A Vital Tool for Actors

In acting, where physical expression and emotional availability are paramount, the Alexander Technique is an essential practice for performers. Developed by the actor FM Alexander, it is not merely a set of exercises; it's a practical philosophy of movement and mindfulness that enables actors to shed unhelpful habits and stage freight, and embrace a poise and presence that resonates both on stage and on screen.


"I find the Alexander Technique very helpful in my work. Things happen without you trying. They get to be light and relaxed. You must get an Alexander teacher to show it to you". - Hugh Jackman, actor

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

Understanding the Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique is about reeducating the body and mind, seeing them as an indivisible whole. It teaches actors to become acutely aware of their postural habits and movements, which are often ingrained and automatic. By doing so, performers can identify and release tension, leading to a more relaxed and authentic embodiment of their characters.


"With the best intentions, the job of acting can become a display of accumulated bad habits, trapped instincts and blocked energies. Working with the Alexander Technique has given me sightings of another way... Mind and body, work and life together. Real imaginative freedom..." - Alan Rickman, Actor

Christopher Reeves as Voldemort

Why Actors Embrace the Technique

 Actors are storytellers, and their instrument is their body. The Alexander Technique is lauded for its ability to improve vocal performance, stamina, increase clarity of perception, and free up spontaneity. It's an effective tool for managing performance nerves and enhancing stage presence. The technique's focus on self-awareness allows actors to change poor habits and develop a wider repertoire of skills, ensuring their performances are as compelling as possible.


"Alexander Technique really helped my posture and focus during my stint as Othello... Imagine how excited I was when arrived at the National Theatre for Comedy of Errors and found I could have Alexander taught to me once a week, I was chuffed to little meatballs." - Lenny Henry, Comedian and Actor

Darth Vadar
James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vadar

The Technique in Practice

In practice, the Alexander Technique involves a series of explorations that encourage mindfulness and ease of movement. It's not about adding more effort but about subtracting unnecessary tension. Actors learn to approach their roles with a sense of lightness and agility, allowing for a more nuanced and dynamic performance with less habituated mannerisms. 


"The many obvious benefits that the technique afforded us as actors included minimised tension, centredness, vocal relaxation and responsiveness, mind/body connection and about an inch and half of additional height. In addition, I have found in the ensuing years great benefits in my day to day living. By balancing and neutralising tensions, I've learned to relieve as well as to avoid the aches and pains caused by the thousands of natural shocks that flesh is heir to." - Kevin Kline, actor

Classic Examples

That iconic moment when Christopher Reeves takes off his glasses and transforms from Clark Kent to Superman is a classic example of the Alexander Technique in practice. Reeves' Superman is an excellent portrayal of relaxed poise and presence without relying on theatrics.


A personal favourite comes from Kevin Spacey's character Roger 'verbal' Kint in The Usual Suspects. I've been known to give watching this film as homework just for the final scene (spoiler alert) where Spacey unfolds himself from the character of Kint.


"I was dubious about the effects of the Alexander Technique when I first went in to experience it, but I found out almost immediately that the benefits were total - both physically and mentally - and, happily, have also been long-lasting." - Joanne Woodward, actress

Clark Kent & Superman
Christopher Reeves as Clark Kent & Superman

A Legacy in Drama Education

The Alexander Technique has been a foundation of actor training at major drama schools in the UK and around the world. It's recommended by leading actors and has been part of the curriculum at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) for over 30 years. Its influence on the craft of acting is undeniable, shaping the performances of novices and seasoned professionals alike.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but here are some well known actors who have studied the Alexander Technique: Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Margo Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Keanu Reeves, Christopher Reeves, Lupita Nyong’o, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alan Rickman, Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Patrick Stewart, Michael Cain, Lenny Henry, Maggie Smith, Kevin Spacey, Kenneth Branagh, Jesse Eisenberg, Kevin Kline, Juliette Binoche, Jennifer Saunders, Hilary Swank, Julie Andrews, Stephen Dillane, John Cleese, James Earl Jones, Lynn Redgrave, Robin Williams, Mary Steenburgen, Dianne Wiest, Joanne Woodward.

"The Alexander Technique is a way to transform stress to joy" - Juliette Binoche, actress

Please feel free to contact me for further information.


Adrian Farrell MSTAT




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