The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts (NYCDA) is a professional acting training conservatory in New York City for actors focusing on acting for film, television and theater. Originally conceived for the purpose of training actors for television commercials, it has evolved into an AOS degree-granting institution that offers a two-year curriculum as well as an optional third year for theater training.

NYCDA is an institutionally accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).


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Actors in Advertising, which grew into the School for Film and Television (SFT) and later became The New York Conservatory for Dramatic arts was founded in 1980 by Joan See. She also founded Three of Us Studios, a successful casting facility. She is the author of Acting in Commercials: A Guide to Auditioning and Performing On-Camera. See began her acting career more than 50 years ago and has appeared in more than 300 commercials. She has worked with many actors, including Julia Roberts, Paul Newman and Eva Gabor. Other credits include professional theatre productions on and Off Broadway and daytime drama. See served as Vice President of the Screen Actors Guild New York City.

The conservatory advertises practical, relevant, and rigorous arts education and aspires to liberate talent through craft, preparing actors to succeed in today’s professional world of acting. 1996 saw the accreditation of NYCDA by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), and in 2013 the institution began granting 2-year AOS degrees.

Today, NYCDA is an institution dedicated to excellence, innovation, and artistic expression. NYCDA utilizes the Meisner technique of acting as its core technique. Notable alumni have included Miles Teller, Vicky Jeudy, Manish Dayal, Matthew Fox and Lauren Graham.


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NYCDA’s campus is located in Manhattan’s historic Chelsea/Flatiron district. The Conservatory’s administrative offices comprise half of the second floor of the building, with the other half devoted to studio classrooms. The third floor houses two camera studios, two multi-purpose studios, three movement/dance studios, the NYCDA library and a student lounge. The twelfth floor is home to a professional casting facility and two additional NYCDA camera studios. These studios provide facilities that familiarize students with the process of being on a live set and how to act in front of a camera.


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NYCDA housing is located at 81 E. 3rd Street, New York, NY 10003 in Manhattan’s East Village, a 20-minute walk to campus and in NYC’s creative and urban independent fashion shops, coffee shops and theaters.


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NYCDA’s curriculum is grounded in the Meisner technique, pioneered by American master Sanford Meisner.

  • Professional Training Program: This associate degree program provides and develops skills on how to expand your basic technique to transcend the limits of the stage, teaches you the discipline and patience necessary to meet the challenges of the industry and delivers a step-by-step approach to the technique and discipline of the camera actor in all media (including film, episodic TV, daytime drama, sitcoms, commercials and voice-overs).
  • Post AOS degree, graduates can pursue NYCDA’s Theater Certificate Program. Both programs boast discovery as an actor and tools to expand knowledge, and refine the craft.
  • The Summer In The City Program is an intensive program that covers performance for television, film and theater. This is a rigorous four-week program that explores acting techniques, camera performance skills, commercial basics, film and TV basics, improvisation and more.

Notable Alumni

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Among the leading role actors is Matthew Fox, star of Lost and Lauren Graham, star of Gilmore Girls and supporting roles in Dreamgirls and American Gangster. Other notable alumni include:

  • Vicky Jeudy, Bottom Feeder (2006), Living Peterson(2009), Orange Is the New Black (2013â€"Present), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2014), Romeo and Juliet in Harlem (2014)
  • Ser'Darius Blain, Meet the Browns (2010), Footloose (2011), Jane by Design (2012), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), When the Game Stands Tall (2014)
  • Miles Teller, That awkward moment, rabbit hole, two night stand, Footloose (2011), Whiplash (2014), Fantastic Four (2015)
  • Ryan Dorsey, Southland (2013), You're the Worst (2014), Parks and Rec, The Mentalist (2014), Justified (2015)
  • Kimberley Drummond, Homeland, Xmas wedding baby, The Vampire Diaries (2011-2012), Army Wives (2013), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Sleepy Hollow (2014), The Red Road (2015)
  • Manish Dayal, The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2011), 90210 (2011-2012), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2014), The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
  • Aaron Scotti, Scandal, The Situation (2012), Grey's Anatomy (2013), Togetherness (2015)
  • Andhy Mendez, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods (2011), Gossip Girl (2012), Orange Is the New Black (2014),
  • Reid Ewing, Good Luck Charlie (2011), Fright Night (2011), Newsreaders (2013), Modern Family (2009-2015), Temps (2015)
  • Zulay Henao, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2007), Grizzly Park (2008), Takers (2010), Hostel III (2011), The Vanessa Del Rio Story (2015)
  • Shelley Hennig, Secret Circle, Unfriended Days of Our Lives (2007-2011), Justified (2013), Teen Wolf (2014â€"Present), Ouija (2014), Scout (2015)
  • Lizette Santana Mamnoh Lov (2008), Dos veces Ana (2010)
  • Josh Sussman, My Crazy Life (2005), Drake & Josh (2007), What About Brian (2007), Warren the Ape (2010), Ben and Burman (2011), R.I.P.D. (2013), Glee (2009-2014), Pub Quiz (2015)
  • Alice St. Clair, Sarah’s Key (2010), William and Catherine: A Royal Romance (2011), Before I Sleep (2013), The Crimson Field (2014)
  • David Del Rio, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2008), The Troop (2009-2011), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2011), Pitch Perfect (2012), Spare Parts (2015)
  • Matthew Fox, My Boyfriend's Back (1993), MADtv (1995), Party of Five (1994-2000), Haunted (2002), We Are Marshall (2006), Lost (2004-2010), World War Z (2013), Extinction (2015) Speed Racer
  • Emma Bell, Ghost Whisperer (2009), Supernatural (2009), Final Destination 5 (2011), Arrow (2012), The Walking Dead (2010-2012), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (204-2014), Dallas (2013-2014)
  • Ashlynn Yennie, The Human Centipede (2009), The Human Centipede II (2011), True Blood (2013), The Divorce Party (2014), The Ghost and the Whale (2015)
  • Carolina Ravassa, Step Up 3D (2010), Follow the Leader (2011), Max Payne 3 (Video Game 2012), The Re-Gift (2014), The Affair (2014)
  • Lauren Graham, Townies (1996), 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996), Law & Order (1997), Conrad Bloom (1998), M.Y.O.B. (2000), Bad Santa (2003), Gilmore Girls (2000â€"2007), A Merry Friggin' Christmas (2014)
  • Brandon Wellington, host of the New York Mets, Fox Sports NBA Greatness, America in 4 Minutes-Kinetic Typography (spoken Word), #Strive for Greatness â€" NBA Playoffs (spoken word)
  • Nils Lawton, HAPPYish (2015), Eye Candy (2015), Law & Order: SVU (2014)

Notable Faculty

  • Richard Omar - New York theater credits include Dracula in Dance with Me, Harker (New York International Fringe Festival), Rick in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s The First Day, Wes in the NYC premiere of Beth Henley’s Lost (Theatre 4), among others. As a ballroom dancer, he appeared on film with Leslie Caron, Patrick Stewart and Jennifer Beals. He has taught at the New Actors Workshop for Mike Nichols and George Morrison, at SUNY Purchase and at Hofstra University.
  • Jay R. Goldenberg - Coached and acted in projects such as Say Anything with John Cusack and Ione Skye, the miniseries Elvis and Me, the TV series Moonlighting with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd and the daytime drama General Hospital. Some of his private clients have included Salma Hayek, Cybill Shepherd, Alicia Silverstone, Estelle Getty, Michael Chiklis, Charles Kimbrough, Beth Howland, Ione Skye, Mary Wilson, Eric Close, Allyce Beasley, Trevor St. John and Nicolette Sheridan.
  • Alan Rackham - Wrote and directed two short films, both of which have been shown at film festivals all over the world and have won him directing awards. Alan is currently in post-production on Chicken, a short film that serves as the thesis component of his master’s of fine arts degree from NYU.
  • Amy Marcs - Appeared at many regional theaters across the country. Most recently she was seen as Gorgeous Teitelbaum in The School House Theater’s production of The Sisters Rosensweig. Other credits include featured roles in Gemini, Kingdom of Earth, The Star Spangled Girl and And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little.
  • Becky London - Television credits include Blue Bloods, Law & Orders Third Watch, Quantum Leap, Guiding Light and All MyChildren. Films include United 93, Changing Lanes, El Camino,Never Forever and A Very Serious Person. Becky has worked on Broadway in Marlene and at Lincoln Center in Ubu. Becky was a founding member of UNYYC, the Unofficial New York Yale Cabaret.
  • Judith Searcy - Written, directed and performed sketch comedy and improvisation for over 20 years in NYC and nationally in a variety of venues, including live and video projects for American Express, ESPN, Mercedes, British Airways and many others. She was a principal member of Chicago City Limits, played the title role in the award winning comedy short Marge and has been featured on PBS, CBS, NBC’s Today show, NPR and Comedy Central.
  • Maury Ginsberg - Most recent work includes the feature film Greta, starring opposite Hilary Duff and Ellen Burstyn, as well as Richard Loncraine’s My One and Only, starring Renée Zellweger and Kevin Bacon. Other films include 2007’s Sundance winner Rocket Science, directed by Academy Award nominee Jeffrey Blitz, David Auburn’s The Girl in the Park with Sigourney Weaver, David Mamet’s Lansky with Richard Dreyfuss and DreamWorks’ The Ring with Naomi Watts. Television includes recurring work on Law & Order, Friends and Two Guys and a Girl. Guest leads include Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, among others. His theater credits include a 20-year working relationship Olympia Dukakis.
  • Neal Lerner - Television guest appearances include Shake it Up, Lipstick Jungle, Reba, The War at Home, Ed, Frasier, all the Law & Orders, Ally McBeal, Seinfeld, Caroline in the City, NewsRadio, Married with Children, Murphy Brown, Cheers and a recurring role on All My Children. Film credits include My Idiot Brother (2011), Boiler Room, Batman Returns and Demolition Man. He performed Off Broadway in Stuff Happens (directed by Daniel Sullivan at the Public Theater), Julius Caesar (New York Shakespeare Festival), and Carol Churchill’s Serious Money (Public Theater).
  • Rawleigh Moreland - Theater credits include The Gingerbread House and Last Trace of the Dinosaurs (Playwrights Horizons), A Family of Five (Theatre for a New Audience) and Birdbath (West Side Arts). Film and television credits include New York Stories, Mighty Aphrodite, Wolf, Another World, The Equalizer, Texas and Law & Order, to name a few. He has produced a SAG feature film for Suncrest Cinema. Rawleigh also works as a producer/director and session director for Stark Naked Productions and Dreamcatcher Casting.
  • Ruth Nerken - Guest starred on Law & Order, Kate & Allie and Too Close for Comfort. She’s performed Off Broadway, in regional theatre and in the national touring company of Grease as Frenchy. Ruth also has appeared in over 200 television commercials. She has been a guest speaker at AFTRA, SAG and Yale University.
  • Sara Buffamanti - An International performer who has worked in Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Germany, Italy and Scotland. In New York City she has worked with The LITE Group, Vortex Theater Company and Target Margin Theater. Sara is the creator and solo performer of Eleanor alla Barre, a one-woman clown piece.
  • Steve Perlmutter - Performed at regional theatres throughout the country, including Philadelphia's famed Walnut Street Theatre. He has appeared in numerous radio and television commercials for products such as Nestea, Jell-O, Volvo, Norwest Bank, Bell South, Tony Roma's restaurants, and Staples. In addition to NYCDA, Steve currently teaches at Rutgers University and NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies.


External links

  • Official New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts website
  • Acting-tips.com: Acting Tips

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