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 popuar 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 (who didn't like country or rock) said it was the best thing he ha seen on Broadway since the 1950s.
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.
Just three years after studying with C. C. Courtney, along came the lead in a big Hollywood movie---"The Ring"
There have been several movies since then including the pretty well respected "Little Fish".
The last time I saw Martin was at a film festival in Austin. He told me he had decided he didn't like film work and was going to concentrate on the stage. All of a sudden I saw him getting rave reviews on the main stages in London. Years later he is still getting major roles in London and New York.
C. C. Courtney 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.
CC 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. C. C. Courtney 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.
Class of 2002
Major role on TV series "Rescue Me"
Nominated for Best off-Broadway
Many and constant roles, stage, television and film
The training I got in studying with C. C. 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
And --- CC's 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 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 and I will keep that with me in my acting always.
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.
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 C. C. Courtney
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!
Andreas Wolfram, Germany
Before studying with C .C. Courtney
I always felt like I was just going through the motions. The great thing about his style is that he challenges you.
CC never backed off on me. He taught me to never ‘just settle'. You really learn how to use your imagination. And, believe me there is never a dull moment with CC
C. C. Courtney taught me to truly listen to the other actor. He inspired me to take bold risks, not to worry about how weird or crazy it might be. I'll never forget one day CC said to me "Stop screwing around with all this phony emotion".
I went back to my seat feeling like a little kid who got caught telling a big lie!
Which I never told again!
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. In his own very specific CC style. CC invites you to find the truth of the moment. 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.
In 2001, very fortunately, I had the opportunity to study acting under C. C. Courtney in New York City. 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, CC gives you the freedom to make mistakes. And those are beautiful moments. Any of your ideas and habits that lead to bad acting are shattered. Then with love, sensitivity, and tact
CC 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
After my first acting class with C.C. I knew I was in the right place. He made me a stronger actor. His influence as a teacher is everlasting. I'm still discovering lessons he tried to teach me. However, more important than my acting
CC has helped me become stronger, more honest. He is extremely sensitive to the human condition and completely giving of himself. He is eternally approachable inside and outside the classroom.
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 that he has an amazing wealth of knowledge. 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.
I consider myself very lucky to have had C. C. Courtney as my teacher. Learning Meisner technique is a journey out of the ordinary and it takes a lot of guts and trust in the process. CC created a very safe environment in the classroom which made it easier to open up and share the experience. It's an amazing technique that makes you alive on stage
I cannot thank CC enough.
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 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, believes his students can reach
it , demands that they discover and commit their unique abilities to do so.
C. C. Courtney is such a teacher.
His lessons equipped me with tools and techniques that I use constantly in auditions and performance. CC encouraged me to be imaginative at all costs, to see beyond the obvious and live truthfully 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 and a one dimensional actor. CC helped me break down the barriers I spent my life building.
He taught me how to make genuine contact with other humans. As a result of working with CC my acting 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.
The most important thing I learned from CC was to find my true individuality and to stand up with it. This gave me a certain power and strength that I had never felt
and it was the greatest lesson I have ever learned from any teacher. CC taught me that my unique self is my strongest tool.
CC is not afraid of doing things differently. His strength to steer away from the conventional has allowed him to be a truly unique individual and teacher.
CC provides only a positive environment for his students. He gives off incredible warmth and energy that creates a positive and safe environment. This environment that he sets allows the never-ending process for improving our artistry. The special light that CC exudes is such an inspiration and leaves an extraordinary impression that I'll never forget.
Working with CC 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 that allows actors to feel as if they are all collectively creating a work. At the same time, CC supports you and guides you. 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 her world. That freedom comes from working with C. C. Courtney
The teaching method of C. C. Courtney can be summed up in 3 words ---
"passion, precision and artistry".
No other acting teacher can unlock a performer's creative potential the way CC can. I discovered my own uniqueness
the most valuable asset you can have.
The C. C. Courtney method will give you the precision required to work onstage and in front of a camera.
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 and he drew on that experience. He challenged me and inspired me to do anything. To not play it safe. This is a great asset to any actor
The best thing I ever did for my acting was to learn the essential skills from
C .C. Courtney. He pushed me to be honest with myself. He enabled me to rid myself of my bad acting habits. He taught us the importance of being self-sufficient and, above all, imaginative. Under CC's expert guidance we were given tools to create complete, complex, interesting characters and space to discover the best way to use them.
I had the pleasure of being taught the art of acting by CC. He pushed me to reach my full potential. His approach forces you to question and expand your mind, to make more fruitful and creative choices.
After all, acting is about the choices you make. I can't thank him enough for the extremely valuable experience.
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. CC's passion and devotion for acting still inspire me.
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.
CC has been the single greatest influence on my acting. He established professionalism and discipline in the classroom. CC’s greatest strength is establishing a safe environment in which to experiment, explore, fail and ultimately learn. CC provides the biggest gift a teacher can give to a student---a true sense of ownership over craft, and technique. Never have I had an instructor encourage me to challenge me more as an actor. I consider C. C. Courtney to be my teacher, mentor, and friend.
C. C. Courtney is one of the most important persons in my life. He taught me more about myself in one year than I learned in all of my academic learning.
He provided me with an open and free environment. He encouraged me to take risks, to explore my potential. He taught me by guiding me to find answers within myself and by myself. CC has so much love; for his students; for teaching. He has integrity, vision and will.
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 approach. Not to always pick one way but to try new ways. To create something people will want to watch.
Then CC taught me how to play no holds barred., to never hold back on anything, express everything , ever be afraid to make a fool of yourself. You just may find what makes you stand out. CC has been such an inspiration to me. He believed in me, showed me I really have something to offer.
CC took what I thought was acting and turned it on its ear. He led me through 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 extends far beyond my career, into my life. I am a much more confident, aware and complete person because of C. C. Courtney.
I had no idea what acting was until C. C. Courtney taught me that acting is not only about telling stories. It's about bringing your own experiences to fill those stories.
Otherwise they are just empty words.
Furthermore, acting is about living one's life to the fullest. CC believes in taking risks not only in acting but in life. This is reflected in his teaching, in all aspects of his artistry. Without CC I would not take the risks that I do today as an actress and as a human being. I would not have the confidence to make the work my own
Lo que aprendí de C C Courtney me ayudó a ser no solamente una mejor actriz sino una 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 Me da mucha alegría que C. C. Courtney pueda estar ahora en Mallorca
y volcar así todos sus conocimientos y su amor por este arte a los estudiantes de España y toda Europa.
Rossana Fernandez Maldonado
What I learned from C. C. Courtney not only made me a better actress but a better person much more open and sensitive to the world. CC taught me in a very rigorous but kind and dedicated way.
He guided me and trained me in all matters I needed to become an authentic, demanding, perceptive, sensitive, critical, creative actress. Most of all, he taught me to be sincere and truthful.
Class of 2000
Rosanna has appeared in several television series, dozens of major stage
productions, and a major role in the most watched soap opera in the world.
CC's way of teaching is like no other
He allows you to make mistakes
so you 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.
C. C. Courtney made me realize that every moment has meaning, not only acting wise, but also in my life. You start to figure out quite specifically who you are and who the people around you are.
This soon translates to a wider and wider range of characters. CC has an amazing personality with the ability to make you feel in many ways. You are the lucky one if you have a chance to learn from him. I am for sure.
In C. C. Courtney’s class you almost don’t notice how you are learning
What he is teaching you is a very slow but deep and profound process
When you get out, you are able --- by yourself to apply the things you’ve learned In his class. You feel worshiped and respected as the person you are.
CC creates an atmosphere of freedom where you can try whatever you want
He encourages you to experiment but he doesn’t let you get away with any bullshit.
You can try out everything and see what works best for you but he gives you an honest, profound, professional analysis of your work . CC’s teaching is not about himself; you 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 C. C. Courtney’s class.
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.
Director of Undergraduate Theater Studies
For the definitive study on the current state of Stanislavski
based acting, read David Krasner's Method Acting Reconsidered
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
Head of Acting
C. C. Courtney is a world class expert
in teaching the Meisner Technique
A highly gifted educator, writer, director and performer
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
Department of Theatre
Louisiana State University
Sydney Pollack was well known as a director of such movies as Tootsie but he produced dozens of movies and acted a lot too in movies and TV series like Will and Grace. But my main interest in him was that he had been Sanford Meisner’s assistant at The Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC for a couple of years.
I met him when I was teaching at The Playhouse. I was in a deli when he came up to me, introduced himself and asked if I was C. C. Courtney. I couldn’t believe he knew my name. He said that he was always speaking to Playhouse students in that deli and that they spoke very highly of my teaching. He lived somewhere near The Playhouse and we ended up having coffee or lunch a couple of times. He came to my private classes several times.
One day I went in that little restaurant where we had lunch and there he was sitting with a gentleman who’s face I thought I knew. I stopped to say hello to Sydney and he said, “C. C. this is Clive Barnes. Clive this is C. C. Courtney, the best Meisner teacher I have ever seen.” I said, “Well, thank you very much but I think Bill Esper and Richard Pinter are a bit better than me. And I have been knowing Clive since back in the days when he was the drama critic for the New York Times.