Born into a Jewish-American family of actors and stage directors, Stella Adler started her acting career at the age of five in her father’s theater in New York. Adler was one of few Americans to study drama with Konstantin Stanislavski in Russia.
Building up on Stanislavski’s “System”, she later developed her own acting method, taking a different approach than her colleague Lee Strasberg. According to Stella Adler, drawing on personal memories and experiences was not enough for a convincing performance on stage. Her training method strongly relied on the power of imagination.
Adler’s students were encouraged to draw on the stage atmosphere and react to the mood of the classmates for a truly effective performance. Another pillar of her method was the thorough analysis of the text, always in search of the most authentic performance possible.
Besides teaching the classic tools for budding actors, she strongly focused on self-awareness and personal development: “Growth as an actor and growth as a human being are synonymous.”