Robert Epstein started his acting career in grade school in the boroughs of New York, taking on a number of roles, and he continued to perform in High School and College. Throughout his life, he explored various creative disciplines, writing over 2,000 published and unpublished poems, and exploring jazz saxophone and other musical forms and instruments both in and out of bands. His involvement with jazz gave him a profound interest in improvisation, which he also applied to poetry and drama. He also developed a profound interest in Eastern philosophy, particularly Zen, and studied T'ai Chi Ch'uan, yoga and other Asian disciplines.
After graduating from college with a degree in philosophy, Robert made his way back to New York, and focused on his interest in performance. He studied Mime with Paul Curtis at the American Mime Theatre for two years, and then began pursuing his interest in Meisner Technique to gain a more complete grasp of acting. During this period Robert also studied classical singing with a special focus on German Lieder. Robert studied various aspects of Meisner with a total of four teachers over a period of eight years, including Martha Jacobs, Rick Wessler and Tim Phillips. Tim Phillips's professional class went beyond basic technical training and focused on the development of monologues, cold reading technique, and prepared scenes.
During this period Robert developed two wings of his own work, teaching basic acting classes and also working with clients and groups using techniques of Iyengar style yoga and therapeutic massage. Robert was offered a job teaching an introductory program for the Discovery Center in New York. It was taught in a bare office space in midtown Manhattan. Students who graduated this two-weekend program requested further lessons and the Robert Epstein Acting Studio was born. Robert rented various spaces in New York as his student body grew and demanded more lessons, and eventually, in New York fashion, he created a permanent studio in a large Manhattan apartment with a view of the sunset over the Hudson.
After a number of years, during which he married, Robert relocated to to Washington, D.C. several months before his child was born. Here, he made the actor's training his sole professional focus, as he was devoting many hours each day to the care and feeding of his daughter.
Today, Robert teaches his long-term training program, The Complete Meisner-Based Actor's Training for Stage, Film and TV, to four or five groups a week, teaches private lessons to such diverse students as actors, voice-over artists, stand-up comedians, and business professionals, and produces one-day workshops in various acting themes for both the SAG/AFTRA Conservatory in D.C., and The Actor's Center in Northern Virginia. Over the course of its 20-year evolution, Robert has molded his Meisner-based program into a greatly expanded and detailed version of the original technique. He has developed detailed units of his own, including an expanded Character Course, a highly detailed Classical Technique program, advanced courses in Film and Television Acting and series in Monologue Development and Cold Reading Technique.
The final program in his advanced course, Acting and Spiritual Development, introduces a method by which actors use meditative techniques to investigate the source of their creative impulses within, and apply this specific knowledge to selecting and developing materials that they are most suited to work on at the present time. The course also uses this information to provide an outline of a customized career path for each actor, and a model for creating their own one-person shows.