New York Acting Schools

Actors Studio Drama School

Of all the acting schools in NYC, this is the only theatre program officially sanctioned by the Actors Studio, whose select membership has won numerous Oscar, Tony and Emmy awards. Co-Presidents Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino supervise this 3-year MFA program through Pace University.

The intensive curriculum at this NY acting school is set around Stanislavski’s “system”. During the first year, students concentrate on freeing their talent through relaxation and concentration exercises. During the second year, the actor concentrates on learning how to build a character with scene work. Students also take theater history classes, movement, dance, speech and voice classes.

Performance opportunities: Students present lab work at the end of each semester. During the 3rd year Repertory Season, acting students work as an ensemble with students from the directing and playwriting program to present a series of professionally produced plays for the general public and theatre professionals.

Career preparation: Acting students benefit from observation privileges at the Actors Studio, as well as seminars and workshops where they can learn directly from Actors Studio members. Students in the program participate in a 4-hour intensive master class taught by a distinguished guest of the profession (the interview part of this class can be seen in the TV show Inside the Actor’s Studio). Students can continue to attend Actors Studio sessions for one year after graduation and can take the final audition toward membership, bypassing preliminary auditions.

Degree: MFA in Acting

Financial Aid: University-sponsored scholarships are available (75% of entering freshmen get scholarships from Pace), as well as federal and state financial aid, on-campus employment and loans.

What you’ll need to apply: Transcripts, personal statement, headshot and resume, 2 letters of recommendation (one academic, one personal), interview and audition (if selected to audition, auditions are held at the acting school in New York City and in one city in Europe. Taped auditions are accepted.) International students whose first language is not English must submit satisfactory TOEFL scores.


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