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Stella Adler Conservatory

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Title: Stella Adler Conservatory  
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Subject: Method acting, Sean Astin, Mark Ruffalo, Natasha Leggero, Larry Gilliard, Jr., David Brimmer, Arthur Mendoza, National Shakespeare Conservatory, John Jopson, Joshua Ravetch
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Stella Adler Conservatory

Stella Adler Studio of Acting [1] (formerly Stella Adler Conservatory) is an acting school in New York founded by the actress and teacher Stella Adler [2][3]


Concurrent with her work as an actor and director, Stella Adler began to teach in the early 1940s at the Erwin Piscator Workshop at the New School for Social Research in New York. She left the faculty in 1949 to establish her own studio in New York in the same year.[4]

Combining what she had learned from the Yiddish theatre, The Group Theatre, Broadway, Hollywood, and Constantin Stanislavski, Stella created the Stella Adler Theatre Studio, later renamed the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting and more recently the Stella Adler Studio of Acting,[3] where she taught acting for many decades,[5] and in 1985 she opened the Stella Adler Academy and Theatre in Los Angeles. [6]

The studio offered courses in principles of acting, voice and speech, Shakespeare, movement, and makeup, as well as workshops in play analysis, character, scene preparation and acting styles. Onstage experience was acquired by performances of scenes and plays before an invited audience. Among her early students were Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, Elaine Stritch, Mario Van Peebles, Harvey Keitel and Candice Bergen.

The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, New York

The Stella Adler Studio of Acting is located in New York City. The Studio was founded in 1949 by Stella Adler. In 1969, The Stella Adler Studio of Acting became the first professional training school to become affiliated with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Studio became a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization in 2000. The mission of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting is to create an environment with the purpose of nurturing theatre artists who value humanity, their own and others, as their first and most precious priority while providing art and education to the greater community.

The scope of the Studio’s current activities can be summarized in three categories: 1) Professional Actor Training, the core activity of the Studio and available to both adults and teenagers through separate conservatory programs; 2) The Stella Adler Outreach Division, which provides free training to low-income inner-city teenagers and 3) The Harold Clurman Art Series which presents cultural events that are free and open to the public. The Stella Adler Studio of Acting currently trains over 500 students per year in full-time, part-time and summer programs and also presents lectures, poetry readings, jazz, classical music, theater, and dance theater events. In addition, the Stella Adler Outreach Division provides free training to approximately 300 inner-city youth each year. Stella’s daughter Ellen is the Studio’s Executive Chair. Tom Oppenheim, grandson of Stella Adler, is the Artistic Director and President. The Stella Adler Studio of Acting New York City's official West Coast Branch is the Art of Acting Studio Los Angeles, named after Stella Adler's most famous book.

The Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre and The Art of Acting Studio, in Hollywood

Stella’s long history with Hollywood meant she had close ties and strong connections in the Los Angeles area. She taught for many years at various locations in Los Angeles and she and long time friend and protégé Joanne Linville eventually opened the doors to the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle. Some of the notable names that have passed through the Hollywood conservatory include Nick Nolte, Salma Hayek,[7] Eric Stoltz, Deidre Hall, Sean Astin, John Charles Jopson, John Ritter, Cybill Shepherd, Michael Richards, Benicio del Toro,[7] and Mark Ruffalo.[7]

Protégés Joanne Linville and Irene Gilbert persuaded Stella Adler to open the academy in 1985 in Los Angeles.[8] Together, Gilbert and Linville are considered the school's co-founders, with Adler granting them permission to use her name.[7] Gilbert would remain the director of the school for twenty years.[7]

The original school was located in a small theater at Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue.[7] A fire forced the temporary closure of the school in 1991.[8] The building was threatened with demolition to make way for a proposed subway line at the time of Adler's death in 1992.[7][8] In 1994, Irene Gilbert reopened the school present location at 6773 Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.[8] It was renamed the Stella Adler Academy of Acting celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010. The historic location housed the famous Embassy Club in the 1930s.

The school is an acting studio offering extensive training for actors in theatre, film, and television. The facility houses the not-for-profit Stella Adler Theatre, the Irene Gilbert Theatre, The Studio C Theatre, classrooms, dance studio, music studio, library, dressing rooms, video and equipment room, scene shop and administrative offices, all dedicated to teaching Stella’s technique.

Linville continues to teach at the academy as the lead instructor for the last 25 years. Irene Gilbert died in 2011.[8]

In 2010, alumni of the school formed the Stella Adler Los Angeles Theatre Collective.[9]

Although the school still uses the Stella Adler name, it is no longer affiliated with the New York Studio. The Art of Acting Studio is the official West Coast branch of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, both having Tom Oppenheim, Adler's grandson, serving as CEO & Artistic Director. The Art of Acting Studio is unable to use Stella Adler's name due to legal agreements made between Adler and Gilbert when the L.A. Conservatory was opened in 1985.

Notable alumni

Pop culture

  • The band Unwritten Law has a song called "Actress Model Dancer Whatever" which contains the lyrics, "Dear Mom, I'm dating an actress, and I'm just writing to let you know why I'm so far from home. Followed her to Stella Adler. A method man was what she was after..."
  • In season 5, episode 4 of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, the train conductor says, "Here, these are your parts. Learn them. Or, as we at the Stella Adler Company say, become them."


External links

  • Stella Adler Studio of Acting, New York City, Official website
  • Art of Acting Studio, Los Angeles, Official Website
  • Stella Adler Academy of Acting, LA, Official website
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