unique, passionate, experimental. I wanted something the industry couldn't provide so i set out to create it myself
Directing plays for a number of years was a huge part of my growth as a teacher - from the practical application of the technique to communication - i explored and learnt as much as i could . I ran my own classes whilst directing but knew that i wanted to teach this technique properly and have a real home for those who wanted to join me in pursuing the perfection of their craft and for that i needed my own studio.
As I realised this, Caroline came into my life - a woman bursting with passion and fire for the arts - with an incredible knowledge and profound creativity.
She opened my eyes to the power of the Method acting techniques as taught by Stella, Strasberg, Hagen and Batson to name but a few.
Through this the idea of the Actor's Craft was tentatively birthed.
See my past plays
We first realised how well these techniques could blend when we taught together in Guildford. We would come home at night and spend hours talking about the students - their blocks, resistances , issues ...where they were at in their development and what was needed to help them overcome their particular obstacles. The more we discussed and shared ideas the more we began to see that, although Meisner and Method both offered full Techniques on their own, specific elements from the different philosophies excelled at dealing with specific problems faced by actors.
through the combination of the techniques there was no obstacle that couldn't be overcome. We fine-tuned our approach over 2 years and have now launched the Actor's Craft.
It is important to note that this approach is not without precedent - Larry Moss (Method) and William Esper (Meisner) are 2 of the most prominent Masters in the USA who espouse a similar philosophy to varying degrees. we would highly recommend reading their books.
Ultimately, all the great teachers have sought to achieve the same thing - a technique which will allow the actor to create truer and greater performances. On the journey, as is only natural, differences of opinion evolved which led to specific approaches and philosophies. We then see the partisan almost tribal instincts of human beings kick in - "my way is better than yours". When in truth, when seen objectively, this isn't really true at all. They are often different solutions to the same problem.
We benefit hugely from their personal beliefs as now we have a variety of techniques and exercises which confront all the problems an actor will face in their career.
We both passionately believe in our own respective Techniques but through our shared learning and study can now clearly see the massive benefits of learning these Techniques together.
Each Script, each character presents a unique challenge. Also, each actor is unique and will have personal preferences and inclinations which is why we believe its fundamental our students find the right path for them whether that be the Meisner Technique, Method Acing or a combination of both.
“Acting is not about dressing up. Acting is about stripping bare. The whole essence of learning lines is to forget them so you can make them sound like you thought of them that instant.” ― Glenda Jackson
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Plays I have directed have received one Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Glasshouse (Sam Adamson) and 7 other Award Nominations :
Best Actor - Simon Naylor: OffWestEnd Awards (Harper- The Glasshouse)
Best Actor - Kim Hardy: Ian Charleson Award (Konstantin The Seagull)
4 Best Supporting Actor: OffWestEnd Awards
Sam Adamson: (Moon - The Glasshouse) (WINNER)
Max Saunders Singer (Pip - MOJO)
Mario Demetriou (Wally - The Winterling)
Mary Anne Cafferkey (Claire - Proof)
2 Best Set - OffWestEnd Awards
DoBo Designs (The Glasshouse)
Mike Leopold (Proof)
"Caroline as a teacher and a mentor is attentive, supportive, generous and detailed. In a short space of time I’ve already learnt loads through her and can feel myself opening up as an actor and as a human being, more and more."
"Sebastien and Caroline’s approach to the craft has changed my life. Their passion for the art is contagious and I have found myself not only improving dramatically as an actor, but also as a human being. I count myself very lucky to have crossed paths with them and fully recommend them to anyone who truly wishes to take their acting skills to the next level"
Jack Norman - current student
"Sebastian has an insatiable hunger to help students create art which is real and truthful with nothing added. He helped me on my journey to show myself, follow my impulses and really see the actor in front of me."
Aurelius Kuyvenhoven - current student
"Caroline seeks to make her students become realistic and true in their performances... exciting and challenging classes that consist of both practical and theoretical components. She brings humour and passion to her classes and is 100% dedicated to the growth of her students into confident actors. If you need a good and safe place to learn, I would recommend Caroline"
"Training with Sebastian Blanc has been a life defining decision. The attention, support and dedication he gives every student is inspiring, and sometimes the only things that got me through the most confronting aspects of the technique. He leads you to the edge of your potential and tells you to jump. He won’t promise to catch you, he makes you believe you will fly."
Dian Cathal - current student
“I believe Meisner is an essential tool to help create truthful and nuanced performances. Seb Blanc is an inspirational teacher - his extensive experience and knowledge of the Meisner technique will really help any actor who wants to develop and enhance their craft. Watching him work with actors is a joy.”
John Strickland –Director
(Line of Duty, Bodyguard, Troy, The Three Musketeers, Mr Selfridge, Poirot, The Bill, Bodies)
"I wanted to explore a technique that would get me out of my head, and into the moment, and so I turned to Meisner. No matter what stage of your Meisner journey, Sebastien has a great way of making you feel at ease, whilst at the same time equipping you with the tools to realise the truth of the moment in the moment. As a result I found myself letting go more, trusting my impulses. I'm still enjoying my journey and would highly recommend Sebastien’s class to anyone interested in working towards becoming a more truthful actor."
Elroy Anthony – former Student
"I have known Sebastien for the last ten years on both a professional and personal level. Besides being one of the most talented individuals I know - he is one of the nicest for one so successful. His work ethic finds him at no compromise and his benchmark artistically is second to none. He is an extremely gifted director and a sheer pleasure to work with."
Jon Stafford - Producer
Screen 1 Entertainment LTD, Shepperton Studios.