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Atlantic Acting School

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History and Philosophy

The Atlantic Theater Company was founded in 1983 by the playwright David Mamet and the actor William H. Macy when they began teaching intensive workshops in Mamet's technique and philosophy of the theatre which became known as Practical Aesthetics. The Practical Aesthetics acting technique is founded on the principle that the challenge for the actor is to bring to the stage "the life of the soul," and that the purpose of every individual element of a theatrical production is to simply and truthfully tell the story of the play.

Atlantic Theater Company Acting School

Mamet's technique synthesizes the writings and ideas of such diverse sources as Stanislavsky, Freud, Aristotle, Joseph Campbell and Bruno Bettlheim.

The book, A Practical Handbook for the Actor, written by members of the Atlantic Theater Company, outlines and explains the technique of Pracitical Aesthetics. Simple, honest and straightforward, Practical Aesthetics demystifies the process of acting by giving the actor a very clear set of analytical and physical tools.

The Atlantic Theater Company Acting Program is offered through New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. This is a three-year program giving the student a concrete technique, performance experience and practical skills for the theatre.


NYU second year students perform One Acts in the fall and spring semesters in our school's 75 seat performance space. Recent productions have included Thornton Wilder's play cycle The Seven Deadly Sins, and the world premier of Signe, by Shel Silverstein

NYU's third year students perform a Shakespeare play in the fall semester. Recent productions have been As You Like It, The Winter's Tale and A midsummer Night's Dream. Spring semester performances are full-length productions and have included Blue Window, The Front Page and The Women. Third yeaar productions are performed at the Atlantic Theater, as scheduling permits.

Casting is guaranteed in both years, determined by audition.