How to Open an Acting School

There are many professional acting schools in the U.S. and around the world. An acting school can be a large venture with a full staff of faculty members, or it can be a more intimate studio environment with a renowned teacher. Acting schools can offer students intense training in their chosen field. Students choose an acting school based on the school's reputation, as well as their desire to work in a hands-on learning environment. If you want to open an acting school, there are a number of things you will want to consider.

Create a business plan. You will need to consider what type of budget you will need. It will need to address issues such as start up and operational costs. You might find that you will need to obtain a loan while you are working to establish your school and enroll more students. You should also consider whether you want to apply for non-profit status. Keep in mind that there are numerous requirements for becoming a non-profit, but there are also a number of advantages, such as tax exemption and access to grant funding. For example, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Find a location. Rent, or buy a studio or small building. If your school will be teaching a large number of students, consider leasing a property that offers you the room and other amenities necessary to accommodate your faculty and students. You should also take into account the need to purchase supplies, furniture, props, costumes or other equipment.

Hire acting coaches with strong resumes that will help lend your school credibility. You want to recruit instructors who can bring out the best in a student, regardless of the experience level the student already possesses.

Advertise your school in industry publications, online, and anywhere else you can reach potential students. Distinguish your school from other schools by highlighting faculty accomplishments, or outline what type of training and benefits students receive from attending your school. Describe the programs you offer. For example, if you have a summer workshop series, or an intensive twelve-week program for learning “method acting,” make sure to highlight these details in any advertisements, brochures, and on your website.

Consider meeting the requirements to qualify your school for government funding. For instance, if you are opening a school in the U.S., there are a number student aid programs offered through the Federal Student Aid Program, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, that your students would be able to apply for. This could in turn help your school grow in enrollment, since many students who might want to attend your school would now be able of afford the cost of tuition, fees, room and board that they otherwise might not have been able to pay. You need to make sure to check with the Department of Education to find out what your institution needs to do in order to qualify for Pell or Stafford funding.