A Letter from Anita Dashiell-Sparks

Dear Stella Adler Center Community,

I am both humbled and honored to serve as Artistic Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Stella Adler Center of the Arts. As a BIPOC artist, educator, director, and EDI practitioner, I firmly believe in the transformative power of art and theater that can and should be inclusive, culturally responsive, equity-minded, empathetic, compassionate, and supportive of all intersectional identities. I believe that the theater is a transformative space where “the invisible is made visible.” We are in an urgent and necessary moment and movement of foregrounding BIPOC voices and experiences that have been marginalized, silenced, dismissed, and rendered invisible for far too long. This is a necessary action and catalyst for change. I am committed to being a part of that change.

In my new role, I will help foster and nurture a culture and artistic learning environment that does not tolerate racism, white supremacy, systems of power and oppression, a colonized or euro-centric canon of literature, sexism, and other discriminatory practices.  Towards that end, a system of reporting bias, discrimination, harassment and other concerns for students, faculty, and staff will be established and implemented by Artistic Director of EDI along with subsequent follow-up and review protocols.

We want to ensure that all members of the Adler community know the power of their voice, to use it as a tool to advocate for themselves and as an ally for others without fear of retaliation. I’ve outlined several action items that I recently shared with Tom Oppenheim about how to begin and implement our EDI organizational change work. A ten-point plan will be put into action immediately. Through these concrete actions, we will do better and we hope that our students, faculty, and staff will keep each other accountable. Our collective commitment and collaboration as a community is imperative in doing this work as part of our practice.  These actions are outlined below.


Anita Dashiell-Sparks
Artistic Director of EDI, Stella Adler Center of the Arts

  1. DATA COLLECTION & TRANSPARENCY: I requested current data about the racial and gendered demographic of faculty and staff for Stella Adler Center in New York and Los Angeles. We will create an EDI database that will house this data and information that allows us to examine and assess patterns, trends, and identify gaps to strengthen the diversity of faculty and staff and individuals who hold leadership roles/positions within the organization.  The database will be accessible to Stella Adler Studio Community.
  2. RECRUITMENT & RETENTION OF DIVERSE FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS: Systematic Review of current policies and practices regarding hiring of faculty and staff, and auditioning students for conservatory programs, casting a wider net of outreach, and implementing best practices and approach of equity-mindedness in all of these processes.
  3. MANDATORY TRAINING & FACULTY DEVELOPMENT: Ongoing training, workshops, and professional development facilitated and overseen by Artistic Director of EDI and others as needed that include the following topics: Unconscious Bias, Anti-racism; anti-black racism, white privilege, white fragility, equity-minded teaching, gender identity & gender expression, sexual orientation, harassment prevention, building cultures of affirmative consent, and intimacy guidelines/protocols in theater. Stella Adler Center faculty and staff have committed to ongoing education and will be engaging this summer in a comprehensive guide that addresses several of topics listed above to help understand structures of systemic racism and to foster inclusive and culturally responsive/sensitive learning environments. All students are encouraged and invited to participate in Justice in June educational guide as well: https://justiceinjune.org/. The material covered in this guide will be discussed and unpacked in faculty/staff meetings throughout the summer and next year.
  4. CURRICULUM: A systematic review of curriculum and plays selected for productions will be done in order to diversify and decolonize the canon of literature.  Intent is that students are exposed to a wide array of stories, experiences, and perspectives to investigate, analyze, personalize, and embody within their studio work where their own identities are actively welcomed into the room and tho work, art being created. This is part of an inclusive and culturally responsive pedagogical frame and equity-minded teaching frame.  The catalogue and library of theatrical works will be diversified and regularly updated by students, faculty, and staff to reflect identities across multiple categories of experiences
  5. CASTING & REPRESENTATION: A review of current casting protocols for auditions, for productions, as well as conservatory programs will be implemented with the goal of being equitable in this process being mindful of access and opportunity of experiences for all students at Stella Adler Studio.  Best practices of inclusivity will be integrated into casting processes across various identities.
  6. REPORTING SYSTEM: A system of reporting incidents of bias, discrimination, harassment, will be created and implemented including follow-up and resolution procedures.
  7. CLIMATE SURVEY: A survey is currently being developed to assess and analyze the current climate of Stella Adler Center for faculty, staff, students, and alumni. This is another metric and tool of accountability that will happen in August 2020 and be repeated every 2 years to measure effectiveness and identify areas that still need improvement
  8. FOCUS GROUPS: Beginning in July-August 2020, Artistic Director of EDI will hold focus groups for faculty, staff, students, and alumni, in New York and Los Angeles as another metrics and top of collecting quantitative and qualitative data that will inform and shape EDI programs and initiatives moving forward.
  9. STRATEGIC PLAN: The data gathered and collected from Focus Groups and Climate Survey will be formulated and synthesized into creation of a 3-5 year EDI Strategic Plan for Stella Adler Center with specific goals to be accomplished in years 1, 3, and 5 of the plan with benchmarks and measurable objectives for accountability.
  10. ARTS JUSTICE: As the mission of the studio values and foregrounds how theater can be used as a catalyst for individual change and social justice, we are excited to explore and expand programs and initiatives for faculty, staff, and students to engage with this social justice work.
Posted in News

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Dear friends,

In a letter from the studio dated May 31, 2020 with the subject line “In Solidarity and Community”, we made a promise “not to rest until we multiply our energies to utilize theater and education to combat systemic racism.” We wrote that with full recognition that it will take work, lots of work. We are ready to do that work.

To this end we are proud to announce the engagement of Anita Dashiell-Sparks as Artistic Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Stella Adler Center for the Arts. This appointment will begin immediately.

I met Ms. Dashiell-Sparks back in 2010 when we were building the Art of Acting Studio (AOA) in Los Angeles. J. Steven White, who taught Anita at New York University’s Graduate Acting program, introduced us when I asked him for recommendations for the best teachers in Los Angeles. Anita is indeed the best.

Anita is the best not only because she’s a compelling, dynamic, charismatic teacher and director, which she absolutely is. What makes her so wonderful is her gigantic heart and her rich, ever-expanding mind. It is her heart and mind, her curiosity, her deep engagement with life, with ideas, with theater as a vehicle for art and justice, that captivated me and made me wish to collaborate with her. She emanates the mission of the Studio, was and is a living, breathing example of a person whose growth as an artist is at one with her growth as a person.

But life steered Anita in another direction to the University of Southern California where she serves as Associate Professor of Theater Practice in Acting and Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

And yet we stayed in touch throughout the years. We met last spring in LA to discuss the possibility of Anita teaching movement at AOA. Three hours later we had a plan of how Anita could contribute and share her experience as an artist, educator, EDI practitioner, and community outreach advocate to enrich the center’s  community. Anita will indeed become an Artistic Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, a post that will involve engagement on both coasts and work with students, faculty and staff.

In the weeks ahead of us, Ms. Dashiell-Sparks and the administration of both the Stella Adler Studio and the Art of Acting Studio will meet. Anita will help us map out a robust program that focuses on theater and racial justice and I’m eager to take this journey too. We will reach back out to the community with a specific plan and look forward to engaging all staff, faculty and students in this work.

Twenty five years ago when I became the Artistic Director of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting I relinquished dogmatism with a question: “what does it mean to be the Stella Adler Adler Studio today”? It’s a question I ask myself everyday. I asked this question on May 25, 2020. I ask this question with a prayer. I ask this question as a prayer. I pray for the Stella Adler Studio of Acting to be forever dynamic, radically new and ever self-renewing and always to serve humanity…

I am so pleased to welcome Anita Dashiell-Sparks in her new position and I look forward to introducing her to you.

Most sincerely,


Tom Oppenheim
Artistic Director

Posted in News


COVID-19 Update: The Studio is mission driven to provide an environment that values humanity above all else. In these pandemic times, that means taking the best of advice of local authorities toward community health and safety. Los Angeles County continues to shelter-in and the studio has decided to move all summer programs to Zoom. Online summer programs allow us to offer actors a chance to train with world-class faculty while observing important social distancing measures.

Courses that are now offered online can be taken no matter where you are in the world. Here is a list of courses now being offered online:

  1. Summer Conservatory
  2. Film & Television Intensive

Posted in Uncategorized

Studio Launches In-Progress Programs via Remote Video Platforms; Announces Summer Program Start Date July 6

New York, NY: On Monday the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and its West coast branch the Art of Acting studio launched in-progress conservatory programs via remote video learning software. Studio leadership spent the last week training faculty on remote video platforms. The studio also announced that its summer programs will begin on July 6, 2020.

Said Artistic Director Tom Oppenheim, “Despite the challenges all around us, I am deeply encouraged about the meaningful work that faculty and students are engaged in via video instruction. I’m further encouraged when I reckon what it means to be an actor, a theater artist. I also draw inspiration from our ancestors, and most especially from Harold Clurman. Right now artists are confronted with the limitations of a global pandemic, but they still have something to say. At this moment video conferencing is the window, the doorway, the corridor through which theater artists and students can make their art.”

The studio also announced plans for summer programs to begin on Monday, July 6, 2020. Summer programs were previously scheduled to begin on June 1. The delayed start date is offered in an effort to offer actors a chance to pursue their summer training plans while observing the important social distancing measures advised by the authorities. Details are available on the studio’s website. Visit https://stellaadler.com/classes/summer/ for New York programs. Visit http://ail.fux.mybluehost.me/artofactingstudio/classes/summer-programs/ for Los Angeles programs.

The Summer Conservatory, previously a 10-week, 22 hour per week program starting on June 1, will now be a 6 Week program, with 32 hour per week total hours, running from July 6 – August 14, 2020. The total class hours under the revised model will be 192 (previously 220), and therefore the tuition will be adjusted to $3300 (from $3800). Details follow.

Summer Conservatory
Dates: July 6 – August 14, 2020
Tuition: $3300

6 weeks, 32 hours per week
Weekly classes/hours per class:
Scene Study, 6 hours
Acting Technique, 6 hours
Improvisation, 2 hours
Voice and Speech, 4 hours
Movement Techniques, 3 hours
Shakespeare, 3 hours
Ensemble, 3 hours
Acting for Film and Television, 4 hours
Practicum, 1 hour

Here are other changes being made to the summer programming:
1. The Chekhov Intensive, Black Arts Intensive, Film & Television Acting Intensive and all summer Teen Programs will continue as scheduled, to begin July 6.
2. The Musical Theater Intensive will be delayed until July 6th and will run through August 14th, 2020.
3. The Self-Generated Theater Intensive will be delayed until July 6th and will run through August 7th, 2020.
4. The Shakespeare Intensive has been postponed until the summer of 2021. It will not be conducted in 2020.

Posted in Uncategorized

UPDATE: On-site Activities Suspended at Art of Acting Studio

Out of an abundance of caution the Art of Acting Studio is joining a number of cultural institutions in a temporary suspension of programming while the authorities work to contain the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19. Classes slated for Thursday, March 12-Sunday, March 15 are cancelled and the facility will be closed. The week of March 16-22 is Spring Break and the facility will not be open to the public. In this interim period, staff is working diligently to transition classes to a temporary online video platform. The week of March 23-27 classes and rehearsals will be given via online video platform. After that we will make decisions based on the council of authorities. Please check here for the latest updates or contact us at classes@stellaadler.com.

Posted in Uncategorized

Staying Healthy at Art of Acting Studio

Dear Community Members,

The studio takes everyone’s health seriously. We wanted to reach out now with respect to the Coronavirus. While chances of getting the virus are low, we believe that keeping informed and taking precautions are a good idea right now.


If you are seeking more information, here are three sources:

CDC guidelines on prevention:

Los Angeles County Department of Health:

World Health Organization:


The CDC provides thorough guidelines, some of which are included here:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

I want to emphasize hand washing with some frequency. As an additional measure, the studio will provide more hand sanitizer throughout the facility.  We will also clean high touch surfaces like doorknobs and faucet handles with special care and increased frequency.

If the need to communicate further on this arises, we will be in touch. In the meantime, please stay calm and take care.


Tom Oppenheim
Artistic Director

Posted in Uncategorized


October 28, 2019

New York, NY – The renowned acting conservatory, founded by Stella Adler, has swapped its historic 27th Street home for a sleek new space near Wall Street in the midst of rebranding itself as a center for social justice and the humanities in New York City. Playbill recently visited the studio’s new space at 65 Broadway. Check out this great photo essay from their visit: http://www.playbill.com/article/look-inside-stella-adler-studios-brand-new-downtown-home

The studio celebrates a new home in its 70th anniversary year. Be a part of this milestone year by making a gift today. Donors of $1000+ will be thanked on the Guardians of Humanity wall in the main reception area. Donors of any size will make a valuable contribution to the studio’s programming in its anniversary year. All contributors will receive an invitation to the grand re-opening event this fall. Click here to make a one time donation or click here to make a monthly recurring gift. Donations are 100% tax-deductible. Please join us as we celebrate the chance to serve the next generation of artists and audiences in the studio’s new space. Thank you so much for your many contributions to the studio. We couldn’t do it without you!

Posted in Featured, News

HCLAB opens King Lear 7/18/2019!

Starring AoA’s very own H. Richard Greene and directed by Nike Doukas!

King Lear runs July 18 – August 3rd, 2019. Tickets available here: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1013907

Posted in Featured, News

Turn of the Screw Ovation Recommended!

The Harold Clurman Lab Theater is proud to announce that its latest production in LA, The Turn of the Screw, was Ovation Recommended. That measn it scored in the top 95% in Production Score during its run! Congratulations to the cast and crew.

Posted in Uncategorized

HCLAB Presents “Turn of the Screw”

Turn of the Screw

Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the story by Henry James
Directed by Don K. Williams

Henry James’ classic ghost story tells the tale of a young governess just before the
turn of the last century who is tasked with the care of two rather peculiar children at a
country estate in England. The governess comes to believe the children are possessed
by the previous groundskeeper and governess who have since died. Sean Spann and
Emily Sulzberger play 10 roles in Jeffrey Hatcher’s brilliant adaptation. Presented
by the Harold Clurman Laboratory Theatre Company.

DATES: September 29 – October 31

TIMES: Opens – Saturday 9/29 at 8pm
Regular – Sunday 9/30 at 7pm; Friday 10/5, Saturday 10/6, Monday 10/8 and
Friday 10/12 at 8pm; Saturday 10/13 at 7pm; Saturday 10/20 at 8pm; Sunday 10/21
at 7pm; Saturday 10/27 at 8pm; Sunday 10/28 at 7pm; Wednesday 10/31 at 8pm

ADMISSION: $20 in advance | All seats Pay What You Can 30 minutes prior to curtain.

TICKET INFO: Purchase online at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/999287 or call (323) 601-5310.

Posted in Featured, News


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