Leonard Meenach is an actor, director, writer, teacher, casting associate and producer with nearly 40 years’ experience.
Born in the USA, he graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA and an MFA in Acting and Directing. Upon relocating to California, he trained with acting luminaries including Martin Landau and Lee Marvin. He worked with internationally celebrated directors Jose Quintero, Jerzy Grotowski, Trevor Nunn and Robert Benedetti. Leonard developed his writing skills with the great American playwright Edward Albee. He honed his accent and dialect skills with Jerry Blunt. Always hungry to further his craft, he took classes with Eric Morris, Kristin Linklater and members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He submitted his original play “Chamber of Bells” to the Arizona Commission on the Arts and won the 1987 award for Best New Play. The prize included the mounting of a professional production of the play in Tucson and in Pasadena. The production was met with positive reviews in the LA Times and Variety. During this time, Arthur Lessac took Leonard on as an apprentice and licensed him to teach the Lessac Kinesensic Voice and Body work.
As an actor Leonard values great writing, a commitment to truth, and the need for irreverence. He has performed in the plays of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen, and Sam Shepard. He has also worked in voice-over, TVCs, musical theatre, and dinner theatre. Leonard is a member of America’s Actors Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Film Institute and the American Theatre Association.
Fun fact #1: Leonard had a guest role in the beloved 1970s TV series “Little House on the Prairie”.
Fun fact #2: he appeared in the first ever US slasher movie to be based upon and feature Native American characters.
Leonard believes that teaching is a noble profession. He began his teaching career whilst juggling acting and directing jobs in LA. He coached professional actors from his private studio based in Orange County and he trained undergraduate actors at California State University, Fullerton. In addition to his role in the training of actors, Leonard helped forward the careers of many young playwrights, directors and actors through his work as an adjudicator for the American College Theatre Festival from 1984 to 1995. In 1996 he was headhunted by QUT to transform their community theatre orientated Theatre course into a world class Acting program. During his 18-year tenure at this Australian university, he revolutionised the way in which screen acting could be taught and how showreels could be produced. He won a Distinguished Teaching Award for his innovative contributions to the university. Throughout this time Leonard accepted invitations to be a guest Acting lecturer at the University of Otago, NZ, and at the Singapore campus of QUT. Leonard also accepted the invitation to be an adjudicator for the International Modelling and Talent Association in New York.
AS A TEACHER
Leonard is incredibly proud of his past students and their ongoing work in the national and international industry. While it is impossible to mention all the actors he trained at QUT, a handful include: Ellen Bailey, Eileen Camilleri, Michael Dorman, Gyton Grantley, Emily Gruhl, Josh Helman, Ryan Johnson, Celia Massingham, Anna McGahan, Alison McGirr, Brad McMurray, Zoe Naylor, Matt Okine, Nikki Osborne, Adrienne Pickering, Christopher Sommers, David Soncin, and Brenton Thwaites. Amanda Mitchell, of Mitchell Casting, is also a past student and long-term friend.
AS A CASTING DIRECTOR
As a Casting Associate Leonard has worked for Mali Finn Casting in the US and Australia, running screen acting classes for the agency and assisting in recommending Australian talent for certain James Cameron films. Since Mali’s passing, Leonard has been involved with casting for Brisbane’s own 18 Degrees film and television production company.
In his spare time, Leonard enjoyed producing Josh Helman’s feature film “Kate Can’t Swim” that premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in 2017. Currently, he is enjoying being a script doctor for local film makers.
GET THE BOOK
If you want to know more about Leonard’s approach to acting, you can read about his work in the book “Performer Training: developments across cultures”, edited by Ian Watson and available for download on Kindle.