drama school

Definition

Theater

  • Courses provided by a theater, academy, university, etc., totrain actors, directors, and those involved in other areas of stagecraft.Until specialist schools began to be founded in the 18th century,virtually all training came from actual theatrical experience. Oneof the first great drama schools was the école de Déclamation,established in 1786 in Paris, and subsequently renamed the ConservatoireNational d'Art Dramatique. The Conservatoire has had strong ties withthe Comédie-Française for more than 200 years.Famous graduates include Rachel and Sarah Bernhardt.

    Britain's first drama school, the London Academy of Musicand Dramatic Art (LAMDA), now in Cromwell Road with its own theater,was founded in 1861 by T. H. Yorke-Trotter. The Royal Academy of DramaticArt (see RADA) was established in 1904 by BeerbohmTree in his theater, His Majesty's; it is now in Gower Street.The Central School of Speech and Drama was opened two years laterby the actress Elsie Fogerty (1866 - 1945) at the Royal AlbertHall (it subsequently moved to the Embassy Theatre in Hampstead).

    The American Academy of Dramatic Arts was foundedin 1884 in New York by Steele MacKaye, Franklin Sargent,and others as the Lyceum Theatre School of Acting. Today it is associatedwith the State University of New York. Michael Chekhov, who had workedwith Stanislavsky at the Moscow Art Theatre, openeda noted acting school in New York in 1938. Stanislavsky's principleswere also the inspiration for Lee Strasberg's Actors' Studio,which became the main training centre for the techniques of Methodacting in the 1950s.

    In Russia most major theaters have acting schools. The LunacharskyState Institute of Theatrical Art (GITIS) was founded in 1878 andnamed in 1934 for the playwright and Soviet official Anatoli Lunacharsky.It has supplied many actors to the Moscow Art Theatre.

    The Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh becamethe first US university to offer courses for actors and directorsin 1914. In Britain the first university to provide such a coursewas Bristol in 1946 (with Manchester, Hull, and Birmingham followingin the early 1960s).

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