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Acting Schools in Los Angeles

Not all aspiring performers have taken acting classes, but many actors will attest that their career would not have been possible without learning the techniques and skills that formal training can offer.

Here are some of the best schools in LA to consider:

The Stella Adler Academy of Acting

One of the most prestigious acting schools in the world, The Stella Adler Academy of Acting was founded by Adler, an actress and teacher who created the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in 1949, in New York City. Her technique came from a combination of what she’d learned from the American Yiddish Theatre, Broadway, Hollywood, and Konstantin Stanislavsky.

In 1972, The Stella Adler Studio of Acting became the first professional actor training school to become affiliated with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Adler later relocated to LA, where she taught part-time along with her protégé, actress Joanne Linville.

Adler’s technique is founded on an actor’s ability to imagine a character’s world rather than rely on personal or emotional memories, which can limit an actor’s range.

Other than offering regular classes, The Stella Adler Outreach Division caters to those from low-income communities, providing free acting classes. There are also cultural events that are free and open to the public, presented by The Harold Clurman Art Series.

Some of the alumni are award-winning actors Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Harvey Keitel, Melanie Griffith, Mark Ruffalo, Benicio del Toro, Salma Hayek


Speiser Sturges Acting Studio

Shannon Sturges (granddaughter of director Preston Sturges) and Aaron Speiser have been Los Angeles’s premiere acting teachers and coaches for over thirty years. Although they train actors for theater work, their focus is on film and TV. They also guide students through the audition process, offering specialty classes that cover voice work, dialect training, improv, commercial workshops, audition technique, cold reading, and comedy intensives. Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, and Gerard Butler are some of their alumni.



Ruskin School of Acting

The Ruskin School was founded in 1986 by John Ruskin, an apprentice of Sanford Meisner, who took him under his wing in New York at the Neighborhood Playhouse. In 1989, he relocated to Los Angeles and opened the Ruskin School of Acting. Ruskin employs the Meisner technique, which trains actors not to focus on themselves, but instead concentrate on the other actors in the immediate environment, respond to stimuli naturally versus being constrained by one’s own thoughts.

The school also offers a Scene Study with Master Teachers Class, as well as Young Actors Classes, which support children and teens in their formative years.

Actors Dylan McDermott and Sir Anthony Hopkins volunteer at the school teaching acting classes.


Theatre of Arts Hollywood Acting School

The goal of the Theatre of Arts Hollywood Acting School is to prepare students for a successful career in theatre, film, and television. It offers training that encompasses classical methods along with innovative enhancements.

With a storied history, the school began in 1927 and offers a two-year degree program for actors who want to pursue careers in film, TV, and theater. Former silent film actor Ben Bard coached students wanting to adapt to the world of ‘talkies.’ He trained such actors as Shirley Temple and Alan Ladd. Ten years later Max Reinhardt took over before taking on the role of Head of Talent at 20th Century Fox. In 1943, Michael Chekov was the primary teacher, a student of the Konstantin Stanislavski method; consequently, the school became the most popular one to attend in Hollywood. In 1959, Madame Valmar Oleska took the reins and would run the school for the next 41 years. In 2000, the Theatre of Arts Hollywood Acting School was incorporated within Campus Hollywood, a consortium of performing-arts academies.

Alumni include Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Olivia de Havilland, Clint Eastwood, Natalie Wood, Ingrid Bergman, and Anthony Quinn.



The Playground

Established in 2005, The Playground offers classes for children and young adults, from ages 6 to 25. With the focus on TV and film acting, the curriculum was created by founder Gary Spatz, one of the top acting coaches in the entertainment industry. He studied acting with Paul Sills (original director of Chicago’s Second City) and was a member of the American Theater Arts in Hollywood, where he continued to train and perform. After he participated in a children’s workshop at The Young Actor’s Space, he realized he wanted to specialize in teaching children and teens and went on to become a teacher at The Young Actors Space.

He served as the on-set acting coach for the Roseanne series, as well as for actors who performed on The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Sister, Sister, The Smart Guy, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and the Mickey Mouse Club. Additionally, he coached the children on Everybody Loves Raymond and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, before establishing The Playground.

Through the Playground, some of his students have gone on to perform in such TV shows and films as Malcolm in the Middle, Gossip Girl, American Crime Story, This is Us, Jurassic Park, Spy Kids, Boy’s Don’t Cry, Planet of the Apes, The Notebook, The Social Network,  and The Kissing Booth.