Six of the Best Acting Schools in NYC

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We know the names of the great New York actors: Brando, Pacino, De Niro. It’s no secret they got many of their chops from studying and living in New York City. With all the resources, connections, and industry professionals residing in Manhattan, it goes without saying that NYC is one of the world’s acting meccas. So if you’re looking to add a bit of New York swagger to your craft, we know some places you might want to investigate; staples of training that can bring you a wealth of knowledge that’s stood the test of decades.

Stella Adler Studio of Acting

When considering an acting school in New York City with a dedication to developing a mind and body connection, check out the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. While the studio doesn’t follow any one method or singular approach, the system provides actors with the tools and discipline to instill a script with their own mission and point of view. Teachers and students alike are passionate about a curriculum that offers a professional acting conservatory, teen and summer programs, and a BFA through NYU.

The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute

The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute is geared toward the serious actor. Teachers have personally studied with Strasberg; classes include voice, dance, speech, mask and gesture, playwriting, directing, film, and stage combat, and incorporate scene study, sense memory, and relaxation. The institute boasts more than 40 years of training actors, and aims to provide students with a “craft that will help them create a reality and respond truthfully in imaginary circumstances, regardless of the style or form of material being used.” Alums include Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin, Christoph Waltz, and Dustin Hoffman.

HB Studio

One of New York’s original acting schools, HB Studio can imbue you with that New York authenticity. What sets this nonprofit organization apart is its atmosphere: HB Studio is not a college or conservatory, but a workplace for the teaching and practice of art. Students are expected to take charge of their own development and come forth with respect for the craft, highlighting areas where some deepening is necessary in their personal practice. HB training has roots in the European classical tradition and focuses on practicality. Stockard Channing, Bette Midler, and Sarah Jessica Parker are among its alumni.

Atlantic Acting School

Founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy and inspired by the Group Theatre, Stanislavsky, and ensemble acting, the Atlantic Acting School works to improve actors’ audition and on-camera techniques, as well as their improv and comedy skills. The school offers a conservatory program, NYU Studio access, and classes for kids and teens; work-study programs and auditing are available. Alumni include Jessica Alba, Felicity Huffman, and Heather Burns.

T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre

T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre (where Edward Norton trained) offers a variety of classes in acting technique, vocal production, acting for the camera, body dynamics, and auditioning. T. Schreiber’s training is a mix of Meisner and Method, with access to a small theater on the premises. The studio offers both a six-week and a one-year conservatory intensive, along with beginning actor intensives. Classes include on-camera acting, body dynamics, dialect class, and vocal production. All levels are permitted and class sizes range from 12–16 students.

The Neighborhood Playhouse

Founded in 1915, the Neighborhood Playhouse presents itself as the “home of the Meisner technique.” This nonprofit actor training school is a full-time conservatory that focuses on technical training in speech, movement, voice, and performance for serious students. The curriculum offers a two-year certificate program in professional acting, as well as a six-week summer intensive. Meisner himself trained the majority of the acting department faculty, and the small class sizes ensure individual attention, with a student-faculty ratio of approximately six to one.

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Briana Rodriguez
Briana is the Editor-in-Chief at Backstage. She oversees editorial operations and covers all things film and television. She's interested in stories about the creative process as experienced by women, people of color, and other marginalized communities. You can find her on Twitter @brirodriguez and on Instagram @thebrianarodriguez
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