Start an Application

Narrow your Search

Two Year Conservatory Training in Acting and in Technical Theatre 

PCPA Pacific Conservatory Theatre is a two-year concentrated Conservatory training program located in Santa Maria on the Central Coast of California. The students train as members of a professional company mentored by industry professionals who have a passion to teach.   

PCPA offers two-year training programs in both Acting and in Technical Theatre

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.

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.

Our two-year Conservatory programs are very affordable.  

Acting Conservatory Tuition:      
  • Approximately $900 (nine hundred dollars) a semester for California residents. Out of state tuition is approximately $6,000 per semester; however, students can establish residency during their first year of training and pay California resident tuition during their second year.
Technical Theatre Conservatory Tuition:
  • Approximately $750 (seven hundred fifty dollars) a semester for California residents. Out of state tuition is approximately $5,000 per semester; however, students can establish residency during their first year of training and pay California resident tuition during their second year.

PCPA has worked with the state of California and with private donors to keep our tuition low, so our graduates can immediately go to work as professional actors and technicians without being burdened by student loan debt.

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

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

For a partial list of alumni, please click here. 

The two years are rigorous.  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, 6 days a week.  It is all theatre all the time.  We offer no general education classes.

We accept 30 acting students a year and 12 technical theatre students. The students range from serious theatre students who just finished strong high school programs to students with some college and students with a bachelor’s degree.  We specialize in helping students with a strong foundation turn that foundation into a long career.

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.  In the acting conservatory, we have approximately one professional mentor for every four students. In the technical theatre conservatory, there is one professional mentor for every two students.

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, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and more. Plus, over the last 5 years 100% of our technical theatre graduates have been paid as technicians within a year of graduation.

If you would like to visit PCPA and observe a few classes please contact us at casting@pcpa.org.

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 check out our Acceptd Applicant Support Help Desk for frequently asked questions.