Liane Heyl: Actor, Singer, Cabaret Artist

“Stephanie van Niekerk - my Method acting teacher - taught me to be "real" on stage with the various Method techniques. I would NEVER be where I am today without her guidance... NEVER!!!”

Liane Heyl

Won Avanti award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 1999; Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 1998; TV: Rhythm City, E-TV, Lawyer, Spekskieters, KYKNET, Contestant, Vetkoek-Paleis, SABC2, Comedy Series Lead Role (Boeboe), 1994, 2001, 2007; Hart van Staal, KYKNET, Lead Role of Vixen (Veronica Liebenberg) Jozi Street, E-TV, Clive Morris Prod., 2nd Lead (Suzette) Theatre: Light Operatic Variety show, Durban Lead Singer, 2006; Decades Deelite, Performer Theatre, 2006; Mel Botes- Flight of Bird, Aardklop, Heather, 2005 ; Hearbeat, State Theatre, Earth Mother.

Janri Barker

Janri Barker

Many say: “I’ve always wanted to be an actor.” Few, however, get to know what it really is. Stephanie showed me what it means. She taught me that acting is not about being, but about doing. It is not only about your talent, or your personality, it is a skill that is developed over time. During my five years at The Method Actors’ Training Centre my personal, professional, mental and physical capacities increased, my boundaries expanded, and my horizons broadened. I came to the belief that you need to be both truly passionate, and truly perseverant, in order to become an actor, because without the one, the other soon dies. Method acting is like athletics for the soul. I am thankful for this experience that will last beyond the years I’ve spent. I’ve had the opportunity to see how agonisingly great acting can really be, and I will never look back and say “I wish I did”."

 

Ingrid Hoffman

Ingrid

I am upset about the fact that I am only allowed to write a “blurb” for this site. I would prefer to write an essay. It is impossible to write something short about the Method, the Method Actors’ Training Centre, or Stephanie van Niekerk. 

I started studying Method acting at the “young” age of thirty nine. Once again, a confirmation that we are never too old to learn. I gathered a vast amount of academic knowledge, experience in acting, character analysis, text analysis, the Method technique, voice technique, directing, set design, blocking and team work. But the most important part was discovering the art that was hidden inside of me; the art of truthful expression. I will always be grateful towards Stephanie van Niekerk for sharing her knowledge and experience with me. She taught me all the techniques I need to be the best actress that I can be. I salute you Steph. You are an extremely talented being, and I will always work hard to make you proud.

Josh Myers: Teacher, Performer, Artistic Director - Taiwan

josh meyersThe pressure cooker of the stage is terrifying. But that's why I love it - the best things in life are exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Studying with Stephanie opened new worlds for me and therefore enabled me to work with international casts in different genres. Once a Method actor, always a Method actor. I wear that label with pride.

Teacher, Performer and Artistic Director of Taichung Improv (Award winning improv troupe)

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The Method Actor’s Training Centre is unique. Not only is it the only acting school we know of in South Africa that specializes in Method Acting but each student also receives individual attention in each training session. In order to achieve this, the classes are kept small so that students may develop in-depth understanding and technique under personalized supervision as quickly as possible. Aspirant actors do not become invisible due to being part of a large group. We train ARTISTS!

The Method acting course is based on the techniques developed by Lee Strasberg, who was one of the pioneers in the USA who brought about the real, believable acting methods we know today. He based his techniques on the results obtained by the great Russian director, teacher and actor, Constantin Stanislavsky, throughout a lifetime of research and experimentation. 


Marlon Brando, Steve Buscemi, Chris Cooper, James Dean, Benicio del Toro, Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro are but a few more male actors. Ellen Burstyn, Salma Hayek, Helen Hunt, Bridget Fonda, Angelina Jolie, Sissy Spacek and Sally Field are some of the female actors you may know.

Unlike the usual drama training obtainable in South Africa, The Method trains actors to experience sense memory (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and overall sensation) and express the response freely and fully in order to give a truthful, real performance time after time. Actors learn how to employ sensory recall and emotional memory in order to recreate situations, relationships and emotions from their own lives truthfully. This enables them to express real emotion as the character, rather than indicating a response by pushing for an end-result. Students also receive training in teaching and directing skills. Method Acting is a process that develops over a three- to four-year period of time.

The Method Actor’s Training Centre presents part-time acting / drama courses with a difference:

The fun and creative Introduction to Acting Course for beginner actors covers the practical techniques generally employed by drama schools in South Africa and also instructs students in scene writing and storytelling.

The Method Certificate and Performance Diploma courses would suit matriculated students who want to acquire in-depth acting- and directing skills and who possess strong cognitive, verbal, linguistic, communication and analytical abilities.

Available Courses:

An Introduction to Acting for beginner actors of 15 years and older

The Method Certificate Course for both beginner and experienced actors of 18 years and older

The Method Performance Diploma Course for senior students who have already completed at least one Certificate Course

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 ACTING - DIRECTING - WRITING - TEACHING

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-three 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. 


Education:

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.


  

Phillip van Staden: Actor

Philip van Staden"Stephanie has not only taught me the invaluable acting skills and techniques that have been used by the great Method actors of our time, but has also greatly contributed to my personal life and development. I value my experience at the school as a “defining moment” in my life."

Theatre: Binnereis by Stephanie van Niekerk – Winston (2007) – Die Lier; Assistant Director: Dubbelspraak by Stephanie van Niekerk (2006) – Die Lier; Die Sewende Dag by Stephanie van Niekerk – Jacques and Icarus’s Mother by Sam Shepard – Frank, (2005) - Die Lier; Prisma – a program of prose and poetry compiled by Stephanie van Niekerk (2004); Die Laaste Om Te Gaan by Harold Pinter [translated by Stephanie van Niekerk] – Koerantverkoper and Aprés Opèra by Valerie Smith and Michael Bigelow Dixon – Laurent, (2003) – Die Lier; ‘n Private Skietstilstand by Tom Stoppard [translated by Stephanie van Niekerk] – Hospitaalbestuurder (2002) – Die Lier; Director / Actor - Fluff and Leave it to Psmith Inklings

Erika Tuktens: Actor - Australia

Erika Tuktens"Stephanie’s teaching, dedication and encouragement have made me see that anything is possible. Not only her teaching skills and the information she has to share, but also her passion and attitude have been of untold value to me. Thank you, Stephanie, for taking me on such an incredible ride!"
Theatre: Prisma – a program of prose and poetry compiled by Stephanie van Niekerk (2004); No Problem by Catherine Butterfield – Terry and Aprés Opèra by Valerie Smith and Michael Bigelow Dixon – Karen, (2003) - Die Lier

Michelle Victor: Actor

Michelle Victor"To my director, Stephanie van Niekerk: A true teacher will not bid you to enter the portholes of her wisdom but rather lead you to the threshold of your own understanding. Thank you for believing in me. Your guidance has been invaluable."
Film: It's Complicated Short film by Auteur Film School - Melissa: lead (2010); The Great Michael Strauss Junior in Bloom Life in a Glass House Production - Frangipani (2010) Theatre: Daydreams and Nightmares by Stephanie van Niekerk – Sam, (2010) – Die Lier; Aprés Opèra by Valerie Smith and Michael Bigelow Dixon – Karen, (2008) - Die Lier

Xander Sutherland: Actor, Film & Video Director

Xander Sutherland

"Stephanie gee ware 'hands-on' onderrig met praktiese toepassing van alles wat in die kursus aangebied word."

Film & Video Director: Shooting the Masses Production Co. Theatre: Dubbelspraak by Stephanie van Niekerk – Sarel Treurnicht, (2006) – Die Lier;Prisma – a program of prose and poetry compiled by Stephanie van Niekerk (2004);The Husband and the Little Miss by Arthur Schnitzler – The Husband and Die Laaste Om Te Gaan by Harold Pinter [translated by Stephanie van Niekerk] – Kroegman, (2003) – Die Lier

Sarah K Roberts: TV and Stage Director, Actor, Writer

Sarah K Roberts"Once you've worked with the Method technique, you'll wonder how you ever got by without it! As a stage actor and stage / TV director, I've found that knowledge and use of the Method has brought clarity and reality to my work. To anyone who is serious about performance, I can wholeheartedly recommend investing the time and effort to study this unique way of working."

TV: Co-director & Director: Idols M-Net and Signature and the YO-TV Road Show SABC 3; Acting Coach: Backstage e-tv

El Wolf: Actor

El WolfMethod Acting Training Centre taught me: my body is a very useful and sensitive instrument, accessible at any time or place; it is okay to express, in fact it is essential to express; professional behaviour counts for a lot in life; being an actor is hard work....very hard work!; quick and creative decision making is imperative, it’s not glamour that is important but to be a real, confident and conscious artist.

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