This past fall I was given the opportunity to both intern with and study at the Institute. I will graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University in May 2014, and my college’s New York Arts Program gives students the opportunity to spend a semester off campus in New York City undertaking internships that match our professional interests. As I began to do research on the Institute I was fascinated by the dedication to preserving Lee Strasberg’s Method and legacy and when I met members of the staff and faculty their passion for theatre and Lee Strasberg’s legacy was both very clear and very admirable. I felt immediately that this was the place I wanted to be, and I was lucky enough to be given the internship.
Though I was only enrolled for twelve weeks, I learned a great deal in my time there. We were challenged to be honest, daring, and open to whatever happens in the classroom and most importantly to never doubt ourselves. One of the most important things I learned is that in order to cultivate your talent, you must first trust in your talent. The Method is based on working from the inside, from who we are at our core—trusting, loving, and accepting everything that makes us who we are gives us the confidence to utilize it in our work. Hard work and discipline is key at Strasberg, but the faculty is so dedicated to each student’s success that there is always a support system to help and inspire you.
My time interning at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute has been incredibly valuable. I have learned a great deal about the Method that works for me as an artist and I feel confident in my abilities to apply the sensory work and relaxation outside of the classroom. I can honestly say that I never had a bad day and I was never unhappy to be there. The staff’s enthusiasm is absolutely contagious, and I can only hope that as an intern I became an asset to their office. The memories I made at LSTFI are ones I will always cherish—it’s one of the most magical places I’ve ever had the privilege to be in, and truly felt like home.
I arrived at Strasberg Los Angeles after 18 years UK military service and a life-time dream to be an actor. Two years later I graduated from the Two-Year Conservatory having performed in the school’s Industry showcase and having worked in the invite-only acting class. It was never easy, it was often frustrating, exhausting and tearful but the opportunities and support are always there if you are dedicated and work hard.
All my teachers and the support staff (Marian Tomas-Griffin in particular) unceasingly provided apposite guidance not only when I sought it, but also when I didn’t know I needed it. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give is, that in a town overflowing with acting classes, when I return to Los Angeles, my first stop will be Strasberg LA where I hope I can find a place in The Lee Theatre with Hedy Sonntag and Studio One with Marno. I can think of no better way, place, or people with whom I would prefer to invest my money and my time.
After two years at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, I am truly a more grounded, determined and confident person. But it’s not something I have become. I have discovered what I have always been, through the relaxation og sense memory exercises. I have learned to take risks and to break away from doubt, limitation, inhibitions, habits and patterns, to discover my true potential. The teachers have always given me the encouragement and constructive feedback I need to feel safe and grow, and as they all have different approaches to the method, they inspired me in different ways that made it easier to understand and approach the techniques. Being able to tailor your own schedule and choose within a vast variation of classes to learn about script analysis, theatre theory and history, character work, scene work, improvisation, movement and acting both for camera and for stage, also made it easier to develop according to my own individual needs.
By trusting yourself, behaving truthfully in the moment within the specific elements of the craft, and using your own vivid life experiences and personality to relate to the work, you will stay inspired and able to tell real, belieavable, approachable and relatable stories. I believe an actor is never finished training, as we are never finished discovering, experiencing, growing, learning and living. But The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute has helped me begin my path in the professional business with the confidence I need and the ability to believe.
Tyler Ham Pong
What separates the Lee Strasberg Institute from the usual impression one gets from a ‘conservatory,’ is its impact on the maturing artist. The Institute gives young talent the tools not only to be a great actor in the present, but to evolve and adapt until the ‘Method’ becomes second nature. When you can apply what you learned five, ten or twenty years ago, into your living craft, then you can appreciate how successful your training was. This is the type of training that the Institute offers.
I can say that going to The Lee Strasberg Institute was one of the best things I’ve decided to do in my life! It is for sure the best place to study acting. The teachers are amazing; they treat everyone the same way and as professionals. I am proud to say that there is a ‘me’ before and after going to the school. I’ve grown so much, not just as an actress, but also as a person. I’ve made so many good friends, whom I know I’ll never forget and will cherish forever. And there are so many people from around the world, so that you get to be close to a variety of different cultures. Not to mention that New York is awesome! The only bad thing I can say is that your time in the school passes by way too fast! I’m completing my first year at the school and hope that I can return one day in the future. It has been the most important and amazing thing in my life and I recommend it to everybody!
Every artist needs a family, a home, a place which will enable him to sprout, unfold and blossom.
The entire Strasberg faculty is to be commended for never letting the profound work of Lee Strasberg to fall into oblivion and therefore always remain unique. My sincere respect goes to them for that admirable dedication.
The Lee Strasberg Institute has become my second home and it is an immense honor for me to be a part of this passionate family who gives me warmth, inspiration and encouragement in mastering and nurturing the craft of acting.