I am a recent graduate of both the basic and advanced programs at NCDA. Their training was professional, comprehensive, tough, but nurturing at the same time. Since I've graduated, I've used their services for monologue development and other advice (all free of charge). I'm now in a professional production and am using every bit of the training I received at NCDA. It has enabled me to prepare for auditions as well as develop a character far beyond what I was able to do before I attended this program. Naturally, any program is only as good as what you're willing to put into it, but if you are serious about becoming an actor, this group will help you get there.
A nurturing environment and the freedom to take chances make the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts' actor training the most effective I have ever experienced. The work is challenging and incredibly gratifying. Opportunities to find employment and learn about the business of acting make this school truly unique. NCDA will provide the skills to anyone who is serious about become a working actor and continue to support you is so many ways even after graduation. My heartfelt thanks to the staff for the incredible hours they put in to make this school a success.
I was enrolled in the Conservatory during 2007-2008. I found it to be a professionally run, intensive, useful program that hit on all the fundamentals needed to pursue a career in acting. The audition and business classes were particularly helpful and something that was neglected at the university where I previously studied. The staff and faculty were very helpful and available, and have remained so for me since graduating. It is very much a family atmosphere, with wonderfully small classes and lots of individual attention. The camaraderie, bonding, and network during and after my time there have been really important in launching my post-Conservatory acting career.
I knew when I finished an undergraduate degree in English Lit, that I wanted to pursue a career as an actor. After several years of bouncing around between community and lower level professional theater, I realized I needed more training. Looking at the cost of most Conservatory training (often between 20&30K/year), serious training did not seem financially viable. The other option was to take financially affordable classes that would run once or twice a week, and would take several years to complete anything like a comprehensive curriculum. Neither option appealed.
At a Actors Expo in VA, I met some students from NCDA, and talked about their experiences. The school was a perfect balance of time commitment (16-18 hours of class a week; four 15 week semesters completed in 17 months) and cost. The four semesters I attended at NCDA cost about what a single semester at a Performing MFA Conservatory program would cost.
The program is completely focused on preparing performers for the professional world. In my two and half years since leaving NCDA, I have performed at the Kennedy Center, Signature Theater (winner 2009 Regional Tony), & Studio Theater. I have taken over as Executive/Artistic Director of the Baltimore Improv Group, and I'm starting rehearsals to play Hamlet.
I would never have received these opportunities had it not been for the skills I learned and support I received while at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.
There are schools with bigger names, bigger reps, and bigger price tags; but if you want to be a professional actor, this is the place for you.
My name is Tanera Hutz and I graduated from NCDA'S ART program in 2006. I have had many wonderful opportunities to perform in Washington, DC's professional theatre community since then. These opportunities were made possible by the education I received at this school. I now live in Seattle, Washington where there is a very lively theatre scene....even though I'm starting over, sort of speak, I have the confidence to jump right on in do to my experience as a professional actor and the training I recieved at NCDA....check this place out and let your adventure begin......
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. The End. Jennifer Mayberry, Chicago, IL ...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
Being a graduate of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts is something that I am truly proud of. With everything from basics of acting to business of acting, I have a solid foundation to build upon for the rest of my life!
I was student in both the certificate program and the advanced program. What a great learning experience, followed by a supportive Alumni experience.
This accredited acting conservatory (the only one in the Washington Metropolitan area) has a success rate of over 90% in placing their student actors in professional acting jobs within their 1st year of graduating!!!
The National Conservatory was the best educational choice I ever made. It boasts an excellent program of linear study, nurturing and supportive faculty and staff, and an incredibly loyal and helpful student body and alumni group. Not only was I able to finish my degree in a hyper-intensive course of study that pushed me and helped me achieve my potential, but I found true success in the field, friends for life, and memories that I will pass on to my grandchildren. The Conservatory also constantly updates and expands it's curriculum, and I have been back on more than one occasion to take seminars and classes that did not exist when I was a student FOR FREE. Thanks NCDA!