Throughout a professional career spanning over thirty years, Christiane has studied extensively in Vancouver, LA and is an Alumni of New York’s prestigious, HB Studio. As Co-Founder of Company of Rogues Actors’ Studio (est. 1993) Christiane has taught and mentored thousands of actors to date. Under her training, many of these artists have won Genie, Leo and AMPIA awards, and continue to enjoy successful careers both in Canada and Internationally. She is also an Alumnus of The Women in the Directors Chair Program, where she is often invited to fulfill the role of Mentor Actor – empowering the actor/director relationship. As Co-Founder & Studio Director of Rogues West, Christiane has returned to Vancouver to inspire a new generation of actors through her classes and workshops.
Actress: Christiane began her professional career in 1982, playing opposite James Gardner, Colleen Dewherst, and John Lithgow in the feature film The Glitterdome. She has since played over 60 lead and supporting lead roles in feature films, MOW’s, and in series television. Other credits include the lead role of Lill in the feature For the Moment (opposite Russell Crowe); Lori LaRoche in Skate – for which she won international recognition and a Gemini Nomination for Best Dramatic Actress; the lead female role of Hannah Peale on Lonesome Dove – The Series and her critically acclaimed performance in the lead role of Jennie in the feature film, Heart of the Sun, for which she won the 1999 AMPIA Award for Best Actress.
Training: Throughout a professional career that has spanned over 30 years, Christiane studied extensively in Vancouver, LA and is an Alumni of New York’s prestigious HB Studio.
Teacher: Christiane is Co-founder of Company of Rogues Actors’ Studio (est.1993-present), and its newest inception, Rogues West; the creative homes she shares with acclaimed actor/director Joe-Norman Shaw. To date Christiane has trained and mentored thousands of actors, many of whom enjoy prolific careers within the professional world. In 2010, two of her Vancouver students each won a Gemini and Leo Award: Jared Keeso, Best Actor in the title role of Don Cherry, The Don Cherry Story-Keep You’re Head Up Kid; and Benjamin Arthur Gutknecht, Best Comedic Actor, in the series Less Than Kind. Christiane has also taught professional development and acting for Film and Television at Mount Royal University.
WIDC Mentor: Christiane is often invited to fulfill the role of Mentor Actor for the Women in the Director’s Chair program at the Banff Centre. Christiane also serves on WIDC’s Board of Directors.
Writer/Film-maker: An Alumni of the Women in the Director’s Chair program, Christiane directed the short film Craving which appeared at the Calgary International Film Festival in 2005. She recently wrote and directed another short film, If You Really Knew Me (Voice Pictures/Pangloss Productions), for which she won the AMPIA Award for Best Screenwriter, 2013. As founder of Philosophia Films Inc., Christiane’s feature, Belly is now in development.
Professional Affiliations: ACTRA/CAEA/WIDC
Words from Christiane on Meisner Training:
“My acting training began at the ripe old age of 13, in the year 1981. Having never taken an acting class before, my first exposure to training was in the Meisner Technique through Sanford Meisner’s student June Whitaker-an Alumni of The Neighbourhood Playhouse since 1968. In keeping with the tradition of passing Sanford Meisner’s legacy on to others; Ms. Whitaker taught with Meisner’s blessing, which was evident from their many correspondences. Where the letters pertained to the craft, June shared some excerpts with our class. Through listening to his words, I vividly remember feeling Mr. Meisner’s devotion to the Craft and his profound dedication to his students- an experience that was both humbling and richly inspiring. My Mentor’s deep love and admiration for her Teacher was nothing less than profound. It is with that same dedication, devotion and humility that Ms. Whitaker taught her students The Meisner Technique.
To this day I consider myself blessed to have studied under June. Indeed, I was one among a small group of students in the very first class Ms. Whitaker taught and I remember it well; June talked about ‘The Magical As If’ as she described in vivid detail, the gorgeous rainbow that was outside the window, even though that first class commenced on a dark and rainy winter night. Being the geeky, awkward, self conscious kid that I was, in that moment I felt something new; I had come home.
For the 10 years that followed, I was to study primarily under June until the birth of my daughter in 1991. Within that decade Ms. Whitaker had built a prolific following, not only having trained some of the most respected actors Vancouver has known to date but more importantly instilling within us a work ethic and reverence for what the Craft actually means. Many of her students applied the skills, Ms. Whitaker imparted to their professional careers (which they still enjoy today) and it has served them well; Martin Cummins, Nick Lea, Bernie Coulson and Jason Priestly to name a very few.
It was under the auspices of June’s studio, that I, from time to time, first cut my teaching teeth, filling in for my Mentor in the event that she was ill or otherwise delayed. A great teacher not only inspires her students but truly wants the best for them. She patiently demands, class after class, year after year that the student(s) rise to their potential. As inspiring as June’s teachings were, equally so was her call to my personal actualization. I am deeply indebted to my Mentor and Sanford Meisner for imparting to me not only the tools which advanced my career, chronicled by the celluloid it’s printed upon, but more sweetly- a way of life that has shaped the very foundation of what I cherish most: Telling the truth, living imaginatively, trusting my inner life, trusting my instincts and above all Doing the Work simply for the Joy of Doing the Work.” – Christiane Hirt (Co-founder & Studio Director, Company of Rogues Actors’ Studio & Rogues West)