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New School School of Drama records

 Record Group
Identifier: MA-02-02-01


The School of Drama, the dramatic arts program of The New School's College of Performing Arts, grew out of an affiliation with the Actors Studio initiated in the 1990s. This record group primarily documents student performances in the form of publicity materials, such as posters, postcards, fliers, and other print formats advertising individual productions and seasons. The record group also contains numerous clippings and printouts of online reviews.

Video documentation of performances spans 1997 through 2002, while print records cover academic years up through 2018.


  • 1997 - 2018



10.1 Cubic Feet (10 boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder (167 VHS cassettes, 124 Mini-DVs))

167 VHS Cassettes

124 minidv

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

These records document performances by students in The New School's School of Drama. This includes materials advertising productions, such as posters, postcards, and fliers. It also includes visual documentation of the performances in the form of 35mm slides of the 1997 repertory season and video recordings of performances from 1997 through 2002. Finally, the records preserve numerous news clippings and printouts of online reviews, as well as theatrical programs. Other types of records include recognition ceremony programs from commencement and "Facebooks" consisting of actor biographies accompanied by headshots.

No administrative or faculty records are present in this collection. These records also do not document the television program, Inside the Actors Studio, hosted by James Lipton. Recordings of this program will be found in The New School event recordings collection (NS.07.02.01).

Some notes on terminology:

"Colloquium" refers to classes, workshops, and interviews with theater professionals. According to Robert Hoyt, although only two years of colloquia were documented on videotape, the program continued to offer such learning opportunities. However, as the colloquia evolved to incorporate more dynamic and interactive instruction, the sessions were less conducive to video recording than the earlier, more formal presentations had been.

"Repertory" represents the public performances of drama students. The New School for Drama discontinued its old repertory season model in 2009, replacing it with two production cycles in the course of the year, one emphasizing directing and one emphasizing playwrighting. The director-driven productions, New Visions, takes place during fall semester; New Voices, the playwright-driven productions, occurs during spring semester. A title list of Repertory productions recorded on VHS and Mini-DV is available from The New School Archives upon request.

"Showcase" documents performances that primarily serve to introduce drama students to industry professionals. These recordings are not open to the general public.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use, although no access copies of the performance recordings are currently available. Researchers desiring access and willing to pay a digitization fee may do so upon consultation with The New School Archives. Access to the recordings will only be available onsite in the archives reading room. Please contact for further information.

Use Restrictions

The New School does not own the rights to the content of the recordings and cannot grant permission to use in any context.

Historical Note

The New School's School of Drama grew out of a partnership with the Actors Studio, an independent organization. While the partnership was dissolved in 2004, the reinvigoration of theater at The New School prompted the university to inaugurate The New School of Drama. As of 2018, the drama program was situated in the university's College of Performing Arts.

The Actors Studio became affiliated with The New School in 1995, when its director, James Lipton, approached university president Jonathan Fanton about coming together to launch a three-year MFA program to train actors, writers, and directors. According to the contract, the curriculum would closely adhere to the pedagogical methods of Lee Strasberg and Konstantin Stanislavski. The first class of the Actors Studio School of Dramatic Arts at The New School graduated in 1997. James Lipton served as dean of the school.

In addition to classes, the partnership included a television program, Inside the Actors Studio, hosted by Lipton. Filmed at the school’s 151 Bank Street campus, Inside the Actors Studio brought well-known actors to The New School to discuss their craft before a studio audience. Students attended the taping, for credit, as a required course.

In 2004, after a negotiation impasse, the contract between the Actors Studio and The New School was terminated. This was due in part to university president Bob Kerrey’s concerns about program governance, specifically protocols for curriculum revision and for appointing deans. By this time, James Lipton had become director emeritus. The Actors Studio moved on from The New School to Pace University, and The New School established The New School for Drama, led by interim director Robert Lupone, who soon became director of the program. [1]

Lupone substantially revised the curriculum, exposing students to a wider variety of acting techniques. Additionally, Lupone hired new staff, including Robert Hoyt, who, as director of professional development, redirected funds toward student resources. [2] In 2011, Pippin Parker became head of school, and in 2013, under the leadership of associate dean Carrie Neal, Drama added a BFA degree track. In 2015, as part of a larger university reorganization, The New School for Drama became the School of Drama within a newly established College of Performing Arts, which included Mannes School of Music and The School of Jazz. As of 2018, these programs shared a production office in the School of Drama’s Bank Street building.

While The New School had offered performing arts classes almost since its inception in 1919, the first and only formal program prior to the Actors Studio affiliation was the Dramatic Workshop at The New School, led by Erwin Piscator between 1939 and 1949. After the end of a formal relationship with the Dramatic Workshop, Maria Ley-Piscator and Dramatic Workshop alumna Judith Malina taught acting at The New School in the 1950s-1960s and the 1980s, respectively. In the 1970s, the university offered classes through the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and the Stella Adler Theatre Studio.


[1] Kolhatkar, Sheelah. 2005. "Still Deep." Accessed April 13, 2018. Drama - The New School.

[2] As conveyed to archives director Wendy Scheir in a conversation with Hoyt on August 3, 2017.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged chronologically in 3 series: 1. Posters, 2008-2018 2. Production publicity, 1997-2018 3. Video recordings, 1997-2002

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to The New School Archives and Special Collections from the School of Drama, 2017. The New School Archives received a second transfer of posters and production publicity at the end of the academic year in 2018.

Related Materials

The periodical, New School for Drama News, will be found in The New School periodicals collection (NS.05.06.01). The New School's Office of Alumni Relations published this newsletter, which contains information about Drama faculty and students, performances, and news about program graduates. Another periodical, Talking Senses: The Actors Studio MFA Program Newsletter, covering only 1997-1998, is also part of the periodicals collection.

Documentation on an earlier dramatic arts education progrogram connected with The New School will be found in The New School Publicity Office records (NS.03.01.05). The Dramatic Workshop and Studio Theatre materials cover the 1940s into the early 1950s. Additionally, Dramatic Workshop course catalogs spanning 1940-1949 will be found in The New School course catalogs and bulletins collection (NS.05.01.01).

Recordings of the television program, Inside the Actors Studio, hosted by James Lipton, will be found in The New School event recordings collection (NS.07.02.01). Contact sheets of Inside the Actors Studio guests conversing on stage with Lipton will be found in The New School Marketing and Communications records (NS.03.01.04).

Finally, a set of materials documenting the history of dramatic arts education at The New School will be found in The New School Raymond E. Fogelman Library records (NS.08.01.01).

Guide to the New School School of Drama records
Agnes Szanyi
June 18, 2018
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