John Ruskin was Sanford Meisner’s apprentice, first studying with the master at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City and continuing with him in Bequia in the West Indies where Meisner had a residence. John was chosen by Meisner to become his apprentice and join the acting classes faculty of The Neighborhood Playhouse to teach the Meisner Technique. John is honored to be one of the few teachers authorized by Sanford Meisner to teach his technique.
The Ruskin School is the Los Angeles representative of The Neighborhood Playhouse.
Anthony Hopkins, Ed Asner, Dylan McDermott as well as many other renowned actors and directors have taught and continue to teach our Scene Study with Master Teachers Classes at The Ruskin School. Click here for more information.
The Ruskin School offers year round acting classes in Meisner Technique, Scene Study, Scene Study with Master Teachers, Directors / Non-Actors Classes, and classes for Young Actors. The school also offers a six-week introduction class in the Meisner Technique throughout the year.
Anthony Hopkins and Brett Ratner
on Charlie Rose
talking about acting classes at The Ruskin School
A personal message from John Ruskin,
“It is difficult to put into words how profound my experience has been to be a teacher. When Sandy Meisner asked me to join the teaching staff at The Neighborhood Playhouse, I was tentative. Having been an actor myself, I didn’t want to deviate from my passion. Yet something must have spoken deeper within me because I decided to give it a try. As I sat through years of Sandy’s teaching, I saw an unfolding taking place in each student. I recognized in them what had happened in me years before. There is a transformation that takes place within an individual as a human because of this work, and that transformation directly relates to being a better actor. It is moving and life changing to be a part of and to witness this work.
When I was a student at The Neighborhood Playhouse I was grateful that Sandy had invented something to introduce me to the scariest parts of myself. I understood that acting classes was about revealing, but I did not know how to access all parts of myself. The Repetition Exercise was the most profound awakening I had ever experienced. Repetition begins by placing your focus completely on another individual and, in turn, the other person places their focus entirely on you. This is the beginning of making contact. You look at your partner and notice what you pick up from their behavior, “You’re listening to me”. They in turn respond with what is the truth for them, or something they pick up from your behavior. As the exercise grows with time, there is no hiding from your partner or partners. This translates into the work people put up with their scenes. The more you are able to reveal yourself, the deeper you are able to be as an actor. As George Bernard Shaw stated, “Acting is self-revelation brought to the optic of the theatre.” There are these moments in repetition where I see generations of fear lifted from people’s beings. The simple act of being seen in our most intimate places rocks people’s worlds open. I witness it daily in my classes.
I like to think of theatre as a place where people grow and learn about themselves. Actors that have moved me have an emotional honesty that pulls at the deeper threads of my being. When I leave the theatre feeling more alive, more full then when I walked in, I know the world can change through art. As the great writer William Saroyan said, “As long as there is art, war can kill nothing.”
The Ruskin School of Acting is particularly mindful of fostering a safe and nurturing environment in which actors can explore themselves deeply. We know that one’s ability to reveal directly relates to the amount of safety they feel. All the exercises that we do in our program help the actor to experience new parts of themselves. This ownership is key to gaining confidence as an artist. If you have been able to experience your deepest pains, sorrows, joys, fears, and then reveal them to another you are then free to utilize them in your work as an artist. This is the goal of all of artists; to help their audience experience the human condition. To do this, actors must be willing to experience themselves and their feelings in ways other people are not willing. And by doing so, they give their audience permission to do the same. ”
– John Ruskin