If you aspire to a career in the performing arts, attending one of the best acting schools in the world can be a pivotal step towards your dreams.
These institutions provide intensive training, guidance, and opportunities for aspiring actors to hone their craft and launch successful careers.
This article will give you an overview of the most renowned acting schools globally, their notable alumni, and what sets them apart in the competitive acting industry.
I’ve linked directly to their acting, drama, and theater departments so you can easily read about their programs.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the best acting schools in the world.
Table of Contents
1. Juilliard School (US)
The Juilliard School, located in New York City, is synonymous with excellence in the performing arts.
Established in 1905, it offers various programs, including acting, dance, and music.
The school’s rigorous curriculum, esteemed faculty, and commitment to nurturing talent have produced many professional actors, such as Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep.
2. Tisch School of the Arts (US)
Tisch School of the Arts, also based in New York City, is part of New York University.
Known for its comprehensive programs in drama, film, and television, Tisch has a strong reputation for producing top actors.
Notable alumni include Alec Baldwin and Angela Bassett.
The school’s location in the heart of the entertainment industry provides students with ample opportunities to kickstart their acting careers.
Additionally, NYU’s film school offers ample opportunities for students to hone their crafts in student films.
If you’re looking for acting classes in New York City in particular, I recommend reading this article.
3. Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (UK)
In the United Kingdom, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) stands as a beacon of excellence in theater education.
RADA’s impressive track record boasts alumni like Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Chastain, and Alan Rickman.
Its intensive training and long history of producing great actors make it one of the world’s leading drama schools.
4. National Institute of Dramatic Art (AUS)
Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) is renowned for its graduate programs and performance studies.
Graduates of NIDA, including Cate Blanchett and Baz Luhrmann, have made their mark in the international acting and filmmaking industry.
The school’s success is a testament to its dedication to nurturing talent and providing students with valuable experiences.
5. Yale School of Drama (US)
The David Geffen School of Drama at Yale, part of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, is a breeding ground for talented actors.
Its notable alumni include Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, and Robin Williams.
The school’s rigorous actor training and stage production experiences set the stage for successful careers in the performing arts, with opportunities to perform at the esteemed Yale Repertory Theater.
6. Guildhall School of Music and Drama (UK)
Located in London, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama offers programs in both musical theatre and acting.
Notable alumni such as Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor are a testament to the school’s reputation for producing top talent.
The school’s focus on stage combat and professional theatre experience makes it a top choice for aspiring actors.
7. California Institute of the Arts (US)
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), in Los Angeles, California, is known for its intensive training and notable alumni like Francis Ford Coppola.
The school’s acting degree programs provide students with the foundation to succeed in the competitive acting world, particularly in Hollywood.
This school offers an early opportunity for networking in the heart of Los Angeles.
8. Brown University (US)
Brown University, an Ivy League institution in Rhode Island, offers a unique approach to actor training.
Its combination of liberal arts education with acting programs helps students develop a well-rounded perspective.
Graduates such as Laura Linney have gone on to have celebrated careers in the acting industry.
9. Columbia University (US)
The school’s impressive alumni list includes names like Spike Lee and Kathryn Bigelow.
Columbia’s emphasis on hard work and dedication to the craft has produced some of the best actors in the industry.
Still, applicants must pass a rigorous academic threshold to be admitted.
10. Carnegie Mellon School of Drama (US)
Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts program.
With a long history of producing talented actors, including Holly Hunter and Ted Danson, the school’s dedication to professional acting and stage production is well-regarded in the industry.
This program takes a minimal amount of actors per year, so check out their yearly fall and winter audition schedule if interested!
11. Depaul University (US)
Chicago’s Depaul University offers a robust acting program that prepares students for successful careers in the performing arts.
Notable alumni, such as John C. Reilly and Gillian Anderson, have demonstrated the school’s commitment to nurturing talented actors.
Chicago is also well known for its stellar comedy, improv, and theater scene – offering the opportunity for further training and career options.
12. University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts (US)
University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts (USC SDA), located in Los Angeles, is known for its strong connection to the entertainment industry.
The school’s rigorous training and notable alumni, including Forest Whitaker and LeVar Burton, make it a top choice for those aspiring to become the best actors in Hollywood.
13. Northwestern University (US)
Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, offers a comprehensive acting program.
With a notable alumni list that includes Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Schwimmer, the school’s focus on intensive training and professional experiences provides a solid foundation for a successful acting career.
14. Oxford School of Drama (UK)
The Oxford School of Drama in the United Kingdom is renowned for its focus on stage combat and intensive actor training.
Its dedication to developing talented actors has produced alumni like Florence Pugh, and it’s an excellent choice for international students seeking a world-class acting education.
15. National School of Drama (IN)
India’s National School of Drama (NSD) is a notable institution for aspiring actors.
NSD offers a unique perspective on acting with its rigorous programs and notable alumni, including Naseeruddin Shah, and demonstrates its contribution to Bollywood and the global acting industry.
16. Pace University (US)
Pace University, located in New York City, is known for its professional acting programs.
Notable alumni like Danny Burstein and Justin Paul have benefitted from the school’s focus on stage production and real-world experiences in the industry.
17. Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts (UK)
The Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, based in the United Kingdom, is known for its intensive training and a focus on professional acting.
With notable alumni like Amanda Holden and Eddie Marsan, the school has a strong reputation for preparing students for successful acting careers.
18. University Of North Carolina School of the Arts (US)
The North Carolina School of the Arts offers professional acting programs in the United States.
Its notable alumni, including Mary-Louise Parker, showcase the school’s dedication to producing successful actors in the industry.
North Carolina also offers opportunities for students to work in the broader film and TV community, as it is a hotspot for Hollywood productions.
19. Duke University
Duke University, located in North Carolina, offers undergraduate degrees in acting.
Graduates like Ken Jeong and David Denman have made their mark in the acting world.
Duke’s combination of liberal arts education with professional acting training sets it apart in the industry.
Be sure to look into the undergraduate degree requirements for this program.
20. University of California School of Drama US)
UCLA’s School of Drama in Los Angeles, California, is known for its strong connections to the entertainment industry.
Notable alumni like James Franco and Tim Robbins have benefitted from the school’s intensive training and real-world experiences in the acting industry.
21. Moscow Art Theatre School (RU)
The Moscow Art Theatre School is a prime choice for acting training outside the US and Europe.
Founded by Konstantin Stanislavski, the grandfather of method acting, this school’s four-year program offers a unique and comprehensive approach to actor training.
Its alumni include renowned actors such as Marlon Brando.
22. American Film Institute (US)
While the American Film Institute (AFI) primarily focuses on film education, it also offers acting-related programs.
AFI, situated in Los Angeles, has notable alumni like Darren Aronofsky and Terrence Malick.
Its emphasis on film as a storytelling medium is valuable for actors looking to excel in the best film and television productions. It’s also great for actors who want to go beyond acting and maybe be a director or actor-screenwriter.
These filmmaking skills, coupled with acting training, can be precious to a working actor on set.
The acting industry is highly competitive, and the journey to success often requires years of dedicated training.
Attending one of the best acting schools not only provides essential skills but also opens doors to invaluable networking opportunities and industry connections.
The best acting schools have a long history of producing talented actors. This tradition of excellence attracts aspiring artists worldwide, making these institutions hubs for nurturing the next generation of great actors.
It’s for a good reason that many renowned actors credit their alma maters as critical in their career development.
From the heart of New York City to the stages of London, these institutions have a global impact on the acting industry, shaping the future of the performing arts.
So, if you dream of gracing the stage or screen, consider enrolling in one of these prestigious schools to begin your journey to becoming one of the best actors in the world.
If that is too big of a step, you can dip your toes into acting classes by checking out some of these excellent online acting classes instead. They offer a good view into the world you can expect to meet if you enroll in one of these prestigious acting programs at some point.
Good luck on your acting journey.