Mission: 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.
Results: 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
Programs: We offer two programs of study. A 4 semester Diploma in acting, and a 2 semester Advanced repertory company.
I am a faculty member of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, as well as a local actor and playwright. I think NCDA does an excellent job of recruiting faculty members, senior faculty members and guest artists (directors, playwrights, etc.) who provide their students with a wide range of expertise and experience in the field of theater. By employing such a diverse group of talented instructors, the Conservatory enables its students to build a robust, practical toolkit of acting techniques and experiences as they pursue their career dreams. By only employing instructors who are actively involved in the local theater scene, the Conservatory helps its students prepare themselves for the realities of acting as a career, and start to forge a professional network for themselves that they can build upon after graduation. The fact that the Conservatory is accredited – a professional hallmark which it rigidly enforces and protects – enables many students to obtain the financial aid they would not otherwise have access to as they pursue their education. NCDA is the only accredited acting studio in the Greater Washington Metro Area. I have had the pleasure of performing onstage with former NCDA students who have gone on to rewarding careers in the theater; and, speaking personally, my being on the faculty roster at NCDA has opened numerous doors to other professional teaching opportunities, including serving as an instructor at the Actors’ Center, the Writer’s Center, Imagination Stage and the Educational Theater Company, among others.