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C.C. Courtney

That was pretty good

 
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About C.C.

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.

 

Peers

David Krasner

Former Director of Undergraduate

Theater Studies

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

Richard Pinter

Former Head of Acting

Neighborhood Playhouse

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

Hal Baldridge

Former Executive Director

Neighborhood Playhouse

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

Gresdna Doty

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

Barry Kyle

Former Director at

The Royal Shakespeare Company

 

Testimonials

Andreas Wolfram

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!

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Amos Crawley

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

Alisha Frank

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

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Daniel Tirado

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

Adair Moran

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

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Adam Waxman

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

Ashlie Atkinson

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.

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Avery Pearson

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

Cady Allen

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

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Carla Tassara

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.

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Duane Cooper

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

Dustin Olson

    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

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Elli Stefanidi

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

Emma Gordon

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

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Eric Potempa

        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

Esther Barlow

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

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Gregory Konow

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

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Martin Henderson

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 
                ENOUGH SAID 

Matt Halliday

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 

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Nathan Lanman

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 

Philip Buiser

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 

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Kimberly LaFerriere

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

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Russell Bennett

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

Shauna Godwin

        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 

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Tina Grawe

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

 
Contact C.C.
 
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"An ounce of behavior is worth a pound of words"

Sanford Meisner

 

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