National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts
February 27, 2010
Finding the National Conservatory Of Dramatic Arts was an important turning point in my life. I started acting as a child but stopped at a certain point due to various life events. In 2001, I took a month long course at RADA in London. The course gave me a glimse at what going to a full time conservatory might be like.
The first time I wandered into the conservatory, it had a very good feel - it felt strangely like him. When I went for an interview, I met Nan Ficca. Talking to Nan made me think that my dream might be possible for the first time in years. My ears pricked up when she said that NCDA was modeled after conservatories in Europe. A few years earlier, I had tried to renew my love of acting by enrolling in a summer course at the The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In that month, I experienced a comprehensive approach that included working on multiple disciplines - such acting, voice, movement, text work etc. on a daily basis. This seemed to me a much more time efficient way to study acting than taking a once a week class. When I was in London, I realized that a conservatory was the right learning environment for me - I just didn't know there was one right there in my own home town!
I could write pages and pages about the hundred of little moments at the conservatory when I broke to a new understanding, did something new, or accomplished something that I did not think I could. What really sets The Conservatory apart from other acting institutions that I have experienced is that it gave me the safety net to grow. No one outside of
students and faculty views student projects until fourth semester...I think this is so key because it allows students to "try and fail,".
Another thing that sets this school apart of say, a college acting program is the amount that you actually act!!! The conservatory won't force you to take tech classes. The only non-acting stuff that is required are classes about business and auditions that will actually help you get a job - as an ACTOR! In addition to classes - if you put in the work, you will get meaty roles - over and over, so that you can grow from them.
Another great thing about the conservatory is its ART program. In this program, students are cast and directed by high caliber professional directors. This really takes students to the next level, not only artistically, but also in terms of how to conduct themselves in a professional theatre environment with a director and stage manager.
After graduating from the diploma and advanced programs at The National Conservatory, I have been paid as an actor!
I worked at The International Spy Museum's "Operation Spy". I have narrated stories to kids and helped them act them out. I even got into a fight with a very mean puppet in one women show during the 2008 Fringe festival. I would not have gotten any of these and other gigs without my conservatory training. (And if I had, I wouldn't have known what I was doing!)
Sadly, I have left Washington to be near family in Chicago. Since moving here, I have been invited to join the acting ensemble of "Evergreen Theatre Ensemble", and performed with them during the past year.
I will never forget my experience at the Conservatory - it truly was a Godsend for me. I wish I could do it again - oh, wait - I can! The Conservatory lets alumni audit classes for free, forever. (As if I wasn't home sick already...sigh) I am so thankful to my acting home and family there. I will cherish it as long as I live.
...I cannot say enough that for me NCDA was literally a Godsend...I had lost my dream for years...briefly rekindling it in London, and then finding I could pursue it in the town I grew up in...I don't know what would have become of me if I had not found it.
Trying to be
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Please see lengthy description above - but I have gotten jobs, had fun, and learned more than I could ever say.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
make the city let us park without moving our cars!
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
Following my long lost dream of becoming an actor.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Professional, supportive,talented, and kind.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Help many others...but I hope the core would not change.
Ways to make it better...
I had found out about the conservatory when I was 17, instead of when I was old as sin.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
money and space
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Client Served & student.