Our work is based on sense memory techniques devised by Constantin Stanislavski in the Russia of the early 1900’s. Lee Strasberg further developed these techniques for theatre and film actors in 20th Century America. Elaine Aiken, a student of Lee Strasberg, founded Actors Conservatory in 1987. She and fellow actress teacher Lily Lodge set up the school to provide a safe haven for actors to fine-tune their craft. Actors Conservatory continues to train actors in the Method tradition, encouraging use of the five senses – taste, touch, smell, sound, sight – and many variations.

With sensory awareness and behavior modification, the actor becomes a human being on stage or screen, willing to pour himself in to the special eccentricities of a character. These preliminary techniques take a while to master, leading as they do to new behavior patterns. Our actors develop the use of emotion memory techniques, making choices that are innovative and surprising.

The Teachers

Larry Preston
Larry Preston

Larry Preston is the Director of Actors Conservatory. He has been an actor on the New York stage, in film and television for more than twenty-five years. Having studied with Stella Adler at NYU, he came to the Actors Conservatory in 1989. While working with other groups with a variety of philosophies and disciplines throughout the intervening years, he made Actors Conservatory his home. He has produced and directed theatre in New York, co-founded three theatre companies, and written a full-length drama.

Marie Hanson
Marie Hanson

Marie Hanson has worked Off-Broadway, in regional theater, and in film and television. She is also a professional voice-over artist. She trained for many years at the Actors Conservatory. She holds an M.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern University and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in English and Theater Arts.

Lily Lodge
Lily Lodge
Co-founder, Retired

Lily Lodge is a graduate of Wellesley College, she trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and became a member of Actors Studio in 1955. Before joining forces with Elaine Aiken, she taught at HB Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. Ms. Lodge has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, radio and on tour. She pioneered new roles in plays and developed her own one-woman show, “Choices,” with Patricia Bosworth. She has served as Etiquette Consultant on many feature films, including Martin Scorcese’s “The Age of Innocence,” James Maugold’s “Kate and Leopold,” Mike Nichol’s “Mona Lisa Smile,” and Robert DeNiro’s “The Good Shepherd”.

Elaine Aiken
Elaine Aiken
1927 - 1998

Elaine Aiken was the Founding Director of Actors Conservatory. Elaine founded the school in order to develop fine actors through sense memory techniques. Elaine also served as the Artistic Director of Private In Public, the not-for-profit theatrical organization that operates within the Conservatory. Ms. Aiken began training with Lee Strasberg in 1952 and was made a member of the Actors Studio in 1954. After appearing on Broadway, on television, and in major motion pictures, Ms. Aiken returned to the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. She founded Actors Conservatory in 1987. Although Elaine is no longer with us, her influence is felt in everything that Actors Conservatory teaches.

Alec Baldwin

“Elaine Aiken had a generosity of spirit that enabled her to probe into each actor’s strengths and weaknesses and help them to confront that part of themselves which would open up their acting abilities. The work that was Elaine Aiken’s life is continued at Actors Conservatory by her long time associate, Lily Lodge.”

Lee Strasberg

“Acting is the most personal of crafts. The make-up of a human being – his physical, mental and emotional habits – influence his acting to a much greater extent than commonly realized.”

Tuition and Schedule

Classes are held Tuesdays 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM. $320/month.


19 Nov

Alec Baldwin

Known For: The Departed (2006, Beetlejuice (1988), 30 Rock (2006) The Hunt for Red October (1990).

18 Nov

Lili Taylor

Known For: High Fidelity (2000), Say Anything (1989), Ransom (1996), The Haunting (1999).

16 Nov

Sean Young

Known For: Blade Runner (1982), Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), No Way Out (1987), Stripes (1981).

15 Nov

Rebecca Miller

Known For: The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009), Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (2002), The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005), Proof (2005).


315 W 39th St #1206, New York, NY 10018
(212) 967-0658