Top drama schools and the stars they produced

Image source: selgomezval.blog.cz, kansascity.com, jeweell.com

 

Image source: selgomezval.blog.cz, kansascity.com, jeweell.com

Image source: selgomezval.blog.cz, kansascity.com, jeweell.com

When one fills their head with celebrity biographies as obsessively as yours truly, one quickly notices certain trends. Patterns emerge regarding the actors’ birthplace, upbringing, and even their education. In fact, we have pointed out the unexpectedly long list of Hollywood’s hidden brainiacs who graduated from some of the most prestigious universities in the world. An even easier trend to spot, however, is the drama schools that certain actors have attended.

Now, there are countless drama schools in the world, but a select number of them pop up so frequently in actors’ biographies that they are impossible to miss. In fact, some of these schools helped to mould the most celebrated names in cinema and television. No wonder aspiring theatre students salivate at the thought of gaining admission to one of these incredibly selective schools.

Michael Urie and Jessica Chastain at Juilliard Image source: s1.zetaboards.com

Michael Urie and Jessica Chastain at Juilliard
Image source: s1.zetaboards.com

It might also surprise (or make perfect sense to) you when you find out which actors honed their craft at the same school. For instance, Hollywood legends Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve were classmates at Juilliard. Williams also provided the scholarship that sponsored Jessica Chastain‘s training at Juilliard, where she was classmates with Michael Urie. Across the Atlantic pond, both Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are unsurprisingly products of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Likewise in the Southern Hemisphere, Aussie icons Cate Blanchett and Mel Gibson both trained at the National Institute of Dramatic Art.

And there’s more where that came from. Listed below are some notable alumni from each of the world’s 15 most prestigious drama schools (presented in alphabetical order).

It should also be noted that, from 1989-2016, these 15 schools produced (in the four acting categories) at the Academy Awards:

  • 55 individual nominees and winners
  • a total of 117 nominations and 20 wins
  • at least two nominees every year, with the exception of 2010 (one nominee)

Note: Some of these overachievers are also graduates of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Bristol, England, UK

Former students:

  • Charlie Cox
  • Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Stephen Dillane
  • Naomie Harris
  • Jeremy Irons
  • Theo James
  • Miranda Richardson
  • Patrick Stewart
  • Mark Strong

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama (CMU)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Former students:

  • Matt Bomer
  • Christian Borle
  • Sutton Foster
  • Ian Harding
  • Megan Hilty
  • Holly Hunter
  • Joe Manganiello
  • Ming-Na Wen
  • Zachary Quinto

Central School of Speech and Drama

London, England, UK

Former students:

  • Judi Dench
  • Christopher Eccleston
  • Martin Freeman
  • Jerome Flynn
  • Andrew Garfield
  • Kit Harington
  • Jason Isaacs
  • Graham Norton
  • Laurence Olivier
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • Rufus Sewell

Drama Centre London

London, England, UK

Former students:

  • Paul Bettany
  • Russell Brand
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Gwendoline Christie
  • Emilia Clarke
  • Frances de la Tour
  • Michael Fassbender
  • Colin Firth
  • Tom Hardy

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

London, England, UK

Former students:

  • Hayley Atwell
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Daniel Craig
  • Joseph Fiennes
  • Rhys Ifans
  • Max Irons
  • Lily James
  • Damian Lewis
  • Ewan McGregor
  • Alfred Molina
  • David Thewlis

Juilliard School – Drama Division

New York City, New York, USA

Former students:

  • Morena Baccarin
  • Christine Baranski
  • Wes Bentley
  • Jessica Chastain
  • Lynn Collins
  • Marcia Cross
  • Viola Davis
  • Adam Driver
  • Kelsey Grammar
  • William Hurt
  • Oscar Isaac
  • Val Kilmer
  • Kevin Kline
  • Laura Linney
  • Patti LuPone
  • Anthony Mackie
  • Elizabeth McGovern
  • Tim Blake Nelson
  • Lee Pace
  • Wendell Pierce
  • Sara Ramirez
  • Christopher Reeve
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Jeanne Tripplehorn
  • Alan Tudyk
  • Michael Urie
  • Benjamin Walker
  • Robin Williams
  • Finn Wittrock

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA)

London, England, UK

Former students:

  • Richard Armitage
  • Jim Broadbent
  • Sam Claflin
  • Dominic Cooper
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • James D’Arcy
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor
  • Anthony Head
  • Richard Harris
  • Rory Kinnear
  • Rose Leslie
  • David Oyelowo
  • Iwan Rheon

National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Former students:

  • Cate Blanchett
  • Toni Collette
  • Judy Davis
  • Mel Gibson
  • Alex O’Laughlin
  • Miranda Otto
  • Richard Roxburgh
  • Anna Torv
  • Claire van der Boom
  • Hugo Weaving
  • Sam Worthington

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)

London, England, UK

Former students:

  • Mark Addy
  • Gemma Arterton
  • Richard Attenborough
  • Sean Bean
  • David Bradley
  • Kenneth Branagh
  • Oona Chaplin
  • Timothy Dalton
  • Taron Egerton
  • Ralph Fiennes
  • Iain Glen
  • Ioan Gruffudd
  • Tom Hiddleston
  • Ciaran Hinds
  • Ian Holm
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • John Hurt
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Andrew Lincoln
  • Roger Moore
  • Peter O’Toole
  • Clive Owen
  • Jonathan Pryce
  • John Rhys-Davies
  • Alan Rickman
  • Fiona Shaw
  • Sebastian Shaw
  • Michael Sheen
  • Imelda Staunton
  • Timothy Spall
  • Indira Varma
  • Ben Whishaw
  • Tom Wilkinson
  • Richard Wilson

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS)
formerly the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)

Former students:

  • Billy Boyd
  • Alan Cumming
  • John Hannah
  • Sam Heughan
  • Richard Madden
  • James McAvoy
  • Ian McDiarmid
  • Colin Morgan
  • David Tennant

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD)

Cardiff, Wales, UK

Former students:

  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Eve Myles
  • Dougray Scott
  • James Sutton
  • Alexander Vlahos

Tisch School of the Arts, New York University (NYU)

New York City, New York, USA

Graduate Acting Programme‘s former students:

  • Mahershala Ali
  • Jeffrey Donovan
  • Michael C. Hall
  • Marcia Gay Harden
  • John C.McGinley
  • Debra Messing
  • Daniel Dae Kim
  • Josh Radnor
  • Taylor Schilling
  • Corey Stoll
  • Rainn Wilson

Undergraduate drama department‘s former students:

  • Skylar Astin
  • Alec Baldwin
  • Kristen Bell
  • Alexis Bledel
  • Billy Crystal
  • Alden Ehrenreich
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Felicity Huffman
  • Idina Menzel
  • Elizabeth Olsen
  • Haley Joel Osment
  • Pedro Pascal
  • Adam Sandler
  • Miles Teller

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Former students:

  • Anna Camp
  • Dane DeHaan
  • Billy Magnussen
  • Jada Pinkett-Smith
  • Missi Pyle

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Former students:

  • Dustin Clare
  • Jai Courtney
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Dominic Purcell

Yale School of Drama

New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Former students:

  • Dylan Baker
  • Angela Bassett
  • Brett Dalton
  • Frances McDormand
  • Paul Giamatti
  • Kathryn Hahn
  • Paul Newman
  • Chris Noth
  • Lupita Nyong’o
  • Liev Schreiber
  • Meryl Streep
  • John Turturro
  • Sigourney Weaver

 

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