Maggie Flanigan

Artistic Director, Master Teacher


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Maggie trained as an actor and teacher of the Meisner technique with William Esper and quickly became one of the most revered teachers at his studio. At Rutgers University, she served with particular distinction on the faculty of the Professional Actor Training Program at Mason Gross School of the Arts for eighteen years. There, she co-taught the acting classes in the MFA Acting Program and worked with the University/Resident Theatre Association auditions. She also co-directed the NYC and L.A. industry showcases.

It is widely acknowledged by actors familiar with Meisner training and by professionals in the industry that Maggie understands and teaches the Meisner work more clearly and precisely than any practicing Meisner teacher today. In 2010, she won the NYC Back Stage Readers’ Choice “Favorite Scene Study Teacher” and “Favorite Private Acting Coach” awards. Maggie shared “Favorite Acting Teacher” in NYC in both 2006 and 2008. She also won “Favorite Private Acting Coach” in NYC for 2008. She is included in the book, Acting Teachers of America. She participated in the author’s symposium as a panelist.

Maggie established the Maggie Flanigan Studio to offer smaller acting classes and to give individual attention to serious actors in a conservatory-based program. She has carefully chosen the faculty and designed the curriculum to parallel an MFA-based program. Over the past decade, the Studio has become known for its repertory acting classes has become a magnet for talented actors interested in the Meisner technique.

Maggie was the leading actress of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s play The Little Flower of East Orange in a 2006 staged reading at the Public Theatre. She subsequently read the part again with Phillip Seymor Hoffman, Yul Vasquez, and Stephen Adly Guirgis at the Drama Bookstore in 2009. Maggie also taught, coached, and directed at Bard College’s LAB Intensive Summer Program in 2009.

Throughout her teaching career, Maggie has made an astonishing impact on two generations of talented acting students. Maggie is known and loved for her gift of clarity, her eye for truth, and her ability to inspire actors and to demand excellence from them. Maggie is a purist who sets the bar high.

Her former and current students include Sam Rockwell, Chris Massina, KaDee Strickland, Piper Perabo, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Yul Vasquez, Leslie Bibb, Vanessa Aspillaga, Peter Scanovino, Dean Winters, Kohl Sudduth, Scott Winters, Calista Flockhart, Kristin Davis, Jeremy Davidson, Elizabeth Rodriguez, and Scott Hudson.

Maggie Philosophy

Acting at its best is a creative art. Actors need the ability to craft well in order to master their acting instrument. I have created a nurturing home for artists to sharpen their skills and to solidify their craft. The work at my studio is based on Sanford Meisner’s technique combined with my experience teaching this work, which has totaled over thirty years. I have created a conservatory-based program with a handpicked faculty, all of whom have been mentored by me and carry extensive

What is Artistry?

Artistry is the CARE that the actor gives in crafting a role. Some character parts can be achieved in one stroke. Others require a deeper understanding of the character and need more time to grow and develop – more strokes. But whatever the choice, the idea must be boiled down to it’s essence and must be actable. They cannot be merely in the head of the actor. It need to be translated into the living, breathing behavior of the character. Simplicity in execution is the goal.

There is no such thing as a complicated moment. The actor must spend as much time as needed to work out a moment, an idea, a beat, a monologue. And as difficult as some of this can be, the actor must, on some level, love this process. This is the creative struggle to discover that one stroke or a number of strokes that creates the essence of the character.

Additionally, part of artistry in the continual search for inspiration. Many times this can come from another artist who speaks to the actor’s heart. The artistic process for all artists is generally similar. I have taken my inspiration from poets, novelists, painters, sculptors, a passing figure on the street, mother nature herself or a personal remembrance. All of these speak to me and ask me to continue my struggle as an artist. This is the process that I have fallen in love with.