Stephanie van Niekerk

Stephanie van Niekerk started pursuing a career in entertainment as a child of eight, acting in radio dramas and children's programs for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. As a teenager she took part in productions for Volksteater (The National Theater) in Pretoria and in 1973 joined the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal as a member of its high school touring company. After receiving a B.A. Drama degree from the University of Pretoria (1976), she continued her involvement in acting, stage management, technical directing and props/costume construction on a part-time basis at the Hart House and Glen Morris theatres in Toronto (1977 - 1980), and as a student of Method Acting (theatre, film, TV) at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York (1981 - 1984). In 1983 she was one of a select group of Method students invited to become a member of the Second Studio for Actors in New York. She pursued an acting career in Toronto through 1985. From 1986 to 1991 she focused her attention on studies and work in the field of holistic psychology and healing.

In 1979 and 1980 she taught drama, creative movement and communication skills to emotionally disturbed and learning disabled children in Toronto. In 1988 and 2004 the Drama Department of the University of Pretoria invited her to lecture on and teach classes in the Method as a guest lecturer to their second and third year students. During 1999 she lectured on The Method to the members of the Speech and Drama Guilds in Pretoria and Johannesburg and presented classes on "Acting as Therapy" to the third year Psychology students at the University of Pretoria in 2001.

Stephanie van Niekerk has been teaching Method, voice, theatre games, improvisation, scene writing, directing and text analysis in Pretoria as director of the Method Actors' Training Centre since 1991, gaining extensive experience in artistic and technical directing, producing, writing and actor training. During this period she has directed thirty-five stage-productions as well as two radio dramas, Berg van die Digters and Die Paddas, written by her father, Dolf van Niekerk, and broadcast by five radio stations throughout South Africa.

Original dramas written and directed by Stephanie van Niekerk: Die Sewende Dag [The Seventh Day] (1995); Beuselpraatjies [Trivial Pursuits] (1997); Binnereis [Inner Voyage] (1999); Dubbelspraak [Split Conversations] (2006); Ladies’ Night (2008); Daydreams and Nightmares (2010). Die Sewende Dag [The Seventh Day] won the FNB Pick of the Windybrow Festival Award for Most Outstanding Ensemble Work in 1996. 


1974 - 1976 B.A. Drama: University of Pretoria

1979 - 1980 B.A. Courses in Philosophy, Logic, English: University of S.A.

1981 - 1984 Theatre, Film & TV Acting: Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, New York

1983 - 1984 Theatre, Film & TV Acting: The Second Studio for Actors, New York

1985 - 1986 Certificate in Shiatsu Therapy: Shiatsu Clinic and Education Center, Toronto

1986 - 1987 Diploma in Holistic Psychology: Natural Health Institute, Toronto.


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Lee Strasberg

We are willing to be influenced by anything, to try anything. We have no fear of giving up anything here. Here there is nothing holy. Anything that can help us to become better, to fulfil better the actor’s task, to contribute toward a more alive and dynamic theatre is certainly worth trying and working on. 
                                                Strasberg at The Actors Studio

On Method Acting

It must be realised that, when acting, no emotion can be recaptured directly, as a whole. Recapturing a certain emotion from your past has to be taken in steps, with complete disregard for the end result.
                                                          Edward Dwight Easty 
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