Lenard Petit

Obituary of Lenard Petit

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Lenard Petit, internationally known acting teacher, founder of the Michael Chekhov Acting Studio in NYC, and author of The Michael Chekhov Handbook for The Actor, died at the age of 71, on July 2nd, at his home on Lake Erie, surrounded by family. For the last forty years Lenard devoted himself to a life in the theater, as a creator, performer and director. He performed in works by Julie Taymor, Meredith Monk, Richard Foreman, Ping Chong, and many others. He directed plays and performance pieces internationally, on and off Broadway, as well as regionally throughout the US. Lenard was a gifted artist. However his greatest contributions in the field came as a teacher, which is a role he embodied in every part of his life. He was a dedicated student of Michael Chekhov and is considered to be one of the greatest contributing teachers to Michael Chekhov Acting Technique today. Over the years teaching at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Chekhov organizations and theater schools throughout the world, Lenard brought his boundless creative energy and artistry to his teachings and can be credited greatly with expanding on Chekhov’s philosophies and pedagogies. He can also be credited for spreading Chekhov technique to theater schools throughout the country, and around the world. It would be impossible to count all the students Lenard has touched with his life’s work. His teachings and Handbook are invaluable in illuminating his practice and articulating his inspirational approach toward acting, and the making theater. In addition to his work on teaching acting technique, he also developed, and became well known for his approach to clown work using Chekhov practice. He taught master classes at the likes of The International School for Film and Television in Munich, Helsinki University, and numerous invitations to Denmark, Amsterdam, Madrid, Berlin, Zurich, London, Riga, and Irkutsk, Siberia, Rome, Rimini, Brussels. In addition, Lenard was honored by the Shanghai Theater Academy to travel to Shanghai, China to lead a month- long Michael Chekhov Workshop and Festival in 2016. Lenard was a founding member of the Michael Chekhov Association, (MICHA) and a faculty member since its inception. His legacy is now a gift to all interested in a creative approach for actors and all in the field of theatre and beyond. When asked about his ambitions Lenard would always say “all he ever wanted to do was to live a creative life”. He carried this out in every aspect of his life. Lenard is survived by his beloved wife of 31 years Meg Pantera and their son Luke. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2022 and lived his creative life to the very end.
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Lenard Petit

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Lenard Petit

1953 - 2024

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