National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts

Rating: 4.84 stars   37 reviews


1556 Wisconsin Ave Nw Washington DC 20007 USA


The founders of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts realized the need in 1975 for a quality program in the Washington area, which would allow students to train for careers in the performing arts.  Prior to the establishment of the Conservatory students wishing to train as actors were compelled to move to either New York or California to attend Conservatories in those states.  The performing arts in the Washington area have enjoyed enormous growth over the past ten years, increasing the demand for professionally trained actors.  The National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts remains the only full-time, accredited acting program in the area.  Prospective students must demonstrate their readiness for training through a formal admissions process including both interview and audition.  Student Actors admitted to the Conservatory Program spend four consecutive semesters training twenty hours per week in voice, speech, acting, stage movement, stage combat, theatre history and rehearsal labs.  Students who have demonstrated professionalism and promise move on after the Conservatory Program to be members of Actor’s Repertory Theatre (ART) and spend an additional two semesters as members of the ensemble perfecting their craft in a professional company atmosphere, and appear in three full productions which are open to the public and invited members of the Washington theatre and performing arts community.


We have graduated 700 students, and our actors are on stages and screens in LA, NY, DC, Chicago, and all over the country.

Target demographics:

All ages and races who are looking to start a career or 2nd career as a professional actor.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

30 students


We offer two programs of study. A 4 semester Diploma in acting, and a 2 semester Advanced repertory company.

2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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(202) 333-2202

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Reviews for National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts

Rating: 4 stars  

I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful organization. NCDA is offering great programming for its students and has changed their program to reflect the changing needs of Actor Training.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

By having the opportunity to work with the students in the classroom setting as a Casting Director and then observing them in Conservatory based programs.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the profile and respect of the Conservatory.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?


How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?


When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


How did you learn about this organization?

As a Casting Director I was familiar with Actors studying there by seeing it on their resume. Over the years the school and actors have asked to attend showcases and readings. However I became more familiar through my role as a Board Member.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Increase Board involvement by leveraging the assets of the group.

What is its top priority in the long run?

More positive publicity about the program to attract a bigger and better student base. This could be achieved by published articles. A simple way to attract articles would be to create a Master Class series that includes Actors of note which would in turn be newsworthy.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I had attended a few low-cost performances at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts but was not familiar with the school until my oldest son decided he wanted to become an actor. I was very hesitant at his decision to enter a field that I thought was risky and difficult. He auditioned and was accepted at NCDA and completed their regular program as well as their advanced program (ART). The support and guidance he received, along with the excellent education at the Conservatory, changed my views on his beloved profession. He is now an equity actor, and he could not have achieved this without the mission of NCDA. Arts are often at the bottom of the "needs" list for financial support, however, yet the arts also make our lives richer and more satisfying. A little school that turns out wonderfully trained actors is one that should not be ignored. Their products benefit us all! I became such a fan I ended up serving on their board of directors!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

observing my son graduate from their program as well as attending a number of the free performances offered by the Conservatory featuring student work.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

observing the dedication they have to their students, which continues even after graduation, as well as their efforts to be one of the few accredited acting conservatories in the region.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

a lean group with a big job -- it is impressive what they do with so little. I like to think what they could do if they had just a little more financial support to work with!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

supply the mid-atlantic with many well-trained, solid, professional working actors who could work in all kinds of areas: events, theatre, film, commercial, industrial, and so forth. Actors are an important part of our culture's communication!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


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