Welcome to Mike Bernardin's personal site, where you can find out about all his current activities and particularly about the Actors-Space, the actors' training resource that he has expanded throughout Europe. The principal goal of Actors-Space is to create spaces, real and virtual, for actors; to meet, to work, to network, to extend their range, to explore, to forge new paths, to play, to relax.... We are still constructing this site, so thank you for your patience.... Enjoy your visit, and get in touch!
Conceived as a collaboration between actors, directors, coaches and other colleagues, Actors-Space began as a platform for Mike's acting classes. These classes are deeply influenced by a twenty-year experience of the Meisner Technique, and an inspirational formative training in Physical Theatre with Desmond Jones.
Now based in Norfolk, UK, but with a global reach, Mike has established Actors-Spaces in London, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Marseille, Paris, Copenhagen and most recently Istanbul.
In all teaching, whether in Theatre schools or within professional companies, the aim is to serve actors in their ongoing artistic development, in a manner specific to the changing conditions in European film and theatre production.
“I just want to give you a feedback about your work in the last 10 weeks. In my opinion you´re a really open, emotional, skilled wise man, who has a really incredible way to connect and communicate to your students. For me, it´s very important to trust my teacher, to have the feeling, that I can open myself 100 percent. You see every student at his personal level and you treat everyone with respect and without preference for special students. And that is really, really rare. Too many teachers that I worked with in the past really wanted the students to please them.
But you treat everyone the same, and that, apart from your knowledge and quality of teaching, is absolutely cool !!!!”
“First of all, I want to thank you for being such a good teacher, not only to me, but to all of us. In this term, I realized and learned for the first time how to approach emotional preparation and how to identify with the character. I didn´t learn that on my acting school back in 1997. So you really gave me tools on how to work on a scene. I had such a great experience with Spoon River and I see a clear difference between this term and last term !!! Fuck, you´re really an exceptionally gifted teacher !!!”
"I want to go on! A lot of things are changing in my life at present. I am rediscovering that I love acting (I missed that feeling a long time).
I see how I have difficulties letting myself get "hit" by my counterpart. Being proud and being aloof serves me as protection, but instead is a way of avoiding real contact.
Admitting vulnerability actually puts a value on the fellow actor who is with you, it is acclaiming her / his power. (I think this is generosity.)
This is not only important for my acting. And I am convinced I can learn this by practicing with you.
Another thing. Doing repetition sets free a huge amount of energy, which I have been scared to handle. I felt my own power several times in the studio and I was anxious about it. And that's what continuing with the studies would mean for me: to better handle my own power or adjust the threshold to which I can work with it."
Some responses to the Technique, to the Actors-Space and to Mike's approach to teaching:
"..just let me start by telling you, how important for me was the intensive Meisner foundation course! For me it was like a process of discovering my emotional life. I admit, that in the beginning the repetitions seemed to me not so important. Now I see how much I have to learn to be aware of my partner, every moment here and now. This was the most exciting part for me - activity, prepare, create, improvise etc..”
"...working with you is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time! Your encouragement and your work is giving me back a feeling, that what I do for a living is not just some sort of lazy bone, pseudo bullshit. Actors not just a bunch of dummies who can't hold a proper job. But that there is something of value behind all that "clowning around". Something worth looking for, fighting for. And something one has to train for. And can fail in. Tough, try again! With your kind insistence, you have rekindled a fire that was out for years. For that I cannot thank you enough!!!
The work at the Actors-Space has started to affect not only my acting, but the way I look at the world & myself. What happens in class is so full and engaging. I wish I'd be there more often! And I love to talk about it, have an exchange with you and the others, that is not pressed into the 3hours (actually 4 - thank you for that as well!!) we have together.
Thank you for your energy and the time that you give so freely!”
“It's quite rare to find acting teachers that are good teachers, people who can deal with students on an individual level, challenging them in a way that's enriching, and you have done just that - I trust that's not just my opinion. I'm not assuming I know best how to do Meisner or even teach it, but people do recognise a teacher with lots of knowledge and humility as well. You created such a great environment to learn and experiment - I never felt stupid or as if there are things I could do wrong. In London, where there's a master of acting on every corner and opinions are buy one get one free, Actors Space was just a wonderful place to be and learn.”
"What was so astounding about the weekend (one weekend!) was the realisation that the old received wisdom, "Alert! Close Up! Please do less!" is totally unfounded!!
That you can jump, with full emotion, expressing yourself with eye rolling, tongue lolling, carpet eating appetite, AS LONG AS you are working from an authentic truth at the base of your behaviour. And then the camera LOVES you! And conversely, if you are for a moment untruthful in front of the camera, then you become, especially in Close Up, unbearable to watch...
(perhaps this where the advice comes from, ideally to do nothing, because then you can't do anything wrong, and the audience has a chance, in your unmoving face, to interpret something for themselves!)
And so I learned that there is NO DIFFERENCE in essence, between acting for camera and acting for the stage, but only a difference between truthful or untruthful acting!
So, after eleven years in regular work on television, wondering why it wasn't fun and why I still felt nervous about certain kinds of scene, thank you, and thank you Wolfgang, for this wonderful experience. I look forward immensely to further work with the Actors-Space!"