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Want to train in acting, dance or theatremaking overseas?

Students at Institute of the Arts Barcelona. Photo: Jo Kem Students at Institute of the Arts Barcelona. Photo: Jo Kemp Photography
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If you’re looking to travel while training, or you’d like an alternative approach to learning your craft, there are many world-class training centres overseas. From one-day masterclasses to one-or three-year programmes, the opportunities are vast. Samantha Marsden looks at just a few of the English-language opportunities available.

Barcelona, Spain

Institute of the Arts (IAB)

As well as providing high-quality training, the IAB also creates opportunities for students to participate in professional performances both nationally and internationally. UK degrees are taught in English and are validated by Liverpool John Moores University. With the low cost of living in Spain and exciting opportunities, the IAB is receiving more applicants from the UK than ever. The institute holds auditions all over the UK and offers BAs in acting, commercial dance, dance, musical theatre and singing. iabarcelona.com

Helsinki, Finland

Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki

The academy offers overseas students the opportunity for exchange studies. At the moment, it has agreements with the following UK institutions:

• Rose Bruford College, School of Performance

• Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

• Falmouth University

• University of Chichester

• University of Leeds

• University of Roehampton

The university also offers MA programmes to English-speaking international students. The MAs include: Live Art and Performance Studies, Ecology and Contemporary Performance, Dance Performance, Choreography and Dance Pedagogy. uniarts.fi/en/teak


Michelle Danner Acting Studio. Photo: Tefuri Seifu
Michelle Danner Acting Studio. Photo: Tefuri Seifu

Michelle Danner Acting Studio, Los Angeles This school offers individual classes, as well as short- and long-term acting intensives for beginner, intermediate and advanced students. Students are taught how to acquire a comprehensive set of acting tools based on the methods and techniques of Meisner, Strasberg, Adler, Hagen, Chekhov and Stanislavski, allowing students to develop their very own toolbox called the Golden Box. Actors at the school also have the opportunity to build their resumés and gain IMDb credits while studying.

Michelle Danner has taught acting for the last 25 years and has worked with many A-list actors, both privately and on set. UK actors she has taught include: Gerard Butler, Justine Waddell, Hannah New and Henry Cavill.

This school also issues the I-20 form, which allows international students to apply for the M-1 student visa needed to study in the US. michelledanner.com

Andrew Wood Acting Studio, Los Angeles

The main offering of this school is the Essentials Workshop. This is a 10-week course in acting technique for scene study. The course presents the approach to acting that Andrew Wood encountered in the MFA directing program at Yale School of Drama. The technique allows students to work on a single scene with a single partner for 10 weeks, giving them the opportunity to immerse themselves in the text and to craft a stirring performance. andrewwoodla.com

Beverly Hills Playhouse, Los Angeles

BHP runs schools in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and New York. It is well known for Milton Katselas’ unique approach, which addresses acting attitude and career admiration. The school has many notable alumni, including George Clooney, who studied at the school for five years.

Allen Barton, owner and chief executive, explains: “We have a very non-theoretical, no-bullshit, practical approach to the craft of acting, as well as a specific emphasis on what actors are doing to actually get work in the industry.” bhplayhouse.com

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York

The academy has schools in New York and LA and offers a wide range of different courses. Many notable alumni have trained here, including Anne Hathaway, Robert Redford and Danny DeVito. The school focuses on acting for the stage as well as for camera, and students receive individual attention in small classes and learn from working professionals in industry seminars.

The president of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Susan Zech, explains: “The academy’s students represent more than 40 countries, many of which have enrolled from the UK. It’s our belief here that strong diversity of cultures not only enriches the learning environment for all our students, but also introduces a deeper level of understanding and connection that our students can use to transform their passion into a lifelong profession.” aada.edu

Students at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Photo: American Academy of Dramatic Arts

The Acting Studio, New York

Located in the heart of the New York theatre district, the Acting Studio focuses on teaching the techniques developed by the legendary acting instructor Sanford Meisner. The director of the acting studio, James Price, was a friend and protege of Meisner. Not only actors, but also playwrights and directors have found training at this school useful. actingstudio.com

The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, New York and Los Angeles

The world’s leading school for teaching method acting, the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute has schools in New York and LA. Past student Michelle Jasmine Tymchuk says: “I cannot speak highly enough of the training I have received here and how it has changed me as both an individual and an artist. Coming upon this work has been like finding the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.” methodactingstrasberg.com

Doing a bachelor degree in the US

The USC School of Dramatic Arts, Juilliard, Tisch School of the Arts, Yale School of Drama and Brown University all run some of the most prestigious performing arts BA and BFA programmes in the world. Many of these colleges offer international students the opportunity to audition via video, and in some cases international students are eligible for merit scholarships or other part-funded places. However, even with a part scholarship, fees are still likely to be high. Tuition fees at these top colleges reach up to $51,442 per academic year. Many of these schools also run summer programmes for a lower fee.

Sydney, Australia

National Institute of Drama Art

NIDA is one of Australia’s leading centres for education and training in the performing arts. It welcomes applications from international students and offers a variety of courses including a BFA in: acting, costume, design for performance, properties and objects, staging, and technical theatre and stage management. nida.edu.au

Actors Centre

The Actors Centre offers full-time and part-time courses, masterclasses and short courses in acting, presenting, singing, voice-over and screen skills. Actor Hugh Jackman, ex-student and now a patron of the centre, says: “I am proud to be patron of such an outstanding organisation who, across three decades, have consistently delivered artistic education fuelled by integrity and excellence.” actorscentre.com.au

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