Your future in the performing arts doesn’t have to be a dream. For over 50 years, AMDA has launched some of the most successful careers in theatre, film and television. AMDA creates industry professionals who don’t just wait for life to happen—they stage their own career path. Watched by the eyes of millions, our graduates take the world’s stages, film sets and movie screens, changing the way we think about art in the 21st century.
Now it’s your turn.
Success requires more than just talent. From the moment you arrive until the day you graduate, AMDA trains you to leave our doors a professional ready to work in today’s competitive industry. With over 150 opportunities to perform each year, you’ll receive world-class training while living in the beating hearts of the world’s entertainment capitals: Los Angeles and New York City.
To become the best, you’ll train with the best. You’ll receive world-class training from our faculty of successful Broadway directors, choreographers, actors, film directors, TV producers and casting agents who are still working in entertainment. Each day will immerse you in a rigorous and demanding pursuit of excellence, giving you the knowledge and skill set that will last you a lifetime. It’s time for your next role—you’re ready.
Welcome to AMDA.
Liza Minnelli and
AMDA's Artistic Director, David Martin
The History of AMDA
Celebrating more than 50 years as one of America’s premier conservatories for the performing arts, AMDA is recognized throughout the industry for its rich history and tradition of launching some of the most successful careers in theatre, film and television.
AMDA began its journey in 1964 as a musical theatre school emerging from the vibrant Manhattan arts scene. AMDA was born with a simple but powerful idea: to create a school run by professional performers, for performers. The institution quickly established itself as an integral part of the New York performing arts community, garnering early support from Broadway’s theatre elite including Sammy Davis Jr., Dina Merrill, Carol Channing, Richard Burton and renowned actress Elizabeth Taylor.
AMDA’s first director Philip Burton with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Photo by: Friedman-Abeles
AMDA soon became known throughout the performing arts world for its critically acclaimed fundraising productions, with gave tribute to such luminaries as Stephen Sondheim, Julie Styne, Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter. These shows featured numerous icons of the stage and screen, such as Angela Lansbury, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and Kevin Kline.
In those early years, AMDA’s first director, Philip Burton—the actor and instructor best known for helping launch the career of his adopted son, Richard Burton—became fast friends with David Martin, who had studied under famed actor Charles Laughton. At the time, David Martin was an actor, director and producer working in both New York and London. In the late 1970s, Burton passed the torch to David and his wife, Jan Martin, both of whom went on to produce several televised gala productions for PBS at the famed Lincoln Center. To this day, the Martins continue to serve as AMDA’s Executive and Artistic Directors.
AMDA flourished under the Martins, who developed new programs and hired some of the world’s top-performing artists as faculty. The school’s explosive growth in the 1970’s prompted a move to the historic Ansonia Building on Manhattan’s the Upper West Side. Continued success in the 1990s led to a second building near the Lincoln Center, which now serves as AMDA New York’s principal location.
In 2003, the Martins brought AMDA’s success to the golden West Coast, founding a Los Angeles campus in the Art Deco Yucca Vine Tower located in the heart of Hollywood. With this groundbreaking move, AMDA became the only Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree-granting performing arts institution with campuses in both New York and Los Angeles.
More than a century after its humble beginnings, AMDA is now a thriving, fully accredited institution, offering Professional Conservatory (New York and Los Angeles) and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees (Los Angeles) in Acting, Dance Theatre, Music Theatre and Performing Arts. Building upon decades of history, AMDA’s growth continues with the ongoing addition of new programs, facilities and resources for our prolific body of students and alumni.
Each year, more than 1,400 students engage in AMDA’s rigorous curricula, each young artist training under the guidance of our faculty of professional artists and instructors at the leading edge of their respective fields. As we look forward to the next generation of performance, AMDA remains committed to nurturing artists who have the skills and drive to launch effective, creative careers that shape the life of our local, national and global communities.
AMDA provides rigorous, performance-based training and an industry-focused education experience; one that inspires excellence and prepares artists with an appreciation for the universal power of transformation through art. AMDA’s educational philosophy is based on close collegial interaction between instructors and students — in class, in production and through active mentorship.
AMDA is committed to providing an unsurpassed performing arts education to a diverse community of creative artists. AMDA serves as both school and stage, where students are given the support and opportunity to define their own personal objectives and to develop and refine their own distinctive artistic voices.
AMDA strives to create an environment for students to develop the skills, confidence, imagination, and power to contribute to their community as artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, lifelong learners, and conscientious citizens of the world. Above all, AMDA wants to teach students that commitment and passion are the hallmarks of a successful and joyous career.
Accreditation and Affiliations
Accreditation and Approvals
Institutional and Programmatic Accreditation
New York State Approval
California State Approval
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New York Campus