5 Top Acting Schools in Houston

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Before trapping hearts in “The Parent Trap” and “Dragonheart,” Dennis Quaid attended the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance—and he’s just one of many who found their start in Houston’s performing arts educational community. The region is more than just its iconic Space Center and sports teams; as the fourth-largest city in the U.S. (behind New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago), it has a wealth of acting programs to match its rich theater and arts culture. For actors looking to break onto the scene in the Lone Star State, these five schools will fit the role.

Next Level Acting Studios

Next Level Acting StudiosBreakdown: All levels are accepted, from beginners to advanced. Classes include aspiring professionals and those looking to step out of their comfort zone. Adult, teen, and youth classes are available in Houston and the Woodlands, a township just north of the city. 

With more than 40 years of work experience in Hollywood, Next Level Acting Studios founder Deke Anderson knows a thing or two about shining onscreen. Anderson has worked in front of and behind the camera, with credits ranging from “Cheers” to “Friday Night Lights.” Student success stories highlight how effective Next Level Acting Studios is across all ages. 

The curriculum specializes in onscreen acting, and the formats vary each week, helping to build an actor’s confidence, professionalism, and ability to adapt in the moment—all while having fun. Intensive camera study is part of a methodology that covers all facets of auditioning (including pre-reads and callbacks) and filmmaking terminology like close-ups, tracking, and hitting marks.

Submission Policy: Email or call for further class information and applications.

Film Acting Academy

Film Acting AcademyBreakdown: Classes are available for newcomers and professionals in film, TV, and commercial work; you can also opt for in-person and Zoom private coaching sessions.

Located in the heart of Houston, the Film Acting Academy has a talented faculty with decades of industry experience. Founder and instructor Lee Stringer has more than 40 film and TV credits, including “Friday Night Lights,” “The Leftovers,” and “Fear the Walking Dead.” The academy offers a range of on-site and virtual classes in group and private coaching settings.

Film Acting Academy covers the specifics of the business and strives to give tools to help with script analysis, acting for the camera, improv acting, and audition techniques that will help shape your voice. If you need an audition tape, the academy also specializes in helping actors work on and tape audition scenes. Mastering confidence, communication skills, teamwork, and improved memorization are some areas these classes work to shape and build. 

Submission Policy: Contact the school via its online form. For all available classes, consult the forthcoming calendar.

University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance

University of Houston School of Theatre & DanceBreakdown: The school’s MFA in acting is an immersive three-year program, and its BFA entails a four-year acting progression. 

The University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance offers BFA and MFA programs that give students an in-depth performing background; alumni of the bachelor’s program include four-time Emmy Award–winning actor Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”). The BFA program guides 16 undergraduates through a creative curriculum that covers stage and screen combat, play analysis, intimacy training, movement, and accents. Hands-on acting experience and opportunities to work with the Houston Shakespeare Festival (UH’s professional theater company) ensure students have a wide range of skills upon completing the four-year BFA

The three-year MFA program also develops professional connections via the faculty, alumni, guest actors, and visiting directors. Auditions with the Shakespeare festival and regional theater are intrinsic to the program. The third and final year of study is housed within the prestigious Alley Theatre (the third oldest resident theater in the U.S.), and students work alongside the Resident Acting Company. A mix of intensive studio training, professional networking, and diverse production experiences makes graduates of the program well prepared to enter a competitive industry.

Submission Policy: Details of how to apply for the University of Houston’s MFA program and BFA program can be found online.

Next Actor Studio

Next Actor StudioBreakdown: A SAG-AFTRA signatory company located in West University, Next Actor offers beginner, intermediate, nonbeginner, and intense classes in person and virtually. 

Established in 2003, Next Actor Studio specializes in training on-camera acting to students of all ages and experience levels. It teaches the Stanislavsky method to students ranging from teens to adults. Acting classes are typically Method-based workshops using emotional and sense memory that stress the importance of intellect, aesthetics, and ethics in acting. All acting and voice classes are recorded for students’ benefit, and feedback is offered in class. Underage students can sit in adult classes and are welcome to bring their parents. 

The studio also launched the Next International Film Festival of Houston (NIFF Houston) in 2015 and has its own production company, Lake Camp Productions, making two to three features per year. Students can sign up for behind-the-scenes classes that provide opportunities for crew work and internships on in-house productions. They can also get hands-on training in contemporary and older techniques like Stanislavsky's method to aid their own auditions.

Submission Policy: Register for classes online here. Call or email if you aren’t sure what class level you should apply for.

Page Parkes Center of Modeling and Acting

Page Parkes Center of Modeling and ActingBreakdown: The Page Parkes Center offers services for clients aged 5 and older (classes are for kids, preteens, teens, and adults). The focus is on acting, modeling, and talent development, with classes covering topics ranging from on-camera commercial acting to TV sitcom and monologue.    

The Page Parkes Center of Modeling and Acting has been in operation for more than four decades and is a prominent Southwest acting and modeling institution. Founder Page Parkes, according to the center's website, has an “uncanny knack for finding talent in the most unlikely places,” and PPCMA has many alumni success stories across its locations, including Woody Harrelson, Channing Tatum, Alexis Bledel, Angelina Jolie, and Hilary Duff. 

Students are encouraged to develop a well-rounded set of skills they can apply practically, such as camera technique, cold reading, auditions, improv, scene study, comedic acting, and monologue skills.  

Submission Policy: Fill out the online application form. Additional contact details are here.

If you’re looking to score a role onstage or onscreen, one of these teaching venues will have a suitable acting class for you. And be sure to keep an eye out for Houston casting calls to put those skills to the test.