Actor Training

A group of actors screeming and crying onstage in The Crucible

PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre, is unique in that in addition to studio work, classes, and master classes, students receive mentorship from professional artists in the studio, in classes, in one-on-one tutorials, and in the context of producing PCPA’s professional Equity productions.

Actor Training Program

At Pacific Conservatory Theatre, the student’s professional training begins right away. Acting students are immersed in the life of the conservatory, jumping right into rigorous skills training and studio work. A common working vocabulary is introduced, as well as a repeatable acting process, text analysis, basic music theory, singing techniques, and dance fundamentals. Students explore the concept of self-use in their acting, movement, and voice/speech classes. These foundational concepts will be built upon over the course of their two-year journey. Students progress in the first year by applying these basic concepts to increasingly more sophisticated material.

The training in the second year directly builds on the foundational acting tools and skills that are learned and acquired in the first year. The second-year student is introduced to more sophisticated concepts and methodologies in all disciplines: Acting, Voice and Speech, Movement, Singing, Dance, and more. The second year also focuses on audition techniques and the business side of being a marketable actor. Several industry professionals come to PCPA to to see our students work during the second year of training. The year culminates in the presentation of two fully staged productions, which are cast solely with the graduating class, and are directed by either resident or guest directors. These showcases provide an opportunity for the professional community, as well as family and friends to see the fruition of two years of rigorous and fulfilling transformation.

How To Apply

All applicants must start the audition process with a video audition.

We recommend applicants use the Acceptd platform to submit their audition video. However, if Acceptd does not work for you, please email casting@pcpa.org for other options.

We ask that applicants submit this video audition by February 1st; however, we will accept videos after that date.

If an actor is asked to attend our Acting Conservatory Callbacks, they will then be invited to go through a more detailed applications process.

Accepting Applications
October 1, 2022

Video Audition Submission Due Date:
February 1, 2023

Requirements

Actors auditioning for the two-year Actor Training Conservatory will first need to submit an audition video.

Audition videos must include:

  • 2 monologues (one classical, preferably Shakespeare; one contemporary, i.e. post-1900) totaling together no more than 3 minutes in length (approximately 60-90 seconds each).
  • 16 to 32 bars of a song. Please sing with either recorded or live accompaniment.

Dance is optional:

  • Dancers should feel free to include a 60 second dance combination; however, dance is not a required part of the video audition.

We ask that you include with your video:

  • 8 x 10 photograph (headshot) preferred; smaller is acceptable.
  • Resume detailing performance experience, education/training, and special skills.

Callbacks for the Acting Conservatory are in March.
Applicants who are invited to participate in the callback process will be given the option of a virtual online callback or an in person callback in Santa Maria, CA. If you are invited to our Acting Conservatory Callbacks in March, you will need to provide:

  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, or directors (not family).
  • Your most recent school transcripts.
  • Mission Statement: a two-page (minimum), typed, double spaced. “Mission Statement” in which you discuss your educational, professional, and personal goals and why PCPA can benefit you.
  • All material can be submitted through the Acceptd platform. If Acceptd does not work for you, please email casting@pcpa.org for other options.

You need to have a high school diploma or be at least 18 years of age to attend the conservatory. Students who have not graduated from high school may be admitted to the program if they are 18 years of age and demonstrate that they are able to benefit from the PCPA program.

Considerations

  • Pacific Conservatory Theatre is a very concentrated and dynamic program.  Actors are in the studio, rehearsal, and performance five and sometimes six days a week 9:00 am to 10:30 pm. The conservatory requires full time commitment.
  • It is challenging to maintain an outside job.
  • We are all theatre all the time. We do not offer general education classes.
  • Pacific Conservatory Theatre is a vocational program. We do not offer an associates or a bachelor’s degree.
  • Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s goal is to make sure you are ready to enter the professional world after graduation.
  • Pacific Conservatory Theatre can be part of a four-year path to a Bachelor’s degree. We have relationships with some Colleges and Universities that allow our graduates to start as Juniors if accepted into their program.
  • All PCPA students are registered full-time students of Allan Hancock College.  This means that PCPA students have access to all the resources available at the college.  This includes mental and physical health services, IT services, and food resources.
  • All students will need to cover their living expenses. PCPA can help students locate housing and roommates and Allan Hancock College has resources to help students financially.  It is ultimately the responsibility of the student to secure and pay for housing and other living expenses.

For more information please email casting@pcpa.org

Tuition and Fees

California Residents:

Actor Training tuition is approximately $1,700 per year for California residents.  Acting students are enrolled in 18 units a semester at $46 per unit.

We are very selective during the audition and interview process, and, therefore, very dedicated to the students we accept into PCPA’s two-year training programs.  PCPA has worked with Allan Hancock College to make our tuition very affordable, so our graduates can immediately go to work as professional actors and technicians without being burdened by student loan debt.

To qualify as a California State resident, students must have physically resided in the state of California for one year prior to the first day of classes and must be able to demonstrate the intent to make California their home.

Out-of-State Residents:

Actor Training tuition is approximately $12,000 per year for out-of-state students.

Out-of-state tuition is $327 per unit tuition plus $46 per unit enrollment.  Acting students are enrolled in 18 units a semester.  Students can establish California residency during their first year of training.

Additional Fees:

There are additional fees and expenses for parking permits, books and class supplies.

For more information on cost of attendance and any available tuition fee waivers please see https://www.hancockcollege.edu/fees/index.php

Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s Professional Acting and Technical Theatre programs are fully accredited career and technical education (CTE) programs of Allan Hancock College.

Financial Aid

For more detailed information regarding the cost to attend, the refund policy, and possible exceptions, please visit Allan Hancock College.

For more information about financial aid please see https://www.hancockcollege.edu/finaid/index.php

Financial aid is available through Allan Hancock College to apply contact:

  805-922-6966 x3200

  finaid@hancockcollege.edu

Contact Information

Casting Office
casting@pcpa.org
(805) 922-6966 ext. 4119

Cast of Little Mermaid on stage
Actor on stage screaming in The Wolves
Cast of Addams Family siging dressed as ghosts on stage

PCPA values excellence and professionalism in all aspects of its company and public life. Integral to this position is the demonstration of practical initiative; respectful, courteous and cooperative relationships; affirmative, efficient and ethical working practices. Successful PCPA students derive deep personal fulfillment from the exemplary completion of their work, and in the flexibility required to respond to emergent challenges and opportunities, in accomplishment of the evolving work of the theatre and its training programs. PCPA expects a strong commitment to the mission of the theatre in service to task, colleague, company and community.