American Repertory Company

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The American Repertory Company' was in the 1980s and continued on until 2004, when founder Manu Tupou died on June 5. Manu Tupou not only was the founder but remained artistic director until his final days.


The American Repertory Company has a weird heritage as it is a product of the great teachers of New York from the mid to late 20th Century. Tupou, being the Artistic Director, shared his wealth of knowledge that had been passed down from his teachers. He studied with Lee Strasberg for 15 years at The Actors Studio, where he remained a senior lifetime member. Although his primary teacher was Strasberg, he also studied with the other greats such as Uta Hagen, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, and Harold Clurman. His studies with the aforementioned as well as his collegiate studies coupled with his understanding of nature as a life force in itself that benefits the artist, was the core of what The American Repertory had to offer for its select students.⟨⟩

It was a private company which offered classes limited to no more than 12 or 15 at the very maximum at a time as well as private training. This allowed Tupou to give focus on his students in detail and find their working problem and remedy it. Although Tupou brought with him the teachings of the great acting teachers, he reformulated much of the techniques to not only enhance the actors' training but to also protect their sanity. Being classmates with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Shelley Winters etc. during the heyday of sense memory, Tupou experienced first hand the long-term effects of the resultant damage that some of these techniques can cause. He sought to revamp these techniques while retaining their strength and intensity in order to protect the actors' sanity. The new technique was called the New Era Acting Technique (NEAT).

Technique and training[edit]

Gleaning true knowledge and workable applications from his extensive educational experience in the arts, Manu Tupou formulated his discoveries into the simplistic, but revolutionary, "New Era Acting Technique" (NEAT). The hallmark of the NEAT technique is its respect for the sanctity and sanity of the individual artist—upgrading the artist's creation away from the limitations of memory and recalled past experiences, into a more redeeming and uplifting "slice of life", happening here and now in present time.

This was the major difference in approach from the way his mentor Lee Strasberg taught Tupou and his classmates. One of the main philosophies behind the technique is that each talent is a unique essence unto itself—and also the most important, single, irreducible creative element in any production. Also equally unique (almost without exception), each talent observed will be found to have his own "working problem" as a creative artist. Small or large, the working problem can effectively sabotage any actor's creative abilities, and hence, his career. To Tupou an important aspect was not only to correctly and accurately identify the working problem of an actor but more importantly providing a workable route by which such problems could be overcome through understanding and improved artistic ability.

Notable alumni[edit]

American Repertory Company
American repertory company.jpg
Director Manu Tupou
Location Los Angeles, California, USA
In this photo from left right :Pablo Espinosa, Corin Nemec, Ken Lee, Lee Reyes, Manu Tupou, Ernie Reyes Jr., Santino Ramos