Founding members Elia Kazan, Cheryl Crawford, and Robert Lewis, conceived The Actors Studio in 1947 as a unique theatre workshop where professional actors, playwrights and directors gather together to work on their craft in private. Through moderated sessions, workshops and readings, The Actors Studio offers its members a dynamic, creative atmosphere, as well as a safe haven away from commercial pressures.
In 1994, then president Paul Newman led the creation of a new, separate 3-year MFA Program that teaches the work done at The Actors Studio based upon exercises and techniques developed earlier by Lee Strasberg.
James Lipton became the academic Dean of this program. Lipton then created the seminar for the MFA students and called it Inside the Actors Studio. Ellen Burstyn, Alec Baldwin, and Al Pacino serve as Co-Presidents of The Actors Studio today.
The Actors Studio has partnered with Pace University to establish a fully accredited, tuition-based Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.
The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is the home of Inside the Actors Studio. This award-winning television series is the senior seminar for its MFA students and serves as a classroom and craft seminar designed to introduce them to some of the most renowned actors, writers, and directors in theatre, film, and television.