List of Acting Schools | The Best Acting Schools Around the World

List of Acting Schools

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A list of all the major acting schools around the world. The highlighted schools in each country are considered to be the top schools in that country. We have decided these rankings using a number of factors including: student feedback, surveys, alumni, industry advice and more. Please leave a comment below or get in touch if you have had an experience at any of the Acting schools listed. We are always looking to learn more about actor training around the world.

If you are looking at auditioning for any of these acting schools, thoroughly research the courses. Even if an acting school has a prestigious name, things are changing all the time. There can be issues with funding, or new staff that completely change the culture of the course. It is also useful to look at how recent graduates are going, to see what schools the industry is responding to at this moment. Speak to people in the industry to get a feel for how each school is seen by the industry.

You will typically need to prepare one to three monologues to audition for these schools, so check out our resources for more help on finding, rehearsing and preparing monologues! Some schools do use scenes, but usually they will give you guidance as to which scenes might be appropriate.

Here are the best drama schools around the world: 

American Acting Schools

USA Drama Schools

Best American Drama Schools

The American industry is the best in the world. There you go, I said it! Though I think generally the quality of the work in the UK is better, the US just makes so much of it! It’s an industry that even if you don’t make the big time you can actually have a career, unlike other parts of the world. With so many opportunities I think a lot of actors believe they can just dive right in and make it! But though every year 1000s of untrained actors flock to LA and New York to follow their dreams, going to one of these schools will allow you to seriously jump the line. The US have so many great acting schools, and so you are spoiled for choice. Definitely investigate some of the great names on this list…

1. The Juilliard School, Drama Division

2. The Actors Studio (Pace University)

3. Yale School of Drama

4. Tisch School of the Arts, New York City

5. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

  • ACT, San Francisco
  • Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
  • Atlantic Acting School
  • The Stellar Adler Studio of Acting
  • Capilano University
  • Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts
  • The Academy for Classical Acting
  • Northwestern University
  • State University of New York, Purchase
  • Beverly Hills Playhouse Acting School
  • Boston Conservatory: Music, Dance, Theatre
  • Boston University, School of Theatre
  • Michelle Danner Acting School
  • Elizabeth Mestnik Acting School
  • Illinois Theatre Center Drama School
  • Meisner Center Acting Training
  • California Institute of the Arts, School of Theatre
  • The Meisner Technique School of Acting
  • The New School for Drama
  • New York Film Academy
  • New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts
  • Stella Adler Conservatory
  • The True Acting Institute
  • Tom Todoroff Studio Acting Conservatory
  • University of the Arts Philadelphia, PA
  • University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Southern California: School of Dramatic Arts
  • University of North Carolina School of the Arts
  • UC San Diego


British Acting Schools

British Drama Schools

Best British Drama Schools

Here is our list of best drama schools in London and the UK. These top 10 we believe are the strongest schools, but we have listed a few other popular schools below. Always do your own research on any school you are considering auditioning for.

1. The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)

2. London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)

3. Guildhall School of Music and Drama

4. Bristol Old Vic

5. Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts

6. Central School of Speech and Drama

7. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

8. Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

9. Manchester Metropolitan University

10. Oxford School of Drama

  • Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
  • The Manchester School of Acting
  • Arden School of Theatre
  • Birmingham School of Acting
  • Drama Centre London
  • Drama Studio London
  • East 15 Acting School
  • Guildford School of Acting
  • Arts Educational Schools, London
  • Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
  • London School of Musical Theatre


Australian Acting Schools

Australian Drama Schools

Best Australian Drama Schools

Australia is a terrific place to train as an actor, with many world class acting schools. NIDA is the national school similar to RADA in the UK, and is considered the most prestigious school but WAAPA and QUT in particular are standouts that easily rival NIDA. VCA is also a great school based in Melbourne. Generally in Australia each state has a major acting school such as QUT (Queensland), WAAPA (Western Australia), VCA (Victoria), and NIDA (NSW). Then there are a number of terrific independent schools around the country, notably ACA and 16th Street Actors Studio.

1. National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA)

2. Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

3. Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

4. Victorian College of the Arts (VCA)

5. ACA: Actors Centre Australia (ACA)

  • 16th Street Actors Studio
  • ACARTS: Adelaide College of the Art
  • The National Theatre Drama School
  • Deakin University (Drama)
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • University of Wollongong
  • Screenwise Film and TV school for Actors
  • Flinders Drama Centre
  • University of Tasmania (Academy of the Arts)
  • University of Ballarat
  • Curtin University


Canadian Acting Schools

Canada is fast becoming one of the most exciting places to be based as an actor. It’s a great country, and has a great industry, especially with lots of productions coming across from the US. Canada doesn’t have the same breadth of acting schools like the UK or US, but instead has a couple of really amazing schools and then some great smaller private academies. Hopefully this list will be a good starting point.

Canada Drama Schools

  • National Theatre School of Canada
  • Vancouver Film School
  • The Canadian College of Performing Arts
  • Sheridan University – Ontario
  • York University – Ontario
  • Concordia University Quebec
  • Second City Toronto


International Acting Schools

International Drama Schools

  • Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School
  • National Theatre School of Canada
  • National School of Drama (India)
  • Conservatoire National Superieur d Art Dramatique
  • Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre
  • Wits University, BADA
  • University of Cape Town
  • Rhodes University
  • Tshwane University
  • State Academy of Film, TV and Theatre in Lodz


About the Author

StageMilk Team

is made up of professional actors, acting coaches and writers from around the world. This team includes Andrew, Alex, Emma, Jake, Jake, Indiana, Patrick and more. We all work together to contribute useful articles and resources for actors at all stages in their careers.

3 responses to “List of Acting Schools”

  1. Avatar Deena Freeman says:

    You must add The Speiser/Sturges acting studio to the list of best acting schools. Check out their website. Aaron is a gifted teacher and in a league by himself. Shannon is an incredible teacher as well. I have studied with Aaron for a number of years.,.. He is Will Smith’s acting coach as well as a coach to many more stars.
    By the way, there is no mention of an acting school for teens which I run, called, Deena Freeman’s Teen Acting Classes. I have many years experience and am trained by Aaron. He and Shannon send me students. Please check out my website:

  2. Avatar Lesley says:

    The Australian list isnt exactly correct these days. It’s widely known that actors graduating from NIDA, QUT and VCA are not as balanced, outstanding performers as these schools once produced. Many Australian actors undertake training privately or at smaller screen schools such as Screenwise in New South Wales and The Australian Film & Television Academy (TAFTA) in Melbourne. The smaller schools prepare the actors for real work on set, whereas the universities only shape the actors into a certain type of performer, often limiting their range of ability and not preparing them for the reality of life as an actor. I work in admin in performing arts education in Australia. I hear this point of view from many directors and acting coaches.

    • Andrew Hearle Andrew Hearle says:

      Hi Lesley, thanks for your comment. I would have to disagree here. The major drama schools are still very well respected and especially for those interested in a career in theatre, studying at a film school would not be ideal. Most schools are much more balanced now. NIDA used to have a reputation for “breaking actors”, but with John at the head it’s a much more open and adaptive school. We love Screenwise and TAFTA, but in regards to a list of leading drama schools I don’t think anyone would place those schools above any of the major 3 year programs.

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