The Actor Experience

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Since its founding, the Drama Division has engaged undergraduate and post-undergraduate students side by side. We have found that what makes an aspiring artist ready for training cannot be predicted by age or experience. What counts here is bravery, imagination, self- discipline, curiosity, passion for the work, and the willingness not to know.

We are committed to diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our training and to insuring that our work is created in an atmosphere of mutual respect where everyone can flourish and reach their artistic and personal potential.

Our diverse student body is one of our richest assets, providing a vibrant, productive, dynamic environment for every student.

We value inter-disciplinary collaboration, and our students regularly seek out opportunities to work with extraordinary artists from the other divisions at Juilliard.

There is also a strong ethos of community service at The Juilliard School. Along with students in the Dance and Music divisions, actors and playwrights regularly use their art to reach out to under-served communities.

Nurturing the Whole Artist

In your four years studying at Juilliard, you will develop your technique, artistry, and humanity.

We are deeply committed to your growth as a person as well as an actor. Indeed, we believe you cannot grow as an artist without becoming more fully alive and aware as an individual. Through your work here, you will develop not only your physical and vocal instrument but also your artistic and personal points of view. We hope you will also cultivate an awareness of the tradition to which you aspire to belong, and develop a sense of responsibility to our art and community.

Year by Year

While we offer you below a brief summary of the actor experience at Juilliard, we believe you are on a life-long journey, one that started before drama school and will continue long after graduation.

We often refer to the first year as the Discovery Year, a year to discover where you are in your work and where you might go. In every discipline, you begin to acquire tools and practice techniques that will strengthen and deepen the instincts you already have and open up new channels of awareness, expression, and imagination. With your partners in class, and with your entire cohort in rehearsal projects, you will discover how it’s possible to create and reveal things together that you could never accomplish or imagine on your own.

In the second year, you will begin to apply further the skills you are learning in class and start to experience individual aspects of the work not as something separate from each other but as different facets of the same craft of acting. You will find that technique serves the imagination and that bolder imaginative choices demand greater skills. Through a series of rehearsal projects, including work on American drama, Shakespeare, and Chekhov, you will find that as you grow as an individual, your ability to contribute meaningfully within the ensemble also deepens.

In the third year, you continue to expand your expressive capacity and integrate all you have learned. Production elements are introduced to your performance opportunities which are now open to the public. You also begin to apply your work as an actor to the medium of film.

The fourth year, in addition to continuing to advance your growth as an actor, serves as a bridge to the profession. You rehearse and perform in workshops, readings, and main stage productions. You learn and practice audition techniques for stage, film, and television with New York casting directors, and learn about the industry from agents, managers, and other theater professionals.

Immediately following the closing performance of the season, 4th-year actors go on a three-day silent retreat. This is a time for reflection on your individual and collective journeys and for renewal of purpose as you prepare to move out into the profession and the world.

Working with Playwrights

Actors in the Drama Division have multiple opportunities over their time at the School to work with playwriting fellows and alumni from our Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. Under the direction of Tanya Barfield and David Lindsay-Abaire, the program offers, through Play Labs, staged readings, and workshop productions, dynamic opportunities for actors and writers to work together in bringing to life vibrant new work. Many of the collaborations begun in the Division continue to flourish long after graduation.

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