If you are reading this article, chances are you are an aspiring actor looking to engage with other emerging artists and make your mark in the arts atmosphere.
Attending acting classes is one of the best ways to make connections and grow in the artistic realm.
However, New York is filled with various courses, and searching for the most helpful learning experience is overwhelming.
Tip: If you can’t take classes in person, you should know that many of these schools also offer online acting classes.
So, let’s look at some of the best acting classes in NYC. The list is not ranked in any way- it is primarily to help match you with the right acting school for you and your personal preferences. Take a look!
This list is curated to inform you of some of the best acting courses that New York City has to offer, making your search shorter and your eventual success that much closer.
Each school on this list focuses on various needs and specific intentions for you to perfect for your success as a performer.
Table of Contents
The Barrow Group
Founded in 1986 by a team of passionate creatives, The Barrow Group is a non-profit institution full of notable alumni such as Anne Hathaway (Interstellar) and Tony Hale (Arrested Development).
This impressive organization uses instinct and realism as its core focus. It encourages actors to do what feels natural over what is mechanically rehearsed, supports spur-of-the-moment choices, and pushes you to become self-confident in your performance abilities.
This helps with your reactions and your character development as an actor.
Additionally, TBG works to bring real-world controversies to light in their performances; they wish for their productions to be memorable and eye-opening, enhancing your experience and the audiences’, with a storyline relevant to everyone in the room.
Many of the tools used by The Barrow Group for the creative process in day-to-day lessons are taken from co-founder Seth Barrish’s work An Actor’s Companion- Tools for the Working Actor.
The Barrow Group has earned numerous awards, including the Lucille Lortel Award (2013), the Drama Desk Award (1995), and the OBIE Award (2004), and has put on over 150 productions with their performing arts team since opening.
Acting classes with TBG include beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes for any expertise level to receive an education, and offers both theatre and film courses for you to work on in both performance formats.
Quarter-length classes are the most common among those offered, but if you have limited time, no worries- intensive courses are also available- some as short as two weeks! If you would like to attend a weekend workshop to test the water, that is also an option.
Full-length acting classes range from $425 to $495, while the workshop is $325. TBG works with around 4,000 students annually- a pretty big class with lots of opportunities for you to connect with fellow artistic types.
Stella Adler Studio of Acting
If you want to work on a well-known acting technique as part of your everyday curriculum, this is the school for you.
The not-for-profit organization focuses on the Stanislavski Method for its lessons. It is one of history’s most famous acting approaches and is still widely used today by some of the world’s best actors.
The Stella Adler Studio of Acting was first developed in 1949 by Stella Adler herself (fun fact: Stella Adler is the only American person to have worked with Stanislavski in person!).
Now-famous alumni of Stella Adler are industry professionals Bill Paxton (Titanic) and Salma Hayek (Frida).
Stella Adler’s Studio of Acting emphasizes the desperation performers feel to do just that- perform!
The studio prefers to work on developing growth as a human and an actor at the same time, believing that both are equally necessary for you to achieve success.
This is essential for your scene work at this renowned location.
The institute uses five core elements in every class they teach: creating self-sufficiency, curating the imagination and capabilities, focusing on action, understanding written content, and expanding to become a better actor through material and connection.
The school offers beginner courses to familiarize yourself with the material (for example, Introduction to Shakespeare is excellent if you have not had experience in William Shakespeare’s works).
The studio offers in-person part-time acting workshops (eight weeks), online part-time workshops (four weeks), and in-person summer intensives (five to nine weeks). Singular acting course admission ranges from $350 to $1450.
It is also the first professional training educational program connected to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. It currently has an NYU BFA Program available if you want a four-year degree.
Tom Todoroff Studio
There is a chance that in-person classes are not working for you and your busy schedule, and you may struggle to find an all-virtual, reputable option. If that is the case, look no further than the Tom Todoroff Studio for your learning needs.
This is an online-only workshop started by Tom Todoroff himself, making it one of the best places on this list for you if you prefer remote sessions. He believes that consistently practicing your craft will give you more success in the long run.
He also helps you work on your vulnerable side, channeling it for good performance.
His weekly online classes (you can sign up for Saturday, Monday, or Tuesday morning or evening) work on multiple facets of a fruitful acting career: auditioning for movies and television shows, perfecting monologues, studying scenes, and reading scripts as a cold-read.
He also touches on the professional acting trade with his understanding of the business and teaching others how to navigate it. Todoroff has collaborated with globally famous faces such as Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) and Liam Neeson (Taken).
If you are a person who is worried about missing a class or two, then there is nothing to fear if you are a part of the Tom Todoroff Studio. Monthly Members have access to footage from past courses.
This is especially crucial when you are improving on specific acting methods and require a little extra assistance, allowing you to go back and review lectures, and it ensures that you are at your absolute best when walking into an audition room in front of casting directors.
There is also an online forum full of other members to connect with and share ideas and monthly online conversations with Tom and other group members, helping the actors’ connection to form between you and other students. Tuition for the studio is $17,400 annually.
New York Acting School for Film and Television
This prestigious organization is beneficial if you primarily seek to improve on-camera acting skills. The New York Acting School for Film and Television is directed by Mark Stolzenberg (Bull).
Stolzenberg is also the instructor for a majority of the courses for the classes offered at this location. Each class is on-site in this New York film institute and available online if you cannot physically attend a session.
The acting classes at this school focus on teaching you from any expertise level.
From just starting out to being professionally trained, you can learn how to navigate the real-life experiences of what the entertainment world will be like.
To be successful with this, The New York Acting School for Film and Television works to teach you about every aspect of the acting atmosphere. This includes close-up camera shots, reacting to other performers, monologuing, scene study, and how to audition for roles, to name a few.
Each class is recorded and has instructions from the instructor specifically for you to follow, creating a one-on-one dynamic that you can look back on to work on your specific critiques. This will provide more intensive training for you, advancing your technique.
The New York Acting School for Film and Television offers an On-Camera Technique Class: Essentials Course (ranging in price from $300 to $900) and an Advanced Class (from $350 to $750).
A class called “Star in a Movie” is also an option for you, which is $900 and works with you to be the lead in a short film or movie scene chosen by the director (some of the short films in this course have won awards in film festivals across the United States).
5. HB Studio
If your search is for a historical arts school, look no further. Starting out in 1945, this theatre school is the oldest one on the list.
Herbert Bergdorf, the Austrian artist, escaped from Europe in 1939 and became part of an artistic group full of other immigrants.
Wishing to bring European performance practices to America ultimately brought HB Studio to life. So, if you are looking for an actors studio with a rich history at its heart, this is definitely something to consider.
Bergrdorf’s goal was for performers to have the ability to practice consistently in a constructive space, no matter their expertise or success level.
He believed that every actor should keep improving on their craft. Another focal point of HB Studio is Uta Hagen’s acting method, as described in her novel A Challenge for the Actor. Two famous alumni from HB Studio are Tony Goldwyn (Ghost) and Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost).
There are three categories of acting classes at HB Studio, depending on how much experience you have going into the classes.
Level 1 is for you if you are learning the basics and want a strong foundation. Level 2.
Focuses on analysis and characterization, working with what you learned in Level 1.
Level 3 is more difficult- it gives you methods for acting in more advanced scenes and perfecting your methods as a performer.
Studio Practice is another opportunity for you; if you see yourself as a qualified actor in the trade and would like to perfect things you have learned on stage or screen to develop a successful career, this is the place to do that.
If you are curious about a course offered here but not sure of your commitment to it just yet, HB Studio allows you to join a class as an examiner for $20 per class(this opportunity is for 10-week courses).
There are also online learning and acting workshops (in-person and remote) choices. If you want to focus on Uta Hagen’s technique, there is a six-week intensive summer course and a one-year class.
6. Maggie Flanigan Studio
If your main focus is perfecting the Meisner technique, look no further than the Maggie Flanigan Studio.
Founded by the actual Maggie Flanigan, this location is renowned for using the Meisner Method.
This school is well-known in the New York area with previous students with professional careers, such as Susan Pourfar (In the Heights) and Luke Forbes (Gotham).
Believing in the concept that no achievement comes without challenges to face, you would be in an environment that encourages trying, not succeeding, and trying again until something works monumentally for you.
By doing this, the class prepares you for the real world, filled to the brim with wins, losses, and forks in the road.
If you are hoping for an educational program shorter than a BA, no worries! Maggie Flanigan Studio uses a two-year curriculum to teach most courses and a summer intensive unit (three classes per week for six weeks).
The rigorous conservatory training class setup includes Combat for Stage and Film, Professional Actor Training, and Cold Reading, to name a few.
On-screen training classes are eight weeks in length. When you are enrolled in one of these courses, you will receive material the week before to prepare you for the upcoming week’s lesson.
The first six weeks of eight are intended for developing the perfect craft when it comes to auditioning.
Classes are in person and on W. 25th St. Maggie Flanigan is the artistic director and a master teacher at the Maggie Flanigan Studio.
While there is a monumental array of classes offered in New York City to you, this list is full of beneficial, credentialed companies interested in perfecting your craft.
Even if you are already advanced in your methods, acting classes help sharpen skills and receive fresh ideas.
Through hard work and practical experience, you can achieve your acting goals. Figure out what is best for you and where the best school is, and take the leap!