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About The London Meisner Company

What is the Meisner Technique?

“Act before you think”

– Sanford Meisner

The Meisner technique is regarded as theatre’s best kept secret. It is an approach to acting which was developed by the American theatre practitioner Sanford Meisner. The focus of the Meisner Technique is for the actor to “get out of their head” such that the actor is behaving instinctively to the surrounding environment honestly and truthfully under the imaginary circumstance.

Actors who have studied this technique include:

  • Jeff Goldblum
  • Alison Janney
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Tom Hardy
  • Diane Keaton
  • Kathy Bates
  • Jack Nicholson

What does the Meisner Technique entail?

The Meisner Technique does not teach you how to act- You already know how to act! …But perhaps you’re realising that you’ve picked up some bad habits along the way that you now feel are blocking you.

Ideally the Meisner technique is learned over an extended period of time, usually between 18-22 months to allow actors unlearn these bad habits. The safe space gives actors time to explore each stage of the process, fostering in-depth growth and skill development.

The first Meisner exercises focus on tone work and repetition exercises, which strip away self-consciousness and build instinctive, truthful reactions.

Exercises include:

  • Tone Work. Hear the Behaviour!
  • Single Word Repetition
  • Calling on Behaviour. Follow your Impulse!

In the second stage, building a top of these foundational basics, actors work on creating imaginary circumstances and engage in improvisational exercises with emotional preparation, so they’re able to connect with their own emotions and respond authentically in the moment.

Exercises include:

  • Independent Activities
  • Knock at the Door. Realising Relationships!
  • Emotional Preparation. “A scene never starts from zero.”

The final stage involves scene work, where actors integrate all they have learned to create dynamic, compelling and versatile  performances.

Exercises include:

  • Spoon River Anthology
  • First Year Scenes
  • Second Year Scenes

Students then are offered the opportunity to join the Company’s Masterclass, which is a weekly scene study group.

Robyn Paterson Founder and Sole Director of The London Meisner Company

Founder and Sole Director

Robyn Paterson Founder and Sole Director of The London Meisner Company


Robyn Paterson started acting professionally at 14 years old. She obtained a BA in Performing and Screen Arts in 2009 after graduating from the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland, New Zealand. She then studied under famed Sanford Meisner graduate Michael Saccente in Auckland for three years. She continued her studies at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre, otherwise known as the Meisner School, in New York, obtaining a certificate of Performing Arts. She returned to New Zealand and completed her postgraduate diploma in Journalism from the Auckland University of Technology in 2012 while still acting professionally in film, television, and theatre.

Recent Teaching

In 2013 she moved to Sydney, Australia. She began teaching at Point Break Drama School on Sydney’s northern beaches before becoming the head Acting Coach at the Sydney Drama School. She continued to work professionally in the Australian television and theatre scene, winning Best Female Newcomer in the 2013 Sydney Theatre Festival for her one woman show, The South Afreakins. She was also cast in the TV show ANZAC Girls, directed by Ken Cameron, shooting across Adelaide and Sydney.

In 2014 she moved to London where she began working as a post production producer for television commercials across the UK, Europe and the UAE. In 2015 she landed one of the lead roles in the West End production of The Generation of Z. As well as performing, she began lecturing with the Directing department at Royal Holloway University and also began to teach Meisner in her apartment kitchen to her fellow cast members who wanted to explore Meisner’s exercises.

In 2016, she took her one woman show, The South Afreakins to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival where she sold out her entire month long run and was awarded the official sell out laurel and was named as The Edinburgh Reporters Pick of the Fringe which led to a nationwide tour of New Zealand. Also in 2016, she began to teach the Meisner technique full time and moved out of her kitchen into a studio, as the class numbers had grown too large and she couldn’t fit any more people into her kitchen.
As well as continuing to lecture at Royal Holloway University, she began to lecture on Meisner and Acting at Kingston University, London Southbank University and Roehampton University. That list has now grown to include East London University, West London University, Essex University and Loughborough University as of 2024.  

In 2018, she was requested by East15 Drama School to spearhead the in- house Meisner Technique program which she still teaches today. Since 2018 she also taught the Meisner Technique at Italia Conti, Mountview, Fourth Monkey and Drama Studio all while continuing to expand The London Meisner Company.
In 2019 she curated the National Film and Television Schools Acting for Screen short course, a first in its 47 year history. That has now extended its reach to Athens Greece, where she teaches annually with affiliate Institution Oxbelly, working with Greek actors to elevate their craft and career to the next level.  

The London Meisner Company now has 3 studios across London, located in Finsbury Park, Liverpool Street and Richmond. It runs 7 classes a week,  with 120 students across the Company who are committed to learning the Meisner Technique. In 2023, the Company also opened a Drop-In centre, run by actor and graduate of The London Meisner Company, Craig McKenzie.
Robyn is currently one of a handful of coaches located in London who has studied at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York as well as with teachers trained by Sanford Meisner. The quintessence of her coaching is to offer students as authentic Meisner Technique training as possible, without any substitutes or misinterpretations.

New York | 2011

Robyn Paterson at The Neighborhood Playhouse, New York.
Group of students in Australia at A Meisner Class

Australia | 2018

20 young students from Townsville Grammar School in Queensland, Australia enjoyed an intensive day workshop with The London Meisner Company.
Group of students in Australia at A Meisner Class

The National Film and Television School | 2020-2024

In its nearly 50 year history, The National Film and Television School ran its first ever Acting for Screen course curated and headed up by Robyn Paterson.
The two week acting for screen intensive is now a staple of the short course curriculum and runs once a year.
Happy students in class at The London Meisner Company

Athens | 2022-2024

Oxbelly Institution in Athens, Greece ran a two week Acting for Screen Intensive intensive headed up and curated by Robyn Paterson. It will run again in 2024.