Founded by Viennese actor/director Herbert Berghof in 1945, HB is one of the original New York acting studios. We are a nonprofit organization that supports vigorous, lifelong practice in the theater arts, based on a solid foundation of practical training. We set expectations, witness the level of commitment, and amplify the choices developing artists make for and against their own talents, balancing encouragement with demand so each may continue to stretch and grow. HB is open to any person with a serious interest in the theater and its related disciplines. Our students, faculty, and alumni form a vibrant community of actors, playwrights, and directors.
HB’s approach to training is practical and eclectic, with roots in the European classical tradition. Our instructors are practicing professionals interested in sharing their methods and insights with those seeking to begin or to expand their craft. The celebrated actress Uta Hagen joined Berghof as his partner at the Studio soon after it began and continued to lead the Studio as master teacher until her death in 2004. Hagen’s internationally celebrated books RESPECT FOR ACTING and A CHALLENGE FOR THE ACTOR are used worldwide and set the standard for the HB approach to acting.
We seek to train, engage, and support artists who are lithe; flexible; authentic—not self-interested—in their use of themselves; able to transform but also grounded and humane; capable of both power and lightness; able to play across a range of active choices; ready vessels for a spectrum of true emotions—emotions not dredged up in order to be felt, but experienced in the moment, as a consequence of fully realized events.
We strive to cultivate creative skills, not as an end in themselves, but toward a theater that gives meaningful expression to our own humanity and to the time and place in which we live. This necessarily means a theater that also allows questions and challenges to the status quo to surface.