Did you know that Downey Unified School District has a free after-school program for those interested in pursuing enrichment in performing arts? Downey Unified’s Musical Theatre Conservatory (MTC) nurtures students’ passions for singing, dancing, acting and musical theatre. The program is open for all Downey Unified middle school students to audition. Tuition is free for all students selected into the program.

This year’s auditions will be held on August 9 at 2:00 pm AND August 25, at 3:00 pm. Students can apply today for a spot!

An Interview with Our Conservatory Director

Ahead of next week’s auditions, we spoke with MTC Director, Andrea Pyle, about what the conservatory program consists of, how it benefits students, and how to stand out when auditioning. Read her tips and more below!

What does the program consist of throughout the year?

The Musical Theatre Conservatory meets Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at Stauffer Middle School. On Mondays, students take Voice with Miss Athena. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, students rehearse for the semester production with me. Fridays, students take Dance with Miss Anisa.

Each semester will culminate with a musical production. First semester, students will perform in “Legally Blonde, Jr.” and second semester, students will perform in “Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Jr.” Attendance is mandatory. Poor attendance could result in removal from the program.

How does the conservatory benefit students?

The Musical Theatre Conservatory will benefit students who are serious about pursuing a career in performing arts. All of MTC staff have spent countless years whether on stage as performers or behind the scenes as director/vocal, director/choreographer, so we offer endless amounts of real-world experiences and knowledge to share with participants.

Who should consider applying?

Students who are ready to grow as a performer and create musical theatre magic!

What qualities do students who are accepted into the program usually possess?

The Musical Theatre Conservatory is all about commitment. MTC meets after school, five days a week, for two hours a day. This is a huge commitment. I am impressed to hear how many participants still attend another private class after MTC throughout the week. Whether it is a private dance class, music class or martial arts, these students are committed to whatever interests they have. They understand it takes hard work and true dedication to be successful. 

What are you looking for in the audition process?

Confidence is key! In the audition process, I am looking for confidence. Obviously, some natural talent is desirable, but I know with the MTC team, natural gifts can be developed. I am looking for students who have positive attitudes and who are ready to learn and be a part of a musical theatre family. I will also be asking for potential scheduling conflicts. Students need to be available for the entire week (Monday-Friday 3:15-5:15 p.m.). Students will need to prioritize their extra-curricular activities and decide if MTC meets their availability.

What is your favorite part of working for the program?

My favorite part of MTC is watching the growth and change in the students throughout the process. Even though these students start with talent, watching them work with a professional voice instructor, director and dance instructor, the growth is exponential.