Peter Feeney

Visiting Artist / Teacher (2024 Term 5)

Peter Feeney has been a professional actor since 1994, working in UK, US, Australian and NZ Theatre, TV & Film. He runs his own Auckland Screen Acting school, the Actors Lab Studio, and is a guest teacher at Drama schools and for organisations such as MEAA, NZ Equity and SDGNZ. Peter is also a published author and has written numerous articles and several screenplays and books. His handbook on acting, ‘Acting and How to Survive it,’ was published in 2020 to great acclaim.
He’s recently been casted for a feature film with among others Amy Adams, Jenny Ortega and Cillian Murphy’s son.

You can pick up a copy of Peters book at A good bit of Peters methodology and technique work is right there in his book. “This is a fine act book, and even if you never got the chance to meet Peter, you’d walk away richer-in a practical, playable way- just for having read it.” Alex Murphy, Mulholland Program Dir.



Acting Gym is a collaborative, fun, dynamic, powerful and irreverent work out using the Scene alignment technique. This popular and simple technique weaponizes participation, bringing the intelligence of the whole group to the work: the hive mind.
Find out how much you know about acting (you’ll be surprised), AND learn:

  • How to run your own peer led scene group.
  • How to take direction and turn your performance on a dime.
  • How a scene can be REALLY different, take to take/ run to run – but just as good: bake irreverence into your work.
  • How much you know about good acting – explore your directing skills and set yourself up for future collaborations and creating your own work.
  • How to run your own peer led scene group – in New Zealand Peter has set up with the Actors Union Equity a plethora of such groups. They sustain actors and help keep them in the game.

The term will start with 2 Acting Gym sessions (no camera) to gel the group to arouse everyone’s curiosity, engagement and collaboration. Then we’ll introduce Camera for 2 sessions for learning purposes: we’ll use some group feedback and some direction hijacks from Peter. Footage will be recorded and sent to you. We’ll find out what you know and grow your screen acting tool kit by introducing camera specific techniques, such as vista, camera eye, external and internal landscape, and more. The term will start with several Acting Gym sessions to gel the group and arouse everyone’s curiosity, engagement and collaboration.
In the final 3 sessions we’ll introduce show reel standard camera and operator, but still keep a sense of play, and get you some quality showcase footage you can take away with you. Our focus in these classes in your screen performance is on how you can be unselfconscious and free in the moment, while still serving the writer’s intention. Sometimes (when the work requires) we’ll ramp things up with physical and vocal exercises.
Most sessions have camera. You’ll do a new scene every session.

To get the most out of this class, please order Peter’s book


7 Weeks
May 6 – June 17, 2024
6pm – 10pm (4 hours)
(all seats taken)


7 Weeks
May 7 – June 18, 2024
6pm – 10pm (4 hours)
(4 spots left)


The Screen test – 2 sessions

Where it all begins and ends, the screen test is really a test of your acting, under conditions of unique pressure. Learn how to bring your skill with a sense of play and freedom to bear against that pressure. Using Peter’s relevant chapters as a guide, he’ll show you how to bring a choice into the room that is true to your own flavour, the intentions of the writer and – maybe – something the auditioners haven’t thought of or seen.

Participants will be given audition scenes to prepare. For some sessions these will be different, but for some, multiple actors will be given the same scene/ character. We’ll then be able to explore how each individual actor’s unique flavour brings something different to the character, and how we can change our offer based on adjusting our choices. We’ll discuss who we would cast in the role, and why. Actors will comment on other actors’ flavour and brand, giving all an insight into the niche that they may fill in their professional career.

We’ll revisit what you know and add in more technique.

Self-Tapes – 2 sessions

Self-taping is a skill that all actors must master in today’s global casting place. We’ll cast you in self-tape scenes to film at home (your mobile phone is fine to do this). Then we’ll watch these in class. This is viewing your work under a microscope – challenging but really rewarding stuff! We’ll hone your screen work in these sessions and discuss the particular techniques that can lift both your self-tape and screen acting outcomes.

Over these sessions we will cover:

  • Technique – how to prep, getting inside the head of the writer (knowing story points/ what show you’re in/ doing your research), how to learn lines by heart, not by head.
  • Presentation – hair, make up, costume, demeanour.
  • Performance – making friends with the room, nerves and the head game, making your offer, connecting to the reader, taking direction.
  • TVC, Drama and the art of the ID

Show-Reel – 3 sessions

Here we put it all together and film three scenes or monologues for you to take away using a show reel standard camera and operator
All sessions have camera

To get the most out of this class, please order Peter’s book


7 Weeks
May 8 – June 19, 2024
6pm – 10pm (4 hours)


It’s nerve wracking to be watched. It’s always you up there. But every role you play has not been written specifically for you. The audience don’t see you. They see a character. Understanding how to create a character can free you from self-consciousness and free your acting.

This course is all about pushing beyond your conception of what you can do, powering beyond boundaries, discovering how big you can go to end up finding your specific, subtle, acting sweet spot. It’s all very challenging, and very rewarding. You’ll surprise yourself!

We’ll start with several sessions of Acting Gym to build group trust, with intensive warmups and scene work.

Then, working on monologues of your own choice and some scenes from classic plays and films, we’ll find what freedom in acting means for you with vocal, mask and physical exercises to activate your voice, body and imagination into the written word.

We will use character masks in some sessions.


To get the most out of this class, please order Peter’s book


7 Weeks
May 9 – June 20, 2024
6pm – 10pm (4 hours)


Here we work on scenes and characters from plays and films that Peter Feeney has acted in, and/ or written or directed – such as Blind Bitter Happiness (TV, watch on, Black Sheep (Film) and Milo’s Wake (theatre). We will bring relevant tools to bear like keywording, expectations, second track, scene actions and given circumstances. Our character work will cover the lists, animal work, observation, talking the character, solo work, physical work and group character improvisations.

You’ll also learn a new emotional language; how to bring your personal emotional world to the work and utilise your nervous energy and doubt. We’ll delve into how the character’s outer action/ behaviour/ strategy/ feeling relates to their actual inner emotion. We’ll use physical and vocal exercises to get actors out of their heads and into their body, imagination and voice.

The 3rd to final session will be Show-reel – using a show reel standard camera and operator to scenes or monologues for you to take away. The 2nd to final session will be a rehearsal for the final class. The final class will be a presentation for friends and family. This performance will be on the Sunday June 16.

To get the most out of this class, please order Peter’s book


7 Weeks
May 10 – June 14, 2024
Performance on Sunday June 16
6pm – 10pm (4 hours)

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