Stella Adler Scouting International Talent for L.A. and NYC Schools

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Photo Source: Caroline Voagen Nelson

The bicoastal acting school that bears the name of famed performer Stella Adler has launched a worldwide open call.

The Stella Adler Studio of Acting and the Art of Acting Studio are on the hunt for its next crop of stars. The annual audition tour for spots in its conservatory and summer intensive programs starts in February 2015 in Chicago, and will hit other major U.S. cities before venturing overseas to London in March and Sydney in August.

But if you’re imagining an “American Idol”–style cattle call with lines around the block, think again. “Our auditions are very personal,” Ryan Chittaphong, the school’s New York–based marketing and cultural events manager, told Backstage. “We like to spend time with each applicant and really get to know them.”

Actors are required to prepare two monologues—one classical and one contemporary. Both are performed in front of a panel of directors.

“Pick monologues that are legit roles you can play,” advised Chittaphong. “We are not interested in seeing a 19-year-old student play a 50-year-old-lawyer.”

He also suggests choosing monologues from full-length plays. “It gives you more material to explore and interpret for your character’s history, given circumstance, and objectives when relating to the larger story.”

Don’t just isolate one character’s dialogue, because students often get asked about their character’s overall journey.

When it comes to character choices, think clear and specific, not big and bold. “We are most interested in seeing a fully realized human condition in your piece—not necessarily the biggest choices, but the most honest choices,” Chittaphong said.

Actors also need to demonstrate they can take direction. After the performance of both monologues, “the directors will give them a few adjustments and ask to see the two monologues again,” said Chittaphong. “We love to work with actors and see how they take adjustments.”

Actors then proceed to a short interview. “We really want to get to know them as a person—who they are and what their personality is,” he said. That’s because one of the core tenets of the Stella Adler teaching philosophy is that a performer’s growth as an actor is synonymous with his or her growth as an individual. “We are also interested to see [whether] their views match up with the studio’s mission,” said Chittaphong, adding: “Just be yourself.”

Actors who make the cut are offered the choice of studying at either Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City or Art of Acting Studio in L.A. Making the big move to a major city can be quite an adjustment and though the studio doesn’t provide housing, it does offer guidance and aid in finding accommodations in either city. A limited number of partial scholarships are available for the conservatory programs based on financial need, merit, and talent. Returning students can also apply for a limited number of work-study positions that cover partial or full tuition.

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