6. Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research

Dramatic Workshop
Many Dramatic Workshop alumni went on to direct and act in successful Off-Broadway productions.

Dramatic Workshop was a drama and acting school associated with the New School for Socal Research, which later became The New School. German expatriate Erwin Piscator founded the school in 1940 with just about two dozen students. At what was then Studio Theatre, the school put on semi-professional theatrical stagings. Just a few years after opening, the school went on tour with summer productions at sites including Lake Placid. The theater school even became one of the largest theater programs in the nation after the G.I. Bill was passed, meaning many veterans took up theater following World War II. The Workshop ultimately separated from The New School in 1949, and two years later Piscator moved to West Germany, leaving his wife in control of the school.

Faculty at Dramatic Workshop included none other than Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, both pioneers in acting education. Students included Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Tennessee Williams, and Tony Curtis, among many other legendary actors and actresses. Faculty taught students a mix of acting approaches, from Stanislawski’s method acting to Piscator’s objective acting. The school also paved the way for the growth of Off-Broadway, with many alumni going on to direct and act in successful Off-Broadway productions.