Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts

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Pacific Conservatory Theatre (PCPA) is a presenting and training professional residential theatre company in Santa Maria, California, offering a two-year acting and technical theatre conservatory program, operating out of Allan Hancock College.


From onstage to offstage, PCPA’s Conservatory provides specialized training for its students. The two-year vocational certificate program combines lectures, labs and classes with the practical hands-on training which students learn when mounting a fully realized production. Conservatory students are mentored by practicing professionals in the classroom.

For actors, the comprehensive curriculum offers no elective subjects. It is a full-time, six- days-a-week commitment. Classes include Acting, Voice, Movement, Musical Theatre Ensemble, Shakespeare, Theatre History, Stage Combat and more. The technical theatre students examine all aspects of production enabling them to develop as designers, craftspeople and technicians. Their areas of study include Stagecraft, Lighting, Sound, Drawing and Rendering, Costuming and Scene Painting.


PCPA offers internships for aspiring theatre professionals. The Actors Ensemble Interns perform in PCPA’s Education and Outreach Tour acting and conducting workshops for grade levels K-12 in area schools. These performance interns also have the opportunity to appear in Mainstage productions. The Technical Theatre Interns hone their skills in a broad range of areas including Stage Management, Scenic Design, Sound Design, Scenic Artist, Carpentry, Lighting, Properties, Costume Design, Costume Construction and Costuming Crafts.


Over the years, PCPA’s conservatory alumni have gone on to become distinguished theatrical professionals. Among the school’s alumni are Academy Award winners Robin Williams, Mercedes Ruehl and Kathy Bates, as well as Harry Hamlin, Kelly McGillis and three-time Tony Award-winning stage actor Boyd Gaines. Bates, who was a summer intern in summers of 1968 and 1969, fondly recalled, “We ate, drank and slept theater. It was a way to work in a real Equity (Actors' Equity Association) Theater and really learn our craft.” Zac Efron, a Disney actor also appeared as a young performer in multiple PCPA productions. The founder of Ear Wolf Podcast Network and host of Comedy Bang Bang podcast and television show Scott Aukerman is an alumnus.[1]


PCPA receives operating funds from the Allan Hancock College, an endowment, ticket revenue, and the fundraising efforts of the PCPA Foundation to secure corporate and individual donations.


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