You Will Find Some of the World's Best Acting Schools in California


The number of acting schools in California is mind blowing. Just the sheer size of the state makes the number of acting schools quite large. Then, you throw in the fact that the entertainment capitol of the United States of America is situated right there in Los Angeles and you have got yourself a ton of places to study theater and attend drama school.

The list below is a mix of acting schools in California. Some you will find at an accredited university or college that will offer you a degree. Others are considered more of independent schools or classes.

These schools may not offer a degree, like a BA in Fine Arts or a Master in Fine Arts, but they will offer you the types of courses and workshops, and dramatic education that will allow you to thrive in the profession of acting.

For specific cities with acting schools in California, click the links below:

Hollywood, La Mesa, Los Angeles, San Diego

List of Acting Schools in California


321 Talent Showcase - Program opens up the world of on-camera acting to your child through confidence boosting classes, imagination, and fun!

More about the acting schools for kids at the 321 Talent Showcase


Academy of Art University - Located in San Francisco since 1929, this school offers full service acting training. Graduates can receive a associates, bachelors, or masters degree in Fine Arts. One of the most prestigious acting schools in California north of the Los Angeles area.

Check out the Academy of Art University


Act Now Network – Focuses is on INTENSIVES; multiple weeks with the same Casting Director and every actor works with a personal consultant.

Check out ACT Now!


The Acting Center – This full service acting studio offer 8 week Improv intensive classes.

Check out the The Acting Center


The Acting Corp – They offer the famous “Actor’s Boot Camp” in Los Angeles. This is a true short term acting conservatory that covers everything you need to get started.

Check here for more info on the Acting Corps


The Acting Studio @ Edgemar (Larry Moss Studio) - Michelle Danner and Larry Moss are two of the more respected acting coaches in Hollywood.

Check out the Michelle Danner & Larry Moss Acting Classes


Actors Key – The Actor’s Key offers acting classes and workshops with instructors in the entertainment industry for both young and adult actors.

More info for the Actors Key


Actors West – No monthly fees or dues. You only pay when you attend an intensive, class or workshop.

More info on Actors West


The Actors Workshop – With location in North Hollywood and Orange County, these acting workshops specialize in acting in front of the camera.

Check out The Actors Workshop


Stella Adler Academy - Stella Adler started one of the most famous acting schools in New York City over 50 years ago. For the last 25 years her conservatory in Los Angeles has been teaching acting classes for adults. Her training has produces an actors or actress using her version of the Straslovski method.

Learn more about the Stella Adler Acting Academy here


The American Academy of Dramatic Arts - AMDA or AADA is the oldest acting school in the English speaking world according to its website. Teaching some of the worlds best actors since 1884, AADA has a list of famous alumni as long as you are going to find at any other institution. Definitely one of the most famous acting schools in California and New York that you could choose to attend.

Check here for more information on The American Academy of Dramatic Arts


American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) - One of the top performing arts colleges in San Fran.

More on the American Conservatory Theatre


Art Institute of California - AIC offers students the chance to get educated in areas of design and media arts.

Check here for more information on the Art Institute of California


Beverly Hills Playhouse – This one of the most famous and well respected acting schools in California. Founder Milton Katselas is one of the all time greats. Located in Los Angeles, if you are serious about jumping in feet first, this is a great place to start.

Get more information on the Beverly Hills Playhouse here


California Institute of the Arts - The Acting Program offers a MFA and BFA in Acting, Directing and Writing. Alumni consists of Ed Harris and Don Cheadle.

More info on the California Institute of the Arts


California Film Institute - This is not a film school or acting colleges per sei. This is a place that teaches student through the use a film as opposed to the students actually making the film.

Check here for more information on the California Film Institute


Cal State Chico - More than 100 majors are split between theater majors and musical theatre majors.

Check out more info on the Cal State Chico Acting School


Cal State Fresno - AKA, Fresno State University, they offer a top notch department of Theatre Arts in Central California.

More info on Fresno State University


Cal State University Fullerton - Ranked among the top 16 most highly recommended undergraduate programs in the nation, according to the most recent Performing Arts Major’s College Guide.

Check out Cal State University Fullerton


Cal State Long Beach - Don't want to live in Los Angeles right away? Study acting at the Theatre Arts program at Long Beach State just south of LA.

Take a look at this Long Beach University program


Cal State University Los Angeles - Located in Los Angeles where the 10 and 710 meet.

Check out the Department of Theatre Arts at CSULA


Cal State Northridge - BackStage Magazine ranked CSUN as one of the top nine university programs in the nation.....

Check out Cal State University Northridge Theatre Arts


California State University Stanislaus - Stanislaus is a public university that has an enrollment of around 9000. This small size enables is them to offer the benefits typically found at a private school.

Check out the Department of Theatre Arts Stanislaus here


June Chandler’s Actors Workshop – Offers a step by step approach to building your acting career.

Check here for June Chandler Acting Courses


Terrell Clayton’s Cold Reading Classes – Becoming a popular choice in the cold reading world.

Check out the Cold Reading Classes at the Terrell Clayton Acting School


Comedy Sportz – Teaches Improv comedy classes and workshops in short form and long form improvisation. Great for actors but you don’t need to be one in order to participate.

Check out the ComedySportz page


Michelle Danner - One of the most respected acting coaches in country.

Learn more about Michelle Danner


East Los Angeles College - At around $400 per semester, ELAC is an inexpensive way to get your acting career started.

More about East Los Angeles College


The Exposure Studio – Specializes in young performers, they offer classes, photos, casting director workshops, and a celebrity mentoring program.

After further research, The Exposure Studio seems to have gotten itself in Trouble



The Groundlings – One of the most famous Improv training grounds in the world.

More about Improv Classes at The Groundlings


Margie Haber Studios – Is considered one of THE cold reading authorities in Los Angeles. Was voted “Best Audition Workshop” by Backstage! West in 2009 and her book, “How to get the Part Without Falling Apart” is one of the best book you can get your hands on.

Check out what Margie Haber has to offer


Melissa Hayden - Melissa teaches classes at the Young People's Acting Class at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

Learn more about Melissa Hayden Classes


Hollywood Film & Acting Academy – Programs range from 6 weeks to 6 months. All classes are taught by professional, working actors.

Find out more about the Hollywood Film and Acting Academy


Humboldt State University - Offers class in Arcata, CA.

Check out the Humboldt State University Theatre Program


(IFA) International Institute of Film and Acting – Offers a wide variety of acting and filmmaking courses in Los Angeles.

Check out the Internationl Institute of Film and Acting


iO West Theater ( ImporvOlympic) – With a Chicago and Los Angeles location, iO has produced so of America’s favorite comedy personalities.

Check out the Improv Class at iO West


David Kagen’s School of Film – Voted the Best Los Angeles Acting Class for film, David is one of the best.

More on David Kagen's Film Acting Class


Lesly Kahn & Company – Offer professional, advanced, intermediate, and beginner training. Her classes focus on your whole career as an actor: marketing, auditioning, the just the general ‘business of the business” so to speak.

Check out more on the Lesly Kahn Acting Classes


The Lyndon Technique – Amy Lydon is a cold reading specialist. She has written and award winning book, she has a beautiful interactive website, as well as offering classes in Studio City, CA.

Take a look at Acting Coach Amy Lyndon


Lynette McNeil Studio – Focus, philosophy, and your career is what you are going to focus on at this acting school. Lynette has worked with some of the best.

Explore Acting in Los Angeles with Lynette McNeill


Anthony Meindl Actor Workshop – Anthony is one of the most respect acting teacher in Los Angeles. Voted the Best Scene Study Class and Best Cold Reading Class by Backstage! in 2011.

Check out Anthony Meindl LA Acting Classes


Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio – Located in the heart of Hollywood, Elizabeth offers many types of acting training including courses on the Meisner Technique, scene study classes, as well as beginner acting classes.

Here is more information on the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio


Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts – Located in Central California, this is one of the acting schools in California that you wan to check out if you don’t want to study acting in the big city while you are in college. This is off the beaten path, but consider one of the tops and hasa great Acting Internship Program.

Look at the Acting Internship at Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts


Stuart Rogers Studios – Has been training actors and directors for well over a decade.

Check out Stuart Rogers Studio


San Diego State University School of Theatre, Television, and Film - Offers a full service theater, television and film program in beautiful southern California.

More on the San Diego State University School of Theatre, TV, and Film


San Francisco State University - Offers top notch theatre program in the San Fransisco Bay area.

Learn about the Drama Theater Arts at San Fransisco State University


San Jose State University - Offer students the chance to earn a BA in Theatre Arts in the San Fransisco Bay area.

Explore the San Jose State University Theatre Department


The Second City – Are you into sketch comedy? This improv institution, made famous in Chicago, has a studio in LA.

Look at the Second City Improv Classes in LA


Melissa Skoff – Melissa is a casting director and really knows what she is talking about when it comes to cold reading techniques.

Check out Melissa Skoff Cold Reading and Audition Technique


South Coast Repertory - Great place to study in Orange County. Will Ferrell among other spent some time on stage here.

More on South Coast Repertory


Gary Spatz - Gary has been teaching kids for over 25 years. He runs The Playground Young Actor's Conservatory. Appears on my list as a top acting school for kids.

See Gary Spatz and The Playground Here


Aaron Speiser Acting Studio – One of the most respected acting coaches in Los Angeles. Worked with the likes of Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez. He has a great tagline: “Study here when you are ready to DO what you came here to DO.”

Check out the Aaron Speiser Acting Studio


Stanford University - The Department of Theater Arts & Performance (TAPS) offers a great program in Northern California.

Check out Stanford University Department of TAPS


Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute - A history that goes back to the 1920’s. Alumni include future legendary acting coaches Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner.

Check Here For More Information On the Lee Strasberg Acting School


Theatre of Arts - Located in Los Angeles, they offer 2 year associates degree program, along with short term classes and a summer program.

Check out the Theatre of Arts


TVI Actors Studio - The offer many different classes and workshops in Los Angeles. They are geared toward the actors “showcase” of there talents along with teaching them how to audition. Many of their classes are taught by leading casting directors and professional actors.

More Information on the TVI Actors Studio


University of California Berkeley - UC Berkeley offers a major and minor in theater.

Check out the University of California Berkeley


University of California Davis - Offer BA, MFA, and PhD programs.

Take a look at the University of California Davis


University of California Irvine – Claire Trevor School of Arts - The Claire Trevor School of Arts is one of the most respected programs in the nation.

Check out the UC Irvine School of Arts


UCLA School of Theatre Film and Television - UCLA is one of the most famous film and acting schools in California if not the entire country. Located in Westwood, CA, its proximity to the heart of Los Angeles has long made it one of the meccas when it comes to studying acting and filmmaking.

Check Out the UCLA School of Theater


University of California Santa Barbara - Offers one of the only BFA Acting programs in the nation.

Take a look at the University of California in Santa Barbara


University of California San Diego – A top class acting school with an affiliation with the La Jolla Playhouse. If you think you won’t be distracted by the beach life, it is a great place to look into.

Check out the University of California in San Diego


University of California Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz offer a diverse Theatre Arts Program in Central California.

Check out the a little bit about the University of Santa Cruz California Theatre Program


University of San Diego - The University of San Diego offers a degree in Theatre Arts and Performance.

Check out the University of San Diego Theatre Arts


Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre – A full services Improv and sketch comedy training center.

Check out the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Improv Classes


USC School of Theater - Typically takes a backseat to its more famous film school, but it is a world class acting school.

More Information on the USC School of Theater


Doug Warhit On camera Cold Reading and Scene Study Classes – All classes are on camera, held Mon-Thurs, and are held at Castaway Studios in on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles. Doug also offers private coaching.

More on Doug Warhit


Westside Comedy Theater – Offering Improv and stud up comedy classes in a creative, fun environment.

Check out the Westside Comedy Theater


Young Actors Camp - A great alternative to your standard summer camp if you son or daughter is interested in a career in the showbiz. This 4 week programs takes the kids for beginner to production in this unique acting camp for kids. One of the very good acting schools in California for kids.

More Young Actors Camp Information


The Young Actors Studio - The Young Actors Studio is headed by Jeff Allan-Lee and has been teaching acting classes for kids for over 20 years in Los Angeles and New York.

Check Here For More Info on the Young Actors Studio


Acting Schools Guide > Acting Schools in California

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