Since its founding in 1949, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting has trained thousands of actors, many of whom have gone on to important theatre and film careers. Its roots, however, go back even further, to Jacob P. Adler, one of the great actors of the American Yiddish Theatre, and also include Harold Clurman, Stella’s second husband and co-founder of the Group Theatre. In 1972, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting became the first professional actor training school to become affiliated with NYU Tisch School of the Arts. The program has continued since, leading students to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and combining academic studies at New York University with professional training at the studio. This is a four-year training program. The spirit that has animated the Adler family for more than 100 years stems from the insight that growth as an actor and growth as a human being are synonymous. The studio's mission is to create an environment with the purpose of nurturing theatre artists who value humanity, their own and others, as their first and most precious priority while providing art and education to the greater community. In addition to the world-class professional training, the studio has evolved into one of the most culturally rich environments in New York City through its cultural center programming.
The Stella Adler Studio upholds a unique focus in American actor training. Like Jacob, Stella, and Harold, the studio affirms that the primary function of theatre is to uplift humanity. A successful student for Stella is not one who becomes famous or rich, but one who connects to the deeper self and to our shared humanity. The school is a cultural center determined to train actors and support artists not despite of but in the face of a world in crisis. Programs like the Outreach Division help to create an environment for all students to become actors like Stella and those in the Group Theatre: actors who are socially and consciously aware, and whose awareness contributes to their ability to act passionately.