“Wendy’s passion for the craft is contagious.”
—Katie Adler, Los Angeles
“I often arrive to Wendy’s classes with butterflies in my stomach, but I always leave a better actress. Expect to be invigorated, challenged, excited, tested, have highs and lows and to discover much more about yourself and your ability.”
—HELENA PLAZZER, AUSTRALIA
MASTER MEISNER INSTRUCTOR / ACTING & AUDITION COACH / MENTOR
Wendy Ward received her BA in drama in 1981 from Duke University. She continued her training at the National Theatre Institute and continued her studies in New York with Anna Deavere Smith, Larry Arrick and Vivian Matalon. In 1987, she began her Meisner training under James Price at The Acting Studio, one of New York City’s leading acting schools devoted to the work of Sanford Meisner. Upon completion of her training, Mr. Price honored Ms. Ward by asking her ‘to sit with him’ to become a Meisner teacher. Through this apprenticeship, Ms. Ward began teaching the Meisner Approach for The Acting Studio and became its Associate Director in 1989.
In 1996, she founded the Ward Acting Studio and quickly established herself as one of New York City’s master instructors of the Meisner Approach. She has taught upwards of 4,000 actors, many of whom have traveled as far away as England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Iceland, Macedonia, Austria, Italy, Russia, Israel, Germany and Australia to work with her.
In 2005, she was hired by University of the Arts in Philadelphia to work alongside Neighborhood Playhouse teachers James Brill and Ernest A. Losso, teaching the Meisner Approach to sophomore acting and musical theater majors.
In 2010, Australia granted Ms. Ward its highly coveted Distinguished Talent Visa, allowing her to become a permanent resident and move her Studio to Melbourne. While there, Wendy taught Meisner workshops at St. Martin’s Youth Arts Centre, LaTrobe Student Theatre, and The Film and Television Studio International in addition to opening her own theater space in the Footscray Cotton Mills. In 2015, Wendy moved her studio to its current location in Durham, North Carolina.
Ms. Ward is also Artistic Director of the Ward Theatre Company which she founded in 2005 in New York City as a performance venue for her graduates. The Company offers opportunities for actors to work as an ensemble and become collaborators in the creation of original work presented in longer performance runs. In its first season, the Company received two nominations for Outstanding Acting from New York Innovative Theater Awards. The Ward Theatre Company is unique in that it is populated solely with actors who are Meisner trained and has included performers from as far away as Austria, Australia, Israel, Germany, Macedonia and The Netherlands. Most recently, the Company opened its new space in Durham, North Carolina where it received critical acclaim for its premiere productions of Jacuzzi and I Wish You A Boat. Ms. Ward’s work has been described as “movies on stage” in reference to her particular ability to get compelling, authentic performances from her ensemble. Critics consistently mention her ensemble’s exceptional esprit de corps and the surprising quality of performances from actors performing for the first time. During the past two years, her company has been included on INDY Week Magazine’s list for the region’s Top Ten Outstanding Performances and Triangle Arts and Entertainment's list for Top Ten Ensembles.
Ms. Ward is featured in the books Acting Teachers of America by Ronald Rand, Acting Career Start-Up by Anthony Smith and An Actor’s Guide to Making it in New York, available in major bookstores. You can learn more about her Meisner studio at wardstudio.com and learn about her work as a director at wardtheatrecompany.com.