Primary Acting Method(s) by University / College / School

I’m new to the Theater / Drama majors forum, but have been on CC, just elsewhere.

I’m trying to learn what primary acting method is taught at each top acting program (looking at top programs, both BFA and BA), and I’m not finding this easy to learn from each university / college / school website. Does this information already exist as a list, and if yes, can someone please point me to it? I did a CC search but to no avail, but I have to believe this has come up before, at least for a couple people. As you will be able to tell, I’m a parent with little exposure to acting.

I know that a few schools, like NYU, offer a multitude of training studios, each with a different acting method emphasized; students specialize in one studio for the first couple of years and then may dabble in one or two other studios for the next couple of years.

Also, some schools claim to offer a “toolbox” approach to training, where the faculty have extensive breadth and depth, and their students are exposed to the elements and techniques of each method over the four years of study, and along the way the students pick and choose aspects that most resonate. I’ve heard that the ability of a program to deliver on comprehensive “toolbox” exposure can vary considerably, and so not all “toolboxes” are created equal – some may be fully equipped while others may be missing key elements … like a hammer, screwdriver and power drill.

I’ve heard of Stanislavski and its offshoots Meisner, Strasberg and Adler; Practical Aesthetics; Brecht; Chekov; Chubbuck; Hagen; and Spolin – I’m sure I’m missing other important acting methods (and hopefully not brewing a debate on what constitutes a method).

So my questions are:

  1. What is the primary acting method taught at each top acting / drama / theater BA and BFA program?
  2. If a program claims to offer a toolbox instead of a primary focus on a method, how is its offering viewed (elite / excellent; above average but not elite / excellent; average but solid across the board; uneven - at least a method or two insufficient; or really wanting)?
  3. How does an acting student best assess which acting method (and hence acting program) may be a better fit for herself / himself?

(My D is primarily interested in MT but in cases where the school does not offer a MT degree, she would like to consider its acting / drama / theater degree program.)

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There’s no comprehensive list that has all the info you’re seeking for every school. You need to do research by going to each school’s website and looking at the curriculum semester by semester. If it just says “Acting 1, Acting 2,” etc. with no information about what they LEARN in those classes, then call the school’s theater department and ask, or do a search for the program on the Theatre Majors forum here on CC.

Take notes on each school you research, so you have all the information at your fingertips.

Also look at the faculty bios to get a sense of how experienced and trained the teachers are.

If you have questions about any particular schools, you can ask about them here and people can try to answer about the schools we know. Offhand, I know that Rutgers and UNCSA are Meisner programs, and Hartt is a “toolbox” program, for example. But no one has a complete list of what’s taught at EVERY program.

So research each school individually, and feel free to ask here about any particular program you’re interested in.

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@actorparent1 Thank you.

As I research programs, I will post my findings here so some sort of list is started. Welcome contributions from others:

Hartt - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Meisner

Great idea! Putting together a list like that will definitely be helpful for future CCers!

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LIU Post is Suzuki method

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Primary Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Rutgers - Meisner
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Meisner

UNCSA is a toolbox approach with Meisner included (but not the primary focus that i am aware of). Although the new dean IS amazing as a teacher of Meisner.

During their info session before auditions they explain their “toolbox” approach. To answer your question above i would say their approach is viewed as elite/excellent due to their faculty who are tops in various methods. The class descriptions in the course book do not do it justice, nor explain the actual courses very well. I can’t speak to other schools toolbox approach but UNCSA’s is incredible in their depth and intensity of training.

Also to note is that UNCSA includes a lot of singing and dance. Many “MT” kids decide to attend here.


Primary Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Rutgers - Meisner
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

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Pace undergrad acting employs a toolbox approach. At the grad level, one or more of their acting programs may specialize in a method.


Primary Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

I believe Juilliard also uses a toolbox approach.

Great idea for a thread, @Twelfthman ! :slight_smile:

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Adding DePaul:

DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

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Adding CalArts:

Primary Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

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Primary Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
Shenandoah - Meisner (Even MT majors spend 1st two years in the Meisner acting sequence)
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

Michigan is toolbox. And you might add NYU As “Studios”. This is a great idea, @twelfthman. Snaps to you!

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Syracuse is also toolbox.

[I added the last two comments and made a first stab at NYU - please correct as needed but this kind of list works better if people copy the whole list as instructed when they have additions and don’t just comment.]

Primary Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Michigan - Toolbox
NYU - BFA Drama. Method varies by studio: Meisner (Meisner Studio) , Classical (Classical Studio), Practical Aesthetics (Atlantic Studio), Stanislavski + (Adler Studio), Method Acting (Lee Strasberg Studio), Toolbox (other studios).

Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
Shenandoah - Meisner (Even MT majors spend 1st two years in the Meisner acting sequence)
Syracuse - BFA Acting
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

1 Like

please correct as needed but this kind of list works better if people copy the whole list as instructed when they have additions and don’t just comment.]

Primary Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Michigan - Toolbox
NYU - BFA Drama. Method varies by studio: Meisner (Meisner Studio) , Classical (Classical Studio), Practical Aesthetics (Atlantic Studio), Stanislavski + (Adler Studio), Method Acting (Lee Strasberg Studio), Toolbox (other studios)
Otterbein - primarily Stanislavski
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
Shenandoah - Meisner (Even MT majors spend 1st two years in the Meisner acting sequence)
Syracuse - BFA Acting
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

1 Like

[Added Boston University]

Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

BU, BFA Theatre Arts & BFA Acting - Alexander
CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Michigan - Toolbox
NYU - BFA Drama. Method varies by studio: Meisner (Meisner Studio) , Classical (Classical Studio), Practical Aesthetics (Atlantic Studio), Stanislavski + (Adler Studio), Method Acting (Lee Strasberg Studio), Toolbox (other studios)
Otterbein - primarily Stanislavski
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
Shenandoah - Meisner (Even MT majors spend 1st two years in the Meisner acting sequence)
Syracuse - BFA Acting
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

1 Like

[Added Ohio University]

Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

BU, BFA Theatre Arts & BFA Acting - Alexander
CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Michigan - Toolbox
NYU - BFA Drama. Method varies by studio: Meisner (Meisner Studio) , Classical (Classical Studio), Practical Aesthetics (Atlantic Studio), Stanislavski + (Adler Studio), Method Acting (Lee Strasberg Studio), Toolbox (other studios)
Ohio University, BFA Acting - Meisner
Otterbein - primarily Stanislavski
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
Shenandoah - Meisner (Even MT majors spend 1st two years in the Meisner acting sequence)
Syracuse - BFA Acting
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

1 Like

[Added Missouri State]

Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

BU, BFA Theatre Arts & BFA Acting - Alexander
CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Michigan - Toolbox
Missouri State, BFA Acting - Toolbox
NYU - BFA Drama. Method varies by studio: Meisner (Meisner Studio) , Classical (Classical Studio), Practical Aesthetics (Atlantic Studio), Stanislavski + (Adler Studio), Method Acting (Lee Strasberg Studio), Toolbox (other studios)
Ohio University, BFA Acting - primarily Meisner
Otterbein - primarily Stanislavski
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
Shenandoah - Meisner (Even MT majors spend 1st two years in the Meisner acting sequence)
Syracuse - BFA Acting
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

1 Like

[Added Ball State]

Acting Method by University / College / School

Carefully copy and paste the last list posted AND these instructions, and then please add the school and the primary acting method taught at the institution. Thank you.

Ball State, BFA Acting - Toolbox
BU, BFA Theatre Arts & BFA Acting - Alexander
CalArts, BFA Acting - Toolbox
DePaul (The Theatre School) - Toolbox
Hartt - Toolbox
LIU Post - Suzuki
Michigan - Toolbox
Missouri State, BFA Acting - Toolbox
NYU - BFA Drama. Method varies by studio: Meisner (Meisner Studio) , Classical (Classical Studio), Practical Aesthetics (Atlantic Studio), Stanislavski + (Adler Studio), Method Acting (Lee Strasberg Studio), Toolbox (other studios)
Ohio University, BFA Acting - primarily Meisner
Otterbein - primarily Stanislavski
Pace, BFA Acting - Toolbox
Rutgers - Meisner
Shenandoah - Meisner (Even MT majors spend 1st two years in the Meisner acting sequence)
Syracuse - BFA Acting
UCLA, BA Theater - Toolbox
UNCSA, BFA Acting - Toolbox

1 Like