What To Look For In Acting Classes Near Me in NYC + 10 Acting Programs to Consider
Are you considering taking acting classes in New York City? If so, you are in the right place! NYC has a multitude of workshops, conservatories, and programs for you to choose from. Some of the best acting classes exist in New York and will greatly benefit your acting career.
Studying in New York City offers versatile film, acting, and drama programs, as well as some world-famous theatre venues.
These programs vary in commitment, ranging from part-time to full-time classes with differing price points and flexibility. There are even various classes that don't require auditions where new actors will be able to hone their burgeoning skills.
For the truly dedicated, a four-year accredited program may be more your speed. Luckily, New York boasts some of the most acclaimed acting programs, with Bachelor's and Master of Fine Arts curriculums that adhere to your level of experience. Offering programs guided by popular philosophies and opportunities to engage with accomplished industry professionals these degrees will make you feel like the world is your stage!
If you're in the performing arts, acting classes are a great way to practice. Whether you are an amateur or are more established, the right classes will help you develop your craft. So it's important to ask yourself, "What do I want out of my acting classes?"
How Will Acting Classes Help Me?
If you are an actor looking to study the dramatic arts, the first important thing to consider is whether acting classes are right for you. Varying in length and style, your classes could take on several forms. Thorough research will help you determine what to expect from prospective programs.
While specific lengths may vary, you can predict some level of time commitment to your programs. Whether part-time or full-time, a consistent learning effort is sure to increase your performance quality. The time you spend in your acting class doing a scene study or a sense memory exercise is a reliable time for your acting training.
Classes not only provide dedicated time to study but also time to bond as well. Your courses allow the chance to network with fellow aspiring actors. These students could become lifelong friends or even co-workers in the industry one day. Each peer has the potential to be a future scene partner...and a future star, so treat them well!
Whether you desire a full course load or prefer one-day workshops, enrolling in these classes is an invaluable investment in your acting career. Making the decision to commit to them can help you build your skillset and your network of fellow thespians.
What To Look For In Acting Lessons
A good acting class teaches more than just the fundamentals of acting. A professional acting coach should strive to instill confidence in their students. Private coaching in New York is often taught by current or former actors, so you know your acting class will come from experience.
Having instructors around to guide your acting lessons will help you reach success. It also helps to practice with your fellow peers within your program.
Acting class syllabi vary depending on your discipline, so it's critical to find teachers with experience in each specific craft. As for specific acting lessons, foundational courses are always a good place to start.
Script readings and acting sessions are common foundational practices. They may involve vocal exercises, involving stretching, and breathing exercises. These practices help to prepare the body for the sometimes rigorous demands of performing and keep your movements fluid.
Many teachers also encourage pupils to people-watch and contemplate their specific character. This keen observation can help lend authenticity to a later performance. Close observation can help to build an empathetic, relatable quality to your performance delivery.
Find some acting classes that involve some of these foundational practices. They will offer optimal space for you to nurture your skills and, with any luck, acting teachers that provide a nurturing environment.
Things to Keep in Mind For Acting School
There are a few key components to pay attention to when selecting acting schools near you.
One of the most important ones is the reputation of the school and/or professors. Are they notable schools in the industry that could make a difference on your resume? Are they well-known as some of the best acting classes in NYC?
If so, they will probably require a more rigorous audition process. Look through their alumni and see where they are now. Have they taught actors that have since become successful? Successful studio alumni are a good indicator of successful acting classes.
Although this practice does not have to determine your career path, it may provide helpful insight to inform your first steps. A good reputation will likely make attending acting school a better experience.
The second aspect to consider is specific methods of teaching. Is there a specific acting method you wish to learn? Do you want to study scene work or voice over? The type of performing arts you wish to specialize in will affect your choice of the best acting classes.
For example, if you are looking to learn the Meisner Technique, search for classes that list the technique in their curriculum schedule. Or are you more interested in comedy acting and commercial work auditioning? Then you would look for courses that involve humor and self-promotion.
In some cases, your program teacher will be a working, professional actor as well. These modern actors often have current knowledge that can help enhance their teaching and craft. Receiving private coaching from a professional actor in New York is hard to beat, and may become the best acting classes you could take. They can be valuable guides, and you should take advantage of their expertise whenever possible!
The next important criterion to consider is class size, as this can alter the nature of your learning experience.
If you learn best with close, concentrated attention, one-on-one training could be beneficial. Alternatively, group courses tend to be more financially accessible, with an added opportunity to network. Consider which format lends itself best to your practice.
It might be helpful to list out what it is exactly you are seeking from acting schools. Try your best to be as specific as possible, and be realistic about your commitments and the time you can give to your courses. This helps to ensure your acting classes will work for you, instead of the other way around.
This includes researching if the class includes work to be done outside the lesson. Finding alumni and asking about their experience might help you better gauge this time commitment accurately. Being clear about your priorities will make it easier to narrow down the right classes for you.
Another key factor is to assess your skill level. Making sure you are in the right courses based on the skill level you correspond to is essential. In New York, young talent tends to gather frequently, so the best acting classes for you may be at a similar skill level. However, this may not always be the case.
If you are advanced you would be unfulfilled in beginner's lessons, and conversely, if you were a beginner, taking advanced lessons wouldn't be helpful.
Though reaching for the stars might seem tempting during class selection, newer actors would potentially find a foundational course more enriching and rewarding.
How Much do Acting Courses Cost?
When you decide which programs sound like the best fit, you have to ask yourself, "What prices can I expect from acting classes near me?"
Depending on the reputation of your acting mentors, prices in New York City can vary between $50 and $300 an hour for private lessons. And there is a wide range of prices for the different courses and programs available. While paying for private coaching in New York sounds expensive, it can be worth the investment to attend the best acting classes available.
Introducing You to Your Classes and Programs
So you've done your research and decided on your optimal budget. You have an idea of your skill level and available time commitment as well. What else is left? Deciding where to go, of course! There are many classes in NYC to decide between, so where do you start?
Thankfully, this daunting decision can be made easier with the comprehensive list provided here! Below you will find a list of 19 centers, offering courses of various sizes, levels of expertise, prestige, prices and flexibilities. Whether you are looking to commit to an entire semester, or dip your toe into acting, a plethora of places are available to you.
Beginners are advised to look through the list of Acting Classes in the New York Metro Area. Workshops and classes are priced in the hundreds and range from a period of a few weeks, up to 6-months. Some classes even offer a course audit for as little as $20 or for free! With foundational, speech, and even Social Media content acting available, the possibilities for your next class are endless!
More advanced pupils might find the best fit at a traditional, accredited college program. A multi-year degree can broaden your industry knowledge, acting network work opportunities and personal growth! Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in learning, find your tribe of actors, discover work or all of the above, here are several programs to consider. Offering bachelor's and master's degrees, these schools house talented professors, foundational and niche fields of study, and chances to present your talents in casual or showcase productions.
With bustling communities, vibrant acting workshops, and some illustrious titles (and alumni!) you are sure to find the perfect fit. For those who live out of the city, but still wish to benefit from it's rich d culture, do not fear! Remote learning classes are available as well. Several programs offer blended or remote learning models, so you can take your classes wherever your inspiration guides you.
With all that said, here are the 19 studios that have the best acting classes in NYC.
Acting Classes in The New York City Metro Area:
Amateurs and experienced folks can both benefit from advancing their studies. No matter where, from Wall Street to Midtown, you'll have programs open to you! Courses vary in topic, from breathing, to improvisation, to mindfulness and method acting. Sessions range from several weeks, to several months, seamlessly blending with any schedule. This variety is sure to enhance the performances of masters and an eager students alike. Below is a list of programs for you to consider for classes in New York City:
This studio was opened by Herbert Berghof and Uta Hagen in 1945.
Located in Greenwich Village they offer advanced classes with teachers such as Oscar-winner Mercedes Ruehl and Tony nominee Jessica Hecht.
They offer classes to beginners at Level 1 offerings. Trimesters range from $445-645 but to try it out you are able to audit a course for $20.
This studio was opened by acting teacher/TV writer-producer Kelly Kimball and specializes in on-camera acting coaching.
Located in Union Square, they offer a 12-week semester for $980.
There is also a Sunday Crash-Course Pass for $350. If you are a total beginner, you can audit a course for free followed by a one-on-one conversation with staff.
Michael Howard Studios
This studio was opened by performer and director Michael Howard. Alumni of this school include Kerry Washington.
Located in Chelsea, they host specialized workshops in the arts ranging from acting for TV to Shakespeare led by working actors and casting directors.
For most programs, an interview and audition are required. The studio offers weekly scene study classes ranging from $265-$345 per month.
The Barrow Group
The Barrow Group was founded in 1986 and is both a theater company and an acting school.
Located in midtown, they offer a beginners class for $495.
Alumni of this school include Anne Hathaway, who credits her acting to them. The group also produces two shows per season in addition to acting classes.
New York Performing Arts Academy
This academy is one of the more prestigious and reputable schools.
Located in Midtown, they offer a four-week foundation course for $200.
Their alumni include actors who are now in shows such as Orange Is the New Black and Fresh Off the Boat.
Ted Bardy Studio
This acting studio is located near Columbus Circle. It is primarily focused on the Meisner technique. They offer intense monthly classes ranging from $340 per month for six months.
Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts
This is an Off-Broadway, nonprofit theatre company known for producing the work of emerging playwrights, and their own musical theatre productions.
Located in Hell’s Kitchen, they offer not only acting but also writing and directing courses. This acting studio offers the best acting classes if you're looking for variety.
A notable introductory course is the Alexander Technique for Auditions. It costs $320 for six sessions.
The Alexander Technique includes breathing, mindfulness, and movement routines that help newcomers bring an air of confidence to their audition.
Actors Connection New York
This studio offers a range of classes that cater to specific acting capabilities, with an emphasis on building networking skills.
Located in Hell’s Kitchen, workshops are taught by professionals of specific practices, such as voice-over.
The six-session Acting 101 course, offered at $329, is one helpful foundational course for new actors.
T. Schreiber Studio
The Schreiber studio was established in 1969 by Terry Schreiber. One notable alum is Edward Norton.
Located in Chelsea, the theatre studio includes classes such as Beginning Technique at $550 for eight sessions, and On-Camera I at $425 for six sessions. The Schreiber studio aims to offer new ways to approach acting classes.
Terry Knickerbocker Studio
Looking for an alternative to a masters degree? Terry Knickerbocker Studio has you covered.
The Conservatory Essentials for comprehensive actor training is the studio's flagship program. This two year course takes a conservatory approach to actor education.
Students will take a holistic learning approach, training their mind, body, voice and instrument as a whole. Acting as supplement to other classes, the Essentials program mimics the teaching styles of larger institutions in a more flexible package.
Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop
With a variety of in-person and online courses, Anthony Meindl's Actors workshop is ideal for personal enrichment.
With foundational lessons, as well as workshops and youth classes, the Workshop houses remote opportunities for learning on a global scale.
A notable professor at the Workshop is Jason Buyer. Buyer is an industry professional that has worked in films and television for 2 decades. As the former casting coordinator of Warner Bros. Television, he is fluent in the audition process. He is especially known for his book the Audition Room, which focuses on his technique to conduct the perfect interview. His courses are sure to help you nail that next audition!
New York Film Academy
Named as a Top Film School by Variety for 5 years, the New York Film Academy has abundant, short-term opportunities to back it up. Classes in acting and film are available, both in-person and online.
A few options to consider include "1-Semester Acting for Film", "15-Week Online Business of Acting" and "Online Acting" available for 1,2,4,8, or 15 week lengths.
As an added bonus, once a short-term course is completed and you next choose a degree or non-degree program of the same area of study, your tuition may then be applied to this next program.
New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts
A range of topics with contemporary methods define the programs as the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.
With Associate degrees available in Film and Television Performance, New Media for Actors and Musical Theatre Performance, they cater to specific interests.
These programs aim to provide solid foundations in acting, movement, and vocals that will help students excel in their given field. Notably, the New Media track also brings a new element of agency to the conversation.
It is designed to help actors produce their own stories and content. Courses include Camera Performance, Content Creation and Social Media. With emphasis on editing and promotion, these classes help students become the actors, directors, and producers of their own narratives.
Traditional Acting Programs In The New York City Metro Area:
If you find yourself desiring the most thorough acting education possible, pursuing a full-time college degree could be the ideal choice. Thankfully, New York is home to some of the most respected acting degrees in the world. These universities offer comprehensive acting training and are some of the best acting classes around for pursuing a performing arts degree.
Juilliard is a private conservatory that is widely regarded as one of the best schools to practice drama, dance, music and other performance arts. Established in 1905, the campus is located steps away from the Lincoln Center and Central Park.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama is a four-year program offering a rigorous education in movement, voice manipulation, the Alexander Technique, and more foundational studies. With classes ranging from Physical Acting to Mask and Singing in Motion, there are many opportunities to explore new facets of dramatic performance.
For the more advanced thespian, the Master of Fine Arts in Drama is also available, with a similarly wide-reaching array of course options. For the nine-month school year the estimated cost of Juilliard tuition is around $52,250.
Notable alumni include Viola Davis, Lee Pace and Sara Ramirez.
Tisch at New York University
With impressive alumni, in a central part of the city, the Tisch Arts school at New York University also offers several programs to improve your performing prowess.
Founded on August 17, 1965, the Tisch campus is located in East Village next to the bustling Washington Square Park.
The conservatory-oriented education mixed with rigorous academic curriculum make for a versatile degree that can apply to many fields. With both Bachelors and Masters programs, there are different options for various skill levels.
Emphasis in music theater, production and theatrical management in addition to acting studies prepares learners for each facet of the industry. Classes include Intro to Theatre Studies, Theatre Production and "Topics" courses.
Topics courses examine theories and cultural moments that become theatre-makers. For example, you might examine how the cultural moment of the 1940’s influenced the Lee Strausberg and Stella Adler methods. These courses explain not only how, but why an actor might take on specific philosophies.
Annual tuition at Tisch comes out to $68,024.
Notable alumni include Spike Lee, Lady Gaga and Adam Sandler.
Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University
The Master of Fine Arts program at Pace could be the ideal program for those with some work under their belts already.
Located in East Village, this program is notably the only MFA program affiliated with the famous Actors Studio organization.
The Actors Studio is an organization for professional actors, theatre directors and playwrights in Hell's Kitchen. Notable members include Steve McQueen and Marilyn Monoe.
Current ASDS Presidents, including Alec Baldwin and Al Pacino, structure the program around the teachings of Constantin Stanislavski's “system” practices. MFA actors train alongside MFA directing and playwriting candidates, creating a symbiotic environment of shared skills and language.
Uniquely, students also have the opportunity to attend sessions of the Actor’s Studio that are closed to the public. The curriculum includes studio seminars called Inside the Actors Studio in which members of the Studio share professional knowledge with students.
Pace tuition comes in at $46,555 per year.
Notable alumni of Pace include Bradley Cooper and Poorna Jagannathan.
Collaboration and detailed exploration define the 3-year Master of Fine Art Theatre program at Columbia School of the Arts.
This rigorous, Morningside Park-based program involves exploration of different methods, including classic and modern styles of theatre. It encourages experimentation with different action styles, using one’s body as an instrument, and vocal exercise.
Each year has a different guiding focus. The first year focus is on foundational studies, enhancing performance through the “movement” curriculum. The goal is to improve an actor's instincts, using rehearsal as a way to introspect while also discovering the character they play.
The second year encourages the actors to view themselves as an instrument in an orchestra, as peer collaboration increases and workshop productions are introduced. The third year sees the fruits of these efforts, culminating in several showcase productions.
This degree program costs $34,576 per year.
Notable alumni include Rebecca Henderson and David Wilson.
The New School
For the interdisciplinary actor who’s interests can’t be defined by a single field of study, the Bachelor of Fine Art program in Dramatic Arts at the School of Drama would be perfect for you.
The program fits to train students pursuing a single discipline or for those studying multiple. Have you wanted to become an actor and writer? Or an actor and director? This program will teach you how.
With a wide-reaching curriculum, the School of Drama at the New School embraces a multidisciplinary culture. Credits on vocal, movement, and dance-based performance are offered.
Directing units encourages students to realize their visions by learning to stage classical, contemporary, and innovative theatre productions.
Playwriting units help writers develop evocative and intelligent scripts. By creating and staging performances of the scripts, new playwrights learn how to see a project through from conception to fruition.
The yearly tuition cost at the New School is $25,950.
Notable alumni of the New School are Bea Aurthur and Tom Ford.
Have you wanted to take your studies bicoastal? The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (or AMDA) is a private conservatory with branches in New York City and Los Angeles.
Characterized by flexible degrees and certificates, AMDA fits the student’s schedule. AMDA students are offered a unique level of flexibility, as Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts and online certificates are all available.
Offering a well-rounded experience, the BFA track has conservatory-level training while allowing the pupil freedom and flexibility. Degrees can be taken at a typical pace, 8 semesters completed over 4 years, or as soon as in 2 years and 9 months with the accelerated programs.
Aside from improving performance skills, the BFA track emphasizes career preparation, networking, auditioning strategies and other practical skills, so that your scene is the only thing you have to memorize.
Tuition price ranges from $45,560-$56,760 depending on whether you are an on-campus or off-campus student.
Acting classes are a sound investment at any point in an actor's career. When you receive coaching from professional actors, you gain new insight into the secrets of the entertainment world. Degree programs deliver an in-depth study of your craft, while allowing creative exploration. Conversely, individual classes are great options to make learning the fundamentals
easy, fun, and flexible.
Everywhere you look in New York, there's likely a quality acting class nearby. All you need to do is narrow down what the best acting classes for you might look like. With luck, the right class or college will imbue you with the skills needed to reach Hollywood in no time!