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Founder and Master Teacher Emeritus
Maggie established the Maggie Flanigan Studio in 2001 to offer smaller acting classes and to give individual attention to serious actors in a conservatory-based program.
Throughout Maggie’s 40 year teaching career, it was widely acknowledged by actors familiar with Meisner training and by professionals in the industry that Maggie understood and taught the Meisner work more clearly and precisely than any practicing Meisner teacher of her time. In 2010, she won the NYC Back Stage Readers’ Choice “Favorite Scene Study Teacher” and “Favorite Private Acting Coach” awards. Maggie shared “Favorite Acting Teacher” in NYC in both 2006 and 2008. She also won “Favorite Private Acting Coach” in NYC for 2008. She is included in the book, Acting Teachers of America. She participated in the author’s symposium as a panelist.
Finding her protégé Charlie Sandlan in 2005 after training him at Rutgers University, Maggie and Charlie began to carefully choose the faculty and design the curriculum to compete with the top MFA programs in the United States. Over the past two decades, the Maggie Flanigan Studio has become known as a home for serious actors who are interested in the Meisner Technique, and the pursuit of a substantial artistic career.
Maggie was the leading actress of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s play The Little Flower of East Orange in a 2006 staged reading at the Public Theatre. She subsequently read the part again with Phillip Seymor Hoffman, Yul Vasquez, and Stephen Adly Guirgis at the Drama Bookstore in 2009. Maggie also taught, coached, and directed the LABrynth Theater Company’s summer program for over 15 years.
Throughout her teaching career, Maggie has made an astonishing impact on three generations of talented acting students. Maggie is known and loved for her gift of clarity, her eye for truth, and her ability to inspire actors and to demand excellence from them. Maggie is a purist who sets the bar high.
Her former and current students include Sam Rockwell, Chris Massina, KaDee Strickland, Piper Perabo, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Yul Vasquez, Leslie Bibb, Vanessa Aspillaga, Peter Scanovino, Dean Winters, Kohl Sudduth, Scott Winters, Calista Flockhart, Kristin Davis, Jeremy Davidson, Elizabeth Rodriguez, and Scott Hudson.
Acting at its best is a creative art. Actors need the ability to craft well in order to master their acting instrument. I have created a nurturing home for artists to sharpen their skills and to solidify their craft. The work at my studio is based on Sanford Meisner’s technique combined with my experience teaching this work, which has totaled over thirty years. I have created a conservatory-based program with a handpicked faculty, all of whom have been mentored by either myself or Charlie, and carry extensive experience and training in their particular fields. I believe that teaching is an art form, and requires an ability to create a safe and nurturing space with the highest standards and expectations.
Artistry is the CARE that the actor gives in crafting a role. Some character parts can be achieved in one stroke. Others require a deeper understanding of the character and need more time to grow and develop – more strokes. But whatever the choice, the idea must be boiled down to its essence and must be actable. They cannot be merely in the head of the actor. It needs to be translated into the living, breathing behavior of the character. Simplicity in execution is the goal.
There is no such thing as a complicated moment. The actor must spend as much time as needed to work out a moment, an idea, a beat, a monologue. And as difficult as some of this can be, the actor must, on some level, love this process. This is the creative struggle to discover that one stroke or a number of strokes that creates the essence of the character.
Additionally, part of artistry in the continual search for inspiration. Many times this can come from another artist who speaks to the actor’s heart. The artistic process for all artists is generally similar. I have taken my inspiration from poets, novelists, painters, sculptors, a passing figure on the street, mother nature herself or a personal remembrance. All of these speak to me and ask me to continue my struggle as an artist. This is the process that I have fallen in love with.
“I was placed in the intense reigns of Charlie Sandlan. I became a better artist, actor, friend, sibling and daughter because of the studio. Even now, I crave the studio every day. What I learned is present in my work every day. I truly believe in everything they stand for.”
“Maggie taught me that I could control my work, my acting, and to throw all of the bullshit out that I had in my head about ‘what I should be doing’ and to just listen and respond honestly, in the moment. She gave me a craft. She is, quite simply put, THE BEST.”
“Maggie Flanigan taught me the true meaning of artistry, passion, and professionalism. I am certain that I continue to work as an actress because of my training with Maggie. At every audition and every performance, her guiding voice is with me. It is a gift beyond measure.”
“Maggie Flanigan has been one of the most important people in my artistic life. I want to work with Maggie trained actors. As an actor myself, she is my first source. I do not say this lightly, if you are serious about acting, and willing to work very hard, then go to Maggie.”
“Maggie helped me find my sense of truth, an actors greatest asset. Maggie is an expert at instilling that vital ingredient, which allows an actor’s potential to become limitless. My work will forever be rooted in the clarity and honesty she helped me develop.”
“After working for ten years, I did the 2 year program, and now feel that I have the tools I need to become the actor I’ve always dreamed of being. Maggie Flanigan instilled in me a clear sense of truth and a standard of perfection. I am a better actor because of this studio.”
“As an actor, the core of what you have to rely on is your sense of truth and humanity. Maggie allowed me to discover and embrace mine. Trusting my sense of humanity and truth has given me the ability to take risks in my work and my career decisions.”
“Maggie Flanigan introduced me to my own spirit and my own sense of Truth. Her passion for teaching and ability to communicate are rare gifts to any actor looking for a technique to set his or her talent free. Maggie’s voice has been the one constant guide in my career.”