American Academy of Dramatic Arts

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The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) is a private performing arts conservatory in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

Drama and associated arts in the fields of theater, cinema, and television are taught at the Academy, which provides an associate degree in vocational studies.

Auditioning for the third-year theatrical company is also an option for students. If a student chooses, they may normally transfer completed credits to another institution or university to earn a bachelor’s degree.

History

The Academy in New York City, the oldest acting school in the English-speaking world, was established in 1884 by Franklin Haven Sargent, a Harvard University graduate and professor of speech and elocution at his alma university.

Sargent’s dream was to start a school that would prepare performers for the theater. The original Lyceum Theatre, on what is now Park Avenue South, was its initial home. The school relocated to its present location in 1963, a historic structure created for the Colony Club by American Renaissance architect Stanford White.

The Academy launched a second campus in Pasadena, California, in 1974, making it the only professional actor-training institution in both major entertainment cities in the United States. In 2001, the Los Angeles campus relocated from Pasadena to Hollywood, where it is now housed in a new structure next to the Jim Henson Company Lot.

Academics

The Academy is still committed to developing professional actors. It provides a two-year curriculum in which students must be asked to return for the second year. Auditions for the third-year company are conducted at the conclusion of the second year.

It currently provides film and television classes in addition to theatrical training, delivering a disciplined, professionally focused curriculum that emphasizes self-discovery, self-discipline, and originality.

In New York, students obtain an Associate of Occupational Studies degree; in Hollywood, students receive a Certificate of Completion or an Associate of Arts degree in acting. Selected colleges provide Bachelor of Arts degrees to students from New York and Los Angeles.

Several Academy graduates have gone on to work in the entertainment business. The Academy has alumni who have been nominated for 110 Oscars, 317 Emmys, and 94 Tony Awards.

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