11. National Shakespeare Conservatory

National Shakespeare Conservatory
The National Shakespeare Conservatory closed in 1998.

The National Shakespeare Conservatory was an acting school near Hell’s Kitchen that offered two-year certificate programs and summer training. The conservatory was an offshoot of the National Shakespeare Company and began in 1974 at Woodstock’s Byrdcliffe Theatre. The Conservatory expanded to New York City in 1977 on West 51 Street near 9th Avenue. It was founded by Philip Meister, Albert Schoemann, and Mario Siletti, and it broke from the National Shakespeare Company in 1982 before moving to lower Broadway.

The Conservatory emphasized classical plays alongside contemporary acting techniques. Courses ranged from scene study to improvisation to Shakespeare, and second-year students were required to put on a one-person show and an Off-Off-Broadway showcase. Teachers at the Conservatory would go on to teach at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. Ultimately, the school closed in 1998 after being terminated from participating in the federal student financial assistance program.