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Two-Year Conservatory Training in Acting and in Technical Theatre 


PCPA Pacific Conservatory Theatre is an acclaimed two-year concentrated vocational training program located in Santa Maria on the Central Coast of California.  PCPA conservatory students train as members of a professional company mentored by professional artists with a passion to teach. 

Please click here for a video about our two-year Acting Conservatory.
Please click 
here for a video about our two-year Technical Theatre Conservatory. 

PCPA is committed to creating an inclusive, diverse, antiracist, and equitable space where all students can reach their full artistic potential.  We strive to reflect our diverse community as we train the future of the American Theater.

For a partial list of alumni, please click here.


Our two-year Conservatory programs are very affordable.  

We are very selective during the audition and interview process, and, therefore, very dedicated to students we accept into PCPA’s two-year training programs. PCPA has worked with the state of California, Allan Hancock College, and with private donors to make our tuition affordable, so our graduates can immediately go to work as professional actors and technicians without being burdened by student loan debt. 

California Residents:

Acting Conservatory Tuition:      
Approximately $900 (nine hundred dollars) a semester for California residents. 

Technical Theatre Conservatory Tuition:
Approximately $750 (seven hundred fifty dollars) a semester for California residents. 

Out-of-State Residents:

Acting Conservatory tuition is approximately $7,000 per semester for out-of-state students; however, students can establish residency during their first year and pay in-state tuition during their second year. 

Technical Theatre Conservatory tuition is approximately $6,000 per semester for out-of-state students; however, students can establish residency during their first year and pay in-state tuition during their second year.

Financial Aid is available through Allan Hancock College for those that qualify. 


The two years are dynamic.  Acting students are in the studios and technical theatre students are in the shops with their mentors in the mornings and afternoons and then return for rehearsal or production in the evenings, five and sometimes six days a week. It is all theatre all the time. We offer no general education classes.

Our goal is to make sure our students are ready to enter the professional world after two years of training with us.  However, if you are interested in a four-year degree, PCPA can also be part of a path to a bachelor’s degree.  Students earn approximately 60 to 70 units of Theatre credits in the two years with us, and those units are transferable.  We have strong relationships with colleges that accept our students as juniors.


We specialize in helping students with a strong foundation turn that foundation into a long career.  We accept 30 acting students a year and 12 technical theatre students.  Students range from actors and technicians who have just finished strong high school programs, to actors and technicians with some college training, to actors and technicians with a bachelor’s degree and some experience in the field.  As mentioned, our audition and interview process is highly selective, and, therefore, we are very dedicated to the students who join our conservatory and company.

We have professional actors, directors, choreographers, designers, technicians, and managers who make up the resident professional company for PCPA.  These resident artists bring a wide range of professional experience from all over the country and serve as mentors and teachers for the students in the conservatory. We have approximately one professional mentor for every 4 acting students and approximately one professional mentor for every 2 technical theatre students. One of the things that makes PCPA unique is that the students are taught and mentored by professionals who actually do this for a living.

PCPA’s Acting Conservatory invites casting directors, agents, artistic directors, guest directors, and more to see the student’s work during their training. Over the last five years, approximately 87% of our actors have been paid to act within a year of graduation. 

PCPA’s Technical Theatre Conservatory has wonderful relationships with Disney, Cirque du Sole, ZFX, Tony Award winning regional theatres, and more. The students train with PCPA’s resident professional company in: lights, sound, props, costumes, stage management, set construction, paints, and much more. Over the last 5 years 100% of our technical theatre graduates have been paid as technicians within a year of graduation.

PCPA does not provide housing, however, we do have a housing coordinator who will work to help you find housing in your price range.



Our website has information about our programs, and please feel free to contact me with any questions. 

If you would like to visit PCPA and observe a few classes, please contact

We look forward to seeing your work!

Photo Credits: 

#1 Kaylene Howard- The Wolves

#2 Alisha Hunter- Tech 2020

#3  Freaky Friday. Set- Jason Bolen, Lights- “Z” Zornow, Costumes- Arnold Bueso, Sound- Elisabeth Rebel,  Scenic Artist - Abby Hogan, Props- Tim Hogan, Stage Manager- Zoia Weisman

For more pictures of previous productions, please review the "Resources" Tab 

For technical questions, please visit the 
Acceptd Help Desk.