Breaking Character: Ex-Acting Students Speak Up (Part 1)

Breaking Character: Ex-Acting Students Speak Up (Part 1)

Today’s episode is sponsored by BetterHelp. 

Alberta Mayne Bligh, Brooke Henderson, and Erin Boyes are among the 26 ex-students who recently spoke up about their experience under the acting tutelage of Michèle Lonsdale-Smith in a revelatory story published in The Cut. Lonsdale Smith is, by many accounts, a dogmatic leader who claims her techniques help actors tell the truth about their unresolved human motivations and make the world a better place. But what happens when details of your personal life are put on stage? What if your teacher fat shames you? Makes personal accusations, belittles, and berates you? You know, for the sake of deepening your craft or – culty red flag – self-improvement? 

Our three guests today are ex-students of culty acting classes, each with their own thriving careers in film, theater, television, directing, development and even art therapy. In the first of this two-part series, we dive into what attracted these acting students to Lonsdale Smith and what happened – the good, the bad, and the messy.

Please note, this series includes details of sexual abuse. Listener discretion is strongly advised. If you, or someone who know, is a survivor of sexual assault, abuse, grooming, child abuse, or human trafficking, RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline offers support at 800.656.HOPE (4673).



May 16, 2023 article published by The Cut about Michèle Lonsdale Smith.

Alberta Mayne Bligh can be reached on Instagram and Facebook.

Erin Boyes produced Three Days with her producing and writing partner, Dani Barker. It touches on the culty side of acting classes. Here’s Erin’s website:

Brooke Henderson is known for filmwork but she’s pivoted from acting and is now doing post-grad work in art therapy in Toronto. You can find her on Instagram.



Let it be known far and wide, loud and clear that…

The views and opinions expressed on A Little Bit Culty do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the podcast. Any content provided by our guests, bloggers, sponsors or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, group, club, organization, business individual, anyone or anything. Nobody’s mad at you, just don’t be a culty fuckwad.


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Executive Producers: Sarah Edmondson & Anthony Ames

Production Partner: Citizens of Sound

Producer: Will Retherford

Senior Producer: Jess Tardy

Writer: Holly Zadra

Theme Song: “Cultivated” by Jon Bryant co-written with Nygel Asselin