Janine Manatis

"Stanislavsky in Canada"
An Interview with Janine Manatis
 Exerpted with permission from the Book: "Stanislavsky and Directing"
by Anna Migliarisi, ed., Legas Publishing, Copyright 2009


The Playwrights Studio: 1964-1966


The Playwrights' Studio, modelled on the Playwrights' Unit of the Actors' Studio, was launched in Toronto in 1964 by Eli Rill and award-winning actor, director, writer and teacher Janine Manatis.  Manatis was unique in that she had been trained by all three of the great teachers of the Method -- Strasverg, Adler and Meisner. She was one of the handful of women who was in the Actors' Studio Directors' Unit under Elia Kazan, and she was head of the Playwrights' Unit where she worked with Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, Terence McNally, Author Kopit, Deric Washburn, Jack Gelber, Norman Mailer, Lorraine Hansberry, June Havoc, Michael Gazzo and James Baldwin (who not only became Manatis' mentor for her writing, but adapted his novel Giovanni's Room for a production for her).

   The Playwrights' Studio in Toronto was dedicated to nurturing and supporting Canadian plays and playwrights.  It was unprecedented:

(More Coming Soon....)


The Ensemble Workshop: 1974-1976

The Ensemble Workshop (EW) was a Toronto-based training ground for actors, directors, writers and producers sponsored by the NFB under the aegis of producer and filmmaker Beryl Fox, best known for her film , The Mills of the Gods: Vietnam (1965).  Conceived and conducted by Manatis, the EWcame about after Fox, who had been appointed head of the new NFB production office in Toronto, asked Manatis, "If you could do anything you wanted here, what would it be?"  Manatis responded,

I would like to develop the equivalent of The Actors' Studio for writers, directors, actors and producers in Canada. I believe it is desparately needed and the absence of such a place is holding Canada back. It's not a lack of talent, or enterprise, but it is the absence of such cohesive traning.

Whereas the Actors' Studio was divided into three autonomous units for actors, writers and directors, the EW instead united the training into an ensemble...

(More Coming Soon)

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Copyright 2009-2011 - Janine Manatis