13 best drama schools in New York| Tuition & Key Information

New York is not only a home of the legitimate theatre in America but also you can find the best drama schools in New York.

Rising to the top of entertainment is incredibly rewarding, but getting there takes more than just talent: You need discipline, determination and—most importantly—the right training.

Choosing to attend the drama schools in New York as someone who wants to build a career in the movie industry is worth it.

This is because acting classes helps you stretch your acting muscles in ways that you probably wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

There are so many top drama schools in New York like we have stated earlier and got the best of these schools might be a little difficult.

But if you make it through your fledging work, you will be seen by directors and producers from around the world and that is when your career starts.

The most direct way to meet people who can actually help you into a career as an actor through acting lessons is by attending the best drama schools in New York.

So in general, good acting classes prepare actors for their professional work and are necessary for a career in theatre, film and/or television.

Actors who go professional will always need classes or coaching of some kind to prepare them for what is required both in terms of the craft and the industry standards.

The list of best drama schools in New York

  • The Juilliard School
  • Tisch School of the Arts
  • Actors Studio at Pace
  • William Esper Studio
  • The American Academy of Dramatic Arts
  • American Musical and Dramatic Academy
  • Columbia University
  • Hofstra University
  • The Maggie Flanigan Studio
  • The New School
  • The Neighborhood Playhouse
  • New York Film Academy
  • HB Studio

The Juilliard School

  • Notable alumni: Viola Davis, Anthony Mackie, Kelsey Grammer, Robin Williams, Jessica Chastain, Kevin Spacey
  • Websitehttp://www.juilliard.edu/
  • Location: 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023

Juilliard Drama is dedicated to preparing 21st-century actors and playwrights to tell, with clarity and passion, imagination and artistry, diverse stories that speak to the truth of the world in which we live.

The Juilliard School was founded in the year 1905 and is a world leader in performing arts education.

The mission of this school is to provide the highest calibre of artistic education for gifted musicians, actors, and dancers in order for them to achieve their fullest potential as artists.

They are one of the best drama schools in New York with currently more than 800 artists from 44 states and 42 countries and regions are enrolled at Juilliard, where they appear in over 700 annual performances in the school’s five theatres.

Student’s budget at The Juilliard School:

Tuition: $51,230

Double Room: ( New Students-$19,810, Continuing Students-$18,870)

Student Health Insurance (Estimate): $2,654

Orientation Fee: ( New Students-$250)

Books, Supplies, Personal Expenses: $3,700

Transportation – Local: $528

Transportation – Out of town: $1,400

Tisch School of the Arts

  • Notable alumni: Joel Coen, Billy Crystal, Michael Arndt, Bridget Fonda, Charles Kaufman, Martin Scorsese
  • Websitehttp://www.tisch.nyu.edu/
  • Location: 721 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

Nowhere else in the world can you find the range of disciplines in one school.

Over the last 50 years as they forged new programs, built their home in New York and expanded to their global academic centres, institutes emerged.

Each is built with shared values, common goals, and a priority for putting students first. The result – a place where artists and scholars create the future.

Their undergraduate program matches rigorous conservatory training with a broad and empowering academic curriculum. 

Tisch is one of the top drama schools in New York that exposes students to different approaches to acting, music theatre, design, theatrical management, and directing.

At Tisch, they train thinking artists who have the skills to ask questions, find answers, tell stories, and engage with all kinds of collaborators—creatively, intellectually, and professionally.

Cost of attendance:

Tuition and Mandatory Fees: $56,500

Room and Board: $19,682

Estimated Total Direct Costs: $76,182

Books and Supplies: $718

Transportation: $1,132

Personal Expenses: $2,846

Estimated Total Indirect Costs: $4,696

Actors Studio at Pace

  • Notable alumni: Bradley Cooper, Austin Basis, Eisa Davis, Chris Stack, Jason Odell Williams
  • Websitehttp://www.pace.edu/
  • Location: 1 Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038

Pace University is the actors studio drama school-acting, directing, and playwriting.

The Actors Studio Drama School – Acting, Directing, and Playwriting program at Pace University offers you the authenticity, continuity, and authority of the Stanislavski System and the Method.

They offer one of the most unique programs in the USA for young actors who are interested in a devised, ensemble work.

Based in New York, with a semester abroad, the BA in Acting–International Performance Ensemble (IPE) balances academics and rigorous training in a highly collaborative environment.

Acting for Film, Television, Voice-overs, and Commercials (FTVC) re-examines the training of the contemporary actor and media performer from top to bottom.

But that’s not all, this institution is one of the best drama schools in New York because of the numerous courses they offer that ready the young actor for entry into today’s multi-faceted industry.

This institution has summer enrichment programs that help high school students to explore a fun and exciting career path.

Pace University offers students as much financial assistance as possible. Financial Aid can come in many forms, including scholarships and grantswork-study, and student loans

Undergraduate cost of attendance:

Tuition: $46,978
Pace School of Performing Arts: $51,978

$1,962 Standard Fees include the General Institution Fee, Student Activities Fee, Technology Fee, and Healthcare Services Fee.

Room and Board(This usually varies depending on residence, room and meal plan):

New York City Campus: $20,356
Westchester Campus: $16,820

Personal expenses: $1,418

See tuition details.

William Esper Studio

  • Notable alumni: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Rockwell, Amy Schumer, Larry David, Aaron Eckhart, David Morse
  • Websitehttp://esperstudio.com/
  • Location: 208 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018

The William Esper Studio was established in 1965 and today ranks as one of the most respected professional actor training studios in America.

This is one of the best drama schools in New York that is recognized as a vocational school.

by the United States Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As such, the Esper Studio is able to provide M-1 visas to qualified applicants from other countries.

This studio offers full-and part-time programs, as well as a 6-week summer intensive running from mid-June to the end of July.

See the tuition details.

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts

  • Websitehttp://www.aada.edu/
  • Location: 120 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
  • Notable alumni: Adrien Brody, Kim Cattrall, Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, Danny DeVito, Kirk Douglas, Robert Redford

This is one of the drama schools in New York that offers Acting, a course that concentrates on the achievement of free, truthful use of self in imaginary circumstances.

Beginning with exercises for relaxation, concentration, and sensitivity to other actors and to internal and external stimuli, the semester proceeds to improvisation and then to scene study in contemporary drama.

Being one of the top drama schools in New York, they strengthen the foundation of actors through more sophisticated aspects of technique.

Their students are passionately guided by the highest level of experts in every aspect of professional acting, properly equipping each student to thrive in a lifelong career in the craft of acting.

Tuition: $37,575

General Fees: $750

Books and Supplies (estimated): $570

Housing (half share, 9 months): $18,855

Meals: $1,600

Personal Costs: $1,400

See details about costs here.

American Musical and Dramatic Academy

  • Notable alumni: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Emily Padgett, Christopher Sieber, Lee Targensen, Jason Derulo
  • Websitehttp://www.amda.edu/
  • Location: 211 West 61st Street, New York, NY 10023

AMDA is listed as one of the top drama schools in New York because they provide rigorous, performance-based training and an industry-focused education experience; one that inspires excellence and prepares artists with an appreciation for the universal power of transformation through art.

AMDA’s educational philosophy is based on close collegial interaction between instructors and students — in class, in production and through active mentorship.

AMDA is one of the top drama schools in New York that strives to create an environment for students to develop the skills, confidence, imagination, and power to contribute to their community as artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, lifelong learners, and conscientious citizens of the world.

Financial aid is provided to the student and the family to help pay for the student’s education.

Major forms of financial aid include gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and work). 

Cost of attendance at American Musical and Dramatic Academy:

Tuition: $42,660

Fees: $300

Housing: $10,280

Books: $1,200

Transport: $1,200

Personal: $4,300

Misc: $2,300

Columbia University

  • Notable alumni: Kathryn Bigelow, Lisa Cholodenko, James Mangold, Kimberly Peirce, Simon Kinberg
  • Websitehttp://arts.columbia.edu/
  • Location: 601 Dodge Hall, Columbia University, 2960, New York, NY 10027

This is one of the drama schools in New York that has a thriving, diverse community of talented, visionary and committed artists from around the world.

Their faculty is comprised of acclaimed and internationally renowned artists, film and theatre directors, writers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, playwrights, producers, critics, and scholars.

Columbia University School of the Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing and the Master of Arts degree in Film and Media Studies; it also offers an interdisciplinary program in Sound Art.

The School of the Arts awards over $13 million in student aid each year in the form of tuition scholarships, paid service positions, teaching appointments and institutional awards.

See the tuition fee and cost of attendance details.

Hofstra University

  • Notable alumni: James Caan, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Davi, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Walken
  • Websitehttp://www.hofstra.edu/
  • Location: 1000 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead, NY 11550

Hofstra University is one of the drama schools in New York that can help you get where you want to go, with small classes, dedicated faculty, and a beautiful, energized campus, plus all the opportunities of New York City within easy reach.

They are listed among the top drama schools in New York because they help students prepare for a career in acting, directing, design, production, or stage management. 

Hofstra’s drama program will give you hands-on experience as you deepen your understanding and appreciation of the art of theatre. 

The Drama program offers grants and scholarships to incoming and continuing students.

Full-Time Tuition: Fall UG (12-17 credits): $25,132.50 per term. See the full tuition fee details.

The Maggie Flanigan Studio

  • Notable alumni: Carlton Byrd, Tom Lipinski, Jes Macallan, Michael Oberholtzer, Piper Perabo
  • Websitehttp://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/
  • Location: 153 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001

This is one of the best drama schools in New York that has the best-acting programs.

Their two-year acting conservatory is divided into two semesters: fall and spring.

They also have summer semesters which includes the summer acting programs and other professional actor training program classes.

Acting 1 begins every September (ending in early June) and January (concluding at the end of July). Acting 2 begins every September.

The class and schedule flexibility that the Maggie Flanigan Studio provides allows our PATP, Core Acting Program, and Meisner Acting Only Program students to enrol in their conservatory classes year-round. 

In order to secure and guarantee your place in the First-Year Program, a $75.00 (seventy-five dollar) non‐refundable, non‐transferable deposit is required.

Tuition for the First-‐Year Program consists of a payment of $455.00 to be paid each month for a total of eight (8) months (the “monthly payment”). Visit their website to find out about tuition and costs.

The New School

  • Notable alumni: Woody Allen, Bea Arthur, Tony Curtis, Jonah Hill, Tennessee Williams
  • Websitehttp://www.newschool.edu/
  • Location: 72 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10011

This is one of the drama schools in New York that has the College of Performing arts that is is made up of three renowned schools:

  • the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music
  • Mannes School of Music, and
  • the School of Drama.

While in this school, you can expand the limits of your artistry, taking advantage of the opportunity to draw on different artistic disciplines.

Alongside prominent faculty, you reinvent tradition, engage with social issues, and develop entrepreneurial skills with which to pursue sustainable career opportunities after graduation.

See the tuition fee details and costs.

Do you really need acting classes in order to act?

Hypothetically, yes. Acting is something everyone has the capability to do.

But classes and instruction are extremely helpful in making you improve as an actor because it’s a far more varied field than you might think.

Actors are kind of professional liars; Their endeavours are to make you believe in and care about the fictional story they are telling.

But, those methods have to change depending on the medium of acting.

If you’re a film actor, the skills you’re going to need will differ from those of a stage actor.

Stage actors need to be able to project their voices to fill up a theatre and perform in a way that seems natural while it’s still clear enough for people who are sitting high up in the balcony to see.

Film actors are trained to work more in the subtle and realistic style.

A good example of this is Samantha Barks, the young lady who played Éponine in the Les Misérables movie.

All of her experience was in live musical theatre, and she had a difficult time adjusting— particularly in that she would continuously sing very loudly during takes and had to be reminded that she didn’t need to project.

Similarly, film actors who go to Broadway either as a marketing ploy or as a way of gaining credibility as an actor often have issues with projecting because it’s not what they’ve trained for.

It also matters what kind of story you’re performing.

If you’re going to be acting in a play by Shakespeare, you need to know how Shakespeare works, or you’ll fall into the trap of saying words without actually understanding what they mean.

In short, acting classes are not required per se, but they provide actors with invaluable tools to advance the craft, and they can really only help.

Some top places to get a job after graduating from the drama schools in New York

  • The Chain Theatre
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Irondale Center Theatre
  • Lookingglass Theater Company
  • Mint Theatre Company
  • NBC News
  • The Public Theatre (New York)
  • Seattle Children’s Theatre
  • Soho Playhouse
  • Upright Citizens Brigade

Best acting schools

Below are some of the top acting schools in the world:

  • National Institute of Dramatic Art, Kensington
  • Mount View Academy of Theatre Arts, London
  • The Actor’s Studio, New York City
  • DePaul University, Chicago
  • Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London
  • Carnegie Mellon School, Pittsburg
  • National School of Drama, Delhi
  • Oxford School of Drama, Woodstock
  • Yale School of Drama, New Haven
  • Juilliard School, New York City

Acting schools in New York for international students

International students who want to study in the drama schools in New York are required to provide an M1 Visa.

The “M” visa is for nonacademic or vocational studies. M-1 visa holders for technical and vocational programs are not permitted to work during the course of their studies.

The M-1 student visa applicants must have evidence that sufficient funds are immediately available to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of their intended stay.

According to the United States Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the drama schools in New York are authorized to enrol non-immigrant students who obtain M-1 class visas and as such can issue Form I-20s so that foreign students may obtain M-1 class visas from the United States Government.

After being accepted by any of the drama schools in New York, international students may be required to provide the following:

  • Proof of anticipated source of income (a bank statement or letter from a parent, guardian, or sponsor confirming financial support sufficient to enable the applicant to remain in the United States during the term of study).
  • Deposit payment for your program of study.
  • Photocopy of applicant’s passport.

Once the documents are received, the drama schools in New York can then issue the student’s I-20 form and official acceptance letter into the Professional Actor Training Program, which the student will then use to apply for an M-1 visa at the embassy in their home country.

How long will my M-1 visa be valid?

Your M-1 visa is valid for the program dates for the session in which you are enrolled (eg. September 15 – June 15 / January 5 – August 1 / June 15 – August 1).

There is a 30-day grace period before and after your Program Start and End Dates, during which you are allowed to travel within the US, move into a new apartment, etc.

How long does the visa application process take?

You may need to contact your local embassy to inquire how long it will take after receiving your I-20 or check their website.

Because in most cases it will depend on the embassy, as every embassy and consulate in every country each processes applications on their own timeline.

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