Updated: Sep 28
Searching for the best acting schools in New York will provide anyone with a plethora of choices. It is the home of Broadway and has been the heart of acting in America for generations. The acting schools of NYC have produced some of the biggest names in the industry, which makes finding one that stands out from the rest a challenge.
The following New York acting schools are the ones with the most notable alumni as well as the most celebrated programs, and it is difficult to say which one is the best. Some are more renowned, and some have seen more students reach higher tiers of success. Our list of Acting Studios in NY is in no particular order.
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Opening its doors in 1884, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts boasts one of the richest histories in the American acting world. One of the first acting schools in New York and America in general, it has raised the likes of Jessica Chastain, Paul Rudd, Adrien Brody, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Eric Roberts. Offering both full-time and part-time courses along with youth programs and career development assistance, the AADA supports students throughout their careers.
The Juilliard School
No list of the best acting schools in NY would be complete without mentioning The Juilliard School. It is one of the most prolific music, dance and acting schools devoted to producing performers who excel at their craft. Julliard has successfully integrated a number of performance opportunities for their students, directed by top faculty and guest members to give students a seamless transition into working life. Alumni from this school include Kevin Spacey, Robin Williams, Adam Driver, and Laura Linney.
Atlantic Acting School
Another New York acting school offering courses to all ages (even to children), the Atlantic Acting School is proud of its highly immersive, practical approach to learning. This school also works in partnership with the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, giving students access to multiple stages for performances and a wide network to grow their professional contact list, as well as recruitment opportunities for the many alumni-formed companies. Notable alumni include Clark Gregg, Jessica Alba, Felicity Huffman, and Kristen Johnston.
Circle in the Square Theatre School
This is where Lady Gaga, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Kevin Bacon graduated from. While training actors for film, television, and theatre, Circle in the Square Theatre School focuses on producing excellent actors for the theatre stage. The teaching style at this school is a combination of traditional and experimental techniques, combining carefully selected students with a wide variety of roles, techniques, and experiences.
Tisch School of the Arts
As mentioned, the Tisch School of Arts does have a working relationship with the Atlantic Acting School, however it is set apart by its rigorous conservatory training in theatre and film while doubling as an effective research university. This means that the most effective acting and teaching methods are paired with the most innovative. Notable alumni include Alec Baldwin, De’adre Aziza, Kristen Bell, and Clark Gregg.
Another of the New York acting schools focused on theatre performances, HB Studio draws its approach from traditional European techniques of theatre, with courses run by practicing theatre artists. Working in partnership with the HB Playwrights Foundation and Theatre, HB Studio draws in many working professionals, giving students an opportunity to learn from the best role models. Alumni from the studio include Christopher Abbott, Al Pacino, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Matthew Broderick.
Hofstra University has its own acting school, and even though the entire institution is not solely devoted to theatre and acting, its department of drama and dance still generates some of the best results out of all of the New York acting schools. Receiving high ratings from Acting in London, Backstage Magazine and more, Hofstra’s long-standing Shakespeare festival is highly respected, providing young students an excellent training ground to build themselves up professionally. Well known alumni from Hofstra University are Christopher Walken, James Caan, and Monica Horan.