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Standing Up for Myself

The Maggie Flanigan Studio has the reputation as being one of the best actor training programs in New York and the U.S. Stephanie Leiva, in this interview, talks with Katie about the Meisner training during her first year in the program, and why she decided to train at Maggie Flanigan Studio instead of the many other acting studios in New York.

Acting Programs in New York Stephanie Leiva Interview

Acting Programs in New York Stephanie Leiva Interview

Acting Programs New York – Stephanie Leiva – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Q: What did you think the Meisner technique was before you started training at Maggie Flanigan Studio?

A: I didn’t have too much of a concrete idea of what Meisner was. I went to Rutgers, and I studied theater there, so I knew that it was about listening and responding and finding your point of view and being truthful, but I had a pretty vague idea. I just knew from my friends, they were like, “If you want to do acting, you’re perfect for Meisner,” so I looked into studios for Meisner and found this one.


I got my Bachelors in Theater at Rutgers but I didn't have a concrete idea of what the Meisner technique was. I knew when I walked in that this was the studio where I wanted to train.

Stephanie LeivaActing Program, First Year Student

Q: Now that you’re done with your first year, what do you think the Meisner technique is now?

A: Meisner is about being yourself from your point of view, from being as truthful as you can, from really listening to your partner, really taking it in and responding from your point of view.

this image is for interested students to click to register for the two year acting program

Apply for Admission – Best Meisner Training Program – (917) 794-3878

Q: What did you learn about yourself during this year that was a surprise?

A: What changed for me this year is I started off from a very defensive place. Instead of taking in and letting things affect me, I would go, and I would attack. I was very defensive, and Charlie helped me transition to starting to stand up for myself. There’s such a big difference between being defensive and standing up for yourself, and I built confidence to hold my ground.

New York Acting Programs

Q: What did you learn this year about the work ethic of an actor?

A: It takes so much to be an actor. My time is consumed with my classes and the work that I have to do. I’m too consumed with my rehearsal and my crafting and my activity and my scenes and my lines. I’m constantly thinking about this. There’s never a dull moment. You have to be obsessed with this work. If you’re not obsessed with your creativity, if you don’t have your imagination flowing all the time, you need to get it flowing.

Q: What’s it like to be an actor here and have a bad day?

A: I think, being an actor plus and having a bad day makes my day better. When I go into class, it’s not that I leave things out the door. I tend to bring it in, but I’m still focused on what my classmates are doing. They’re just so captivating to see everybody work that I do forget that I’m having a bad day because I’m only vaguely interested in what they’re doing and what Charlie’s teaching us that everything goes away for three hours.

Q: What’s it like being in class with other students here every week? How has that helped in your training?

A: It’s helped me so much. You do learn a lot from working in class and your independent activities, but I’ve have gained most of my knowledge from watching everybody, seeing what they accomplish, seeing that they trust my classmates sitting in the room, to give me everything that they can and me. It’s nice to see them open up because it helps me open up. Everyone in class is rooting for each other. They’re such a big group moral support that we’re all like, “You got this, you got this.” We’re always sharing ideas, texting each other and talking about it. We want to make sure that we’re all moving forward. It’s not a competition.

this image is for interested students to click to register for the two year acting program

Apply for Admission – Meisner Acting Programs – (917) 794-3878

Q: What’s it like to be in class and have a good day?

A: It’s the best. I love being in class and having a good day. You go to class; you have a good day. You leave the class; you’re having a more significant day. Even if you start the class with a good day, you’re going to class, and it’s not a good class, I’m still having a good day. It’s great.

Q: Why did you decide that this was the only place for you to study?

A: Like I said I went to Rutgers. I got my Bachelors in Theater, and I knew that I wanted to specifically train in acting. I looked at my favorite programs; I looked at the studios, I spoke to a bunch of my friends. I kept on hearing Maggie Flanigan over and over, especially from my theater professor at Rutgers because Maggie used to teach at Rutgers.

I walk into the building, I walk into the hallway, and it’s like lights and grey, and I’m like, “This is weird.” I opened the door. Suddenly there’s wood tones and red, and it smells delicious. Charlie’s there, and the studio is amazing. I was like, “Okay, this is the place for me.” It’s hard to explain, but I walked in, and I was like, “Okay. I’ve decided that I’m going here. That’s it”.

meisner acting programs in new york

Meisner Acting Programs in New York for Serious Actors – Maggie Flanigan Studio

Meisner Training for Serious Actors

Learn more about the training and acting programs at the Maggie Flanigan Studio ( ) by visiting the studio website acting programs page. Actors who are interested in applying for admission should call the studio with questions about enrollment by calling (917) 794-3878.

New York Acting Programs

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