Juilliard, Yale, Guildhall, RADA, and LAMDA are only some of the best acting schools in the world that we will look at today. The list we will discuss has taken alums, surveys, rankings, student feedback, casting professionals, and much more into account. But first, a little introduction, shall we?
Why are acting schools so important?
There are various paths to success as an actor. Going to a prominent acting school is just one of them.
By attending acting school, you’ll learn more about the history of the drama and theatre industry. You will become more familiar with the movies and actors who shaped it, turning it into the complex art it is considered today.
Many remarkable actors and filmmakers have received knowledge, extensive insights, and valuable guidance from their seniors and what they learned at school.
These schools allow for a more natural building of bonds between actors and connections with castors or other professionals from the industry.
Though going to acting school doesn’t come cheap, it’s definitely worth considering and finding the best idea for you. Who knows, maybe you’ll uncover another area in the theatre industry apart from acting that you find talent in.
We’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best acting schools in the world, so you don’t have to. Also, this list has been set in no specific order, and the only ranks we mention are through research from well-known organisations. Let’s get started.
Here are the 15 best acting schools in the world!
1. THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL
Location: New York City, New York, USA
While there’s no rank on this list, we must mention The Julliard School at number one. Infamously challenging to get into, the school only accepts around 800 students each year. You will find the most gifted artists from around the world at Julliard.
The school offers acting, music, and dance degrees, providing the most incredible academic journey. They train students to arise with expert language and screenplay skills to set them up for the demanding yet thrilling world of acting. You can’t go more prestigious than Julliard.
Notable Alumni: Robin Williams, Viola Davis, Kevin Spacey, Aretha Franklin.
2. OXFORD SCHOOL OF DRAMA
Location: Woodstock, England, UK
The Oxford School of Drama is a relatively small independent institute that only takes around 20 students in one course. Though one of the youngest in the UK, this school has already produced an outstanding amount of capable and prominent actors.
Recognised by Trinity College, The Oxford School of Drama provide all the skills aspiring actors, regardless of their background, need to not only successfully reach the top of the acting industry but also have the influence to transform it.
Notable Alumni: Christina Cole, Claire Foy, Freddy Carter.
3. GUILDHALL SCHOOL OF MUSIC & DRAMA
Location: London, England, UK
Guildhall prides itself as a dynamic, international community of artists of all nature. This reputable school’s drama branch offers stern yet motivating training BA (produced by insanely talented screenwriter, actress, singer, director and producer Michaela Coel) and MA courses in acting, where teachers challenge students to step outside their comfort zone without a negative push.
As expected from one of the UK’s most impressive acting schools, the facilities at Guildhall are said to be attractive for students worldwide. But you need to pass three challenging stages to be accepted. So buckle up if you want to apply for Guildhall.
Notable Alumni: Ewan McGregor, Daniel Craig, Orlando Bloom, Eileen Atkins, Emma Naomi.
4. YALE SCHOOL OF DRAMA
Location: New Haven, Connecticut, USA
When we say that the recruitment at Yale is selective, we mean highly selective. In fact, many consider Yale to be as high in standard as Julliard.
The school accepts students with keen intelligence and a strong vision, enrolling only a little over ten students a year. Yes, 10! That is why it is said to be a privilege to be accepted into such an institute.
With in-depth classroom training and comprehensive exhibition experience, Yale promises to equip you for your career as a professional actor.
Notable Alumni: Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro
5. ROYAL ACADEMY OF DRAMATIC ART (RADA)
Location: London, England, UK
RADA is perfect for students searching for the ideal London acting school experience. Applying for this school is understandably stringent, where auditions may take more than two months.
Living up to its royal prominence, RADA offers BA (Hons) of 3 years and one year MA degrees, giving students the best place to study drama.
RADA should be at the top of your list if you are looking for top-class training, outstanding education staff, excellent resources, the best facility funding, and a possible shot at performing for the royal family.
Notable Alumni: Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Vivien Leigh, Mike Leigh.
6. TISCH SCHOOL OF THE ARTS
Location: New York City, New York, USA
This celebrated base for studying the arts presents stern conservatory training in theatre and acting and is deemed one of the leading art schools in America.
Some of our personal favourite actors graduated from this school, and it just goes to show how much effort the school puts to have produced such great actors.
To get into TISCH, you not only need to prepare for a strict audition that is exceptionally particular but also need to provide a Common Application and an artistic review.
Notable Alumni: Kristen Bell, Spike Lee, Elizabeth Olsen, Lady Gaga, Adam Sandler.
7. LONDON ACADEMY OF MUSIC AND DRAMATIC ARTS (LAMDA)
Location: Hammersmith, London, England, UK
LAMDA is not just considered the oldest drama school in all of the UK but the world (established in the year 1861). And that is only one factor among many that add to the appeal of such an outstanding institute.
This renowned school has wonderfully evolved over the years, becoming a highly sought-after school that provides invaluable acting training, mastery and originality essential to reaching the top.
The school is most famous for producing actors that have brought awards of the highest degree, including almost 20 BAFTAs and 16 Golden Globes!
Notable Alumni: Benedict Cumberbatch, Swoosie Kurtz, Colin Baker, Sam Claflin.
8. USC SCHOOL OF DRAMATIC ARTS
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Ranked at number 15 by The Holiday Reporter’s Top 25 Drama Schools, the USC theatre department is thought to be powerful enough to carry its own against other promising acting schools worldwide.
This private drama school is a dream come true for those actors who dream of one day studying at the heart of the Hollywood film industry. What’s unique about USC is that their students not only learn acting but are also encouraged to learn the business aspects to survive in the competitive world.
Notable Alumni: John Ritter, Leigh Allyn Baker, LeVar Burton, Kelly Preston, Sophia Bush.
9. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF DRAMATIC ARTS (NIDA)
Location: Kensington, Sydney, Australia.
We found this gem all 14,541 Km from the UK. Surprise!
But seriously, while the UK and USA are dominant countries hosting great acting schools, NIDA is no way far behind. The acceptance for this school is so rigorous that when thousands of individuals apply, a scarce 100 spots are given away.
The ingenious diversity of the school secures a rejuvenating environment, a wide-ranging adventure, and a beyond compare range and depth of training relevant to the industry for pupils in all performing art fields.
Notable Alumni: Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson, Judy Davis and Baz Luhrmann.
10. UCLA SCHOOL OF THEATER, FILM, AND TELEVISION
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
And we’re back in the USA. You are essentially living under a rock if you don’t know UCLA and what the top-tier training the school has to offer. Our favourite kungfu panda graduated from UCLA! That should be enough for you to be applying there right now.
But if that isn’t enough, UCLA sets a strong foundation and the highest standard for devoted students, who are provided entry to their archive, which hosts the most extensive array of movies and television shows in the universe. Swoon!
Notable Alumni: Jack Black, Nancy Cartwright, Elizabeth Berkley, James Dean, Lloyd Bridges.
11. CARNEGIE-MELLON SCHOOL OF DRAMA
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Given the slate of the oldest acting school in the United States, Carnegie Mellon has trained and produced more than a hundred Oscar (6) and Emmy (96) winners in total.
The school’s selling point comes from its stance on strongly highlighting and confirming that students comprehend and signify their characters through in-depth material analysis. They encourage students to separate the scripts in their minds and define them as simply as they can to understand a character.
We believe that one of the most important aspects of becoming a great actor.
Notable Alumni: Holly Hunter, Patrick Wilson, Zachary Quinto, Paula Wagner.
12. AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER (ACT)
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
With some of the biggest names in Hollywood graduating from this esteemed school, it's no secret why the American Conservatory Theatre is so famous.
This school is a perfect option for students from all around the world, where they can conveniently frame their acts in their unique way. Even more satisfactory about ACT is that aspiring actors can audition for actual productions affiliated with ACT. And people indeed get cast and gain exposure.
Do you hear angel music, or is it just us?
Notable Alumni: Winona Ryder, Nicolas Cage, Denzel Washington, Elizabeth Banks.
13. ROYAL CONSERVATOIRE OF SCOTLAND (RCS)
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a performing art school of the highest calibre that smoothly illustrates and familiarises students with everything about drama, theatre, and production.
Besides its diverse education, RCS has an outstanding training staff, a passionate and high-spirited multinational community of actors alike and the comfort of a range of the best facilities.
The undergraduate programmes at RCS are made to effectively serve in a setting that allows you to judge yourself and find your place through the delights of performing arts. What more does one want?
Notable Alumni: Robert Carlyle, John Hannah, Billy Boyd, Angela Lonsdale, Moira Anderson
14. CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF THE ARTS
Location: Santa Clarita, California, USA
CalArts has successfully brought out thriving actors, underlines the significance of employability within the Acting industry, and directs you to a course where you make the most of your talent in acting and unfailingly enhance them by getting training from only the best teaching staff.
Travis Preston calls this school “the hub of a vast network of artistic and professional relationships that traverses the globe”, and we couldn’t agree more.
If you are interested in working with composers and dramatists, this school is definitely for you.
Notable Alumni: Condola Rashad, Eliza Coupe, Alison Brie, Chris Lemmon, Katey Sagal.
15. ITALIA CONTI ACADEMY OF THEATRE ARTS
Location: Woking, London, England, UK
Founded in the early 1900s, The Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts has played a significant role in providing a more contemporary approach to an actor’s training, closely following the footsteps of the essence of traditional skills.
These studies will definitely be your leading choice if you are intensely interested in the cultures, theories and monumental history of acting.
With Italia, you can take the chance to learn and perform with notable directors in almost all acting fields. So all the more reason to apply!
Notable Alumni: Noel Coward, Russell Brand, Leslie Phillips, Richard Todd, Julianne Hough.
Going into the article, we expected and were right to find that most of the top acting schools are either located in London or New York, the two best theatre cities with the most symbolic and in-depth art and theatrical history. However, we did our best to find schools from other regions too.
Getting the golden ticket to any of these schools could be a dream for many actors-to-be. Hard work triumphs over everything else, so if you’re committed to mastering acting, it’s time to pick the school of your dreams! Just remember, it is okay to fail, so don’t be afraid to make failure your platform to thrive. We’re rooting for you!