That was pretty good
C. C. Courtney was born in north Louisiana, in the triangle known as ArkLaTex because it is right in the intersection of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. He never stayed there much. When he was five, his parents divorced and he spent his childhood constantly moving around with his little brother. He considers himself to be from New Orleans which he still loves beyond measure. When he was only 8 he started preaching at churches in the South. He left home and entered college at the age of 15, receiving a degree in Economics. He stopped preaching at 16.
CC had started working in radio and TV when he was 14 and went at it full-time at age 16, working all over the US. There was no internet then and rock radio was the way most people under 30 communicated. If you had a message for somebody, you requested a song that said that and had the jock dedicate it to that person or persons.
CC returned to New Orleans for a legendary stint where he not only dominated the airwaves but had his own rock band and appeared on stage with most music stars of the day, including the Beatles. In fact, Bob Walker’s history of N. O. Radio says CC is the most popular personality in the history of New Orleans radio.
It all came to an end when CC’s younger brother was killed in an accident at a radio station in North Carolina. CC kept on for a while longer but soon just had to quit radio and get out of town. He had always had an interest in acting and wondered how to make it in that field. By chance, he met the famous actor Steve McQueen who asked CC to show him N.O. They spent a fabulous night catching all the great musical acts in the city. Around 4am they went for breakfast and CC asked Steve what he should do if he wanted to be an actor. Steve told him to go to New York to study acting with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse, at that time the best acting school in the country.
After surprisingly getting accepted by Sanford Meisner and completing the 2 year program, CC landed a principal role on an NBC soap opera, The Doctors. In less than a year on that show CC's role was an immense hit. He got roles on NYPD (Special Guest Star) and several other series popular at the time.
At this time CC got into writing and had several shows produced in New York, best known being a rock musical, Salvation, the biggest off-Broadway hit of the year and from which there was a song, “Why Can't I Touch You”, that reached the top-40 on the charts. You can hear this song by the original artist, Ronnie Dyson and several cover versions on Spotify and other music services. Later CC co-wrote Earl of Ruston, which ran on Broadway. (Not a hit because I was young and stupid—I shouldn’t have let them put it on Broadway as they don’t like country music in any form there. “Earl” was a sound similar to The Eagles who entered the scene about the same time.
Sanford Meisner called CC and told him he should be an acting teacher. CC thought of the saying “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Mr. Meisner laughed and said CC should come to his class where he would teach him how to be an acting teacher. CC did that.
Suddenly, in the midst of all this success CC bought into the back-to-the-land movement of the day. He quit The Doctors, got married, moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains and had two children, a son Kat and a daughter Silver, whom he delivered.
Then he suddenly moved again, this time to Carmel, CA where he published and edited a very popular radio trade magazine. CC received 21 gold records for his work in the music business.
His marriage ended. Wanting to fill some holes in his knowledge, CC went back to school and received two Master of Fine Arts degrees, one in Directing under Barry Kyle, of the Royal Shakespeare Company. CC wrote several more plays, which have been produced at universities, by regional theater, and in various commercial venues.
Over the years, CC has continued to act, doing many plays from regional theatre to off-Broadway. He also acted in films, working with such famous directors as Louis Malle and Steven Soderbergh. He also did independent films.
Alongside his acting and writing career, CC has directed plays from university theatre to Broadway. For 30 years, CC has taught acting in private classes, at universities and for 8 years, at the Neighborhood Playhouse. It was there that CC realized that teaching was his greatest gift.
Then CC met an opportunity. Mallorca Film Academy (MFA) offered him the chance to establish an acting conservatory—an artist’s colony in an amazing ancient, yet modern, district in the heart of Palma de Mallorca on a beautiful Spanish island in the Mediterranean. CC designed for MFA a 2 year conservatory curriculum. They were pleased with it and decided to move a scaled down version to their home country, Germany. CC didn’t want to live in Germany so once again he moved on.
He got married again and has spent many wonderful years with his wife Helen. He has moved back to the mountains. From his front porch you can see the Great Smokeys. From his back deck you can see The Blue Ridge Mountains. He is writing—songs, short stories and a memoir. But next to raising his children, CC considers teaching to be the most important thing he’s ever done.
Former Director of Undergraduate
Yale School of Drama
In my view, C. C. Courtney is the finest teacher of the Meisner Technique teaching today, both from a creative and an intellectual standpoint.There are many, many third and fourth generation Meisner teachers.Their understanding of the Meisner Technique is, however, often trite and superficial. Few have taken the trouble to comprehend Meisner's system with the same depth and erudition as Mr. Courtney, the absolute living authority on the subject.
*For the definitive study on the current state of Stanislavski based acting, read David Krasner's Method Acting Reconsidered
Former Head of Acting
School of the Theatre
Not since Sanford Meisner himself have we had a finer acting teacher than C. C. Courtney. Being a Meisner teacher is a very difficult thing to do. CC has immersed himself in teaching acting for over 30 years. He is now one of the best in the world. CC has excellent rapport with his students and the results have been outstanding.Many of his students have gone on to successful careers - - - stage, TV, and film. I give him my unqualified highest recommendation
Former Executive Director
School of the Theatre
C. C. Courtney is a world class expert in teaching the Meisner Technique. A highly gifted educator, writer, director and performer
Former Head of the Department of Theatre
Louisiana State University
Besides being an outstanding teacher of acting C. C. Courtney has unusually strong credentials as a composer, playwright and director. His keen intelligence combined with imagination and experience make him most unusual
His knowledge is deep and broad. CC is courteous, self-confident but never overbearing. He is a very nice human being.
C. C. Courtney is an artist and teacher of many talents
A director with a strong personal vision and outstanding results
He is a Meisner authority, capable of producing major development in actors
Particularly significant is a strong rapport with young actors
They trust him, like him, and work for him
Combining a strong grip of popular culture with an authoritative grasp of new technology,
C. C. has many supplements to his biggest strengths—his originality, passion and wisdom
He is brilliant
Former Director at
The Royal Shakespeare Company
C.C.Courtney als Schauspiellehrer ist ein Muss!
Wenn Du Deine Instinkte und Deinen Sinn
für Spiel wiederentdecken
und Ungezwungenheit auf der Bühne
und vor der Kamera
erleben möchtest solltest Du aufhören Deine
Zeit zu verschwenden
C.C.´s Klasse aufsuchen!
As a teacher, CC walked a very difficult line
with great success: he was at once utterly supportive
and totally uncompromising in his expectations.
Part of every truthful moment I have
on stage or screen belongs to him
My experience with CC molded my understanding of acting
He taught with such compassion
with such comprehension of the Meisner technique
I can now look into myself
using not only the Meisner technique
but also the words of wisdom from C. C. Courtney
In the year of 2001, I had the very fortunate opportunity
to study acting under C. C. Courtney in NYC
Being in CC’s classroom is like riding a roller coaster
It’s an exhilarating rush ~~~ you discover your full range
your personal highs and lows
Unlike teachers who cradle students through the process
CC gives you the incredible freedom to make mistakes
and those are beautiful moments
because any of your preconceived ideas
that may lead to bad acting ~~~ are shattered
Then with love, sensitivity and tact, he will help you build anew
Planting a seed of truth in your heart,
CC will enable you to blossom
not only as an artist but also as a human being
The training I got in studying with CC Courtney
was wonderfully personalized.
He has the unique ability to tailor his teaching
to suit each individual student
and bring out the very best in them.
His classes were always entertaining
My experience being directed by C. C. Courtney
was integral to my development as an actor
Initially I was resistant, self conscious, and even critical
but once I committed myself to the process
to thinking outside the box
I quickly realized what a prize opportunity CC had given us
to stretch as actors and create wonderful characters
Through CC's direction I was reminded how much fun it can be
C. C. Courtney was refreshingly unique
I will never forget the freedom I found in my experience with CC
and I will keep that with me in my acting always
CC is the most insightful, intuitive, experienced teacher
I still go back to my notes from his on-camera classes
every time I get a television or film job.
He has a gift for communicating with his students
With real knowledge of the business
and what is expected from a professional actor.
However, he also pushes his students
to go outside their comfort zone in search of the truth.
CC was the best preparation I could have had
for what I hope will be a lifelong career.
I am so grateful that I had him as a teacher.
There is only so much an actor can understand about their abilities
without a loving heart and soul like C. C. Courtney behind them CC is a Master teacher of honest, truthful acting
He invites you to find the truth of the moment
in his own very specific CC style
He is engrossing; you will hang on his every word
as you learn what it means to be dedicated to the craft of acting
C. C. Courtney is dynamic, dedicated; his incredible life experience
will open your eyes to what you never knew possible
C. C. Courtney is the most amazing
and the most inspiring person
I have ever had the opportunity to work with
I would follow him anywhere to work with him again
After studying at the Playhouse, I've been told that I have great instincts, courage in my choices, natural presence and tremendous range, great ability to work in a group and connect with fellow artists, and most importantly, truth in my performance. I owe that in very large part, to CC Courtney.
David R. Doumeng
My experience with C.C. is one I will never forget for the rest of my life. He opened his heart to everyone he has taught. His incredible understanding of the Meisner Technique brings a great sense of clarity to the work. Every day was a new experience! It was fun and exciting every time a new aspect of the technique was discussed, realized and then put into action. The strong foundation he instills and creates in you gives you more confidence and respect for the art of acting.
After my first acting class with C.C. Courtney
I knew I was in the right place
After my first week, I became an official CC groupie
He made me a stronger actor and his influence as a teacher is everlasting
I'm still discovering some of the lessons he tried to teach me
However, more important than my acting
CC has helped me become a stronger and more honest person
He is extremely sensitive to the human condition
and completely giving of himself.
In his acting class, you will learn as much about him as he will learn about you
He is eternally approachable, inside and outside the classroom
In fact, since graduating, he is the only teacher with whom I'm in frequent contact
C. C. Courtney is an actor's director
He is also a producer's director, a writer's director
and a director's director to boot
This all comes by virtue of CC's experience
He has succeeded on so many artistic fronts
he has an amazing wealth of knowledge from which to pull
His actors are rapt in awe and are nothing short of inspired
I am fortunate to have been one of those actors
and would hop, skip, and jump at the opportunity to do it again
Working with C. C. Courtney was a unique experience
I learned so many valuable things about both stage and film
from a teacher who knows the techniques
and how they are applied today
CC’s feedback is always honest, with clarity and insight
I am thankful to have taken his classes and to have worked with him
The knowledge that I gained has kept me acting since school
C. C. Courtney is truly amazing
It is an exceptional teacher who raises the bar
who believes his students can reach it
and demands they discover and commit
their unique abilities to do so
C. C. Courtney is such a teacher
CC’s lessons equipped me with tools and techniques
that I use constantly in auditions and performance
He encouraged me to be imaginative at all costs
to see beyond the obvious and live truthfully
both on and off the stage
C. C. Courtney is a true acting mentor
C. C. courtney is an amazing teacher
I was a very negative person
a one dimensional actor when I began studying with him
He helped me break down the barriers I spent my whole life building
and taught me how to make genuine contact
with other human beings on stage
As a result of working with CC
my acting range has greatly expanded
and the quality of my work has grown immensely
I would not be the person or actor that I am today
without C. C. Courtney's influence in my life
Working with C. C. Courtney was an amazing experience
He has a real sense of theatricality, and a love
not only of actors, but of great scripts
He creates an environment when directing that allows the actors to feel
as if they are all collectively creating a work
while at the same time, supporting and guiding you through the process
With CC as a director, I learned to play and improvise
and truly live within the framework of the play
To fully enjoy the creation of a character and the world in which she lived
Finding that freedom that comes from working with C. C. Courtney
is a truly invaluable experience for any actor
C.C. Courtney provided me with a large foundation
He taught me to trust myself in spite of myself
CC is an experienced actor and teacher
He challenged me and inspired me to do anything but play it safe
This is a great asset to any actor
Jennifer Laine Williams
The best thing I ever did for my acting
was to learn the essential skills from C .C. Courtney
CC's teaching was the catalyst for my serious growth
He pushed me to be honest with myself as a person and as an actor
He enabled me to rid myself of my bad acting habits
He taught us the importance of being independent, self-sufficient
and, above all, imaginative
Under his expert guidance, we were given tools
to create Complete, Complex, interesting Characters
And the space in which to discover the best way to implement those tools
Just three years after studying with C. C. Courtney
Along came the lead in a big Hollywood movie---"The Ring"
There have been five movies since then
including the much acclaimed "Little Fish"
With three now in post production
Learning from C. C. courtney was one hell of a ride
CC teaches from his experience, his life and from his heart
He taught me to give more of myself as an actor
by showing us how to do that
I have never had a more giving teacher
The year I spent in class with CC is one I will never forget
C. C. Courtney instilled the confidence I needed to try new things
to challenge myself with material I might not have tried before
To explore new avenues, new ways of approaching a character
Not to always pick one way but to try new ways
to create an interesting character that people will want to watch
Then CC taught me
how to play that character with no holds barred
Never hold back anything
express everything you feel,
Never be afraid to make a fool of yourself
you just may find what makes you stand out from the crowd
CC has been such an inspiration to me
He believed in me and showed me
I really have something to offer in this dream of mine
C.C. Courtney took what I thought was acting
and turned it on its ear,
He led me through a lot of confusion, inner turmoil and tears
all crucial steps in my evolution toward being a more solid,
more believable, more real actor and human being
What I learned from CC has extended far beyond my career
into my everyday life
I am a much more confident, aware and complete person
because of C. C. Courtney
C. C. Courtney taught me more about myself in one year
than a psychologist could have in ten
He taught me how to be strong and vulnerable at the same time
most importantly he showed me that compassion is a rare quality
and I should be proud to have it
CC was tough on me but always fair
He taught me how to trust my instincts and choices in acting
CC's passion and devotion for acting still inspire me everyday
Rossana Fernandez Maldonado
C. C. Courtney me enseñó no solo me hizo mejor actriz si no mejor persona,
mucho más abierta y sensible al mundo
CC me preparó de una manera rigurosa pero cariñosa y cercana
en todo lo necesario para convertirme en una actriz
auténtica, exigente, perceptiva, sensible, crítica, creativa, segura
y sobre todo real y sincera
CC allowed me the room to experiment, but then he reigned me in
making the moment-to-moment reality become truthful
His insight into the nuances of the emotional landscape
guided me to perform with fullness and truth
I am very thankful to have worked with C.C. Courtney
CC's way of teaching is like no other
He allows you to make mistakes so you may really know what they feel like
Then the chance of your repeating them are slim
Not many acting teachers give you that opportunity
CC is such an inspiration to me, and always will be
He reminded me constantly that I can do things I thought I couldn't
opening a whole new door for me to enter and explore
Not only as an actor, but also as a person
CC’s teaching is not about himself, you, the student, are the most important person
Learning in his class gave me a deep understanding
of the profession, of my work, and of myself
I wouldn’t be the same actress nor the same person had I not been in CC’s class
"An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words"