The Conservatory for the Performing Arts at Stephens College prepares artists to succeed in the highly competitive world of theatre, television and film.


Train with working professionals who have appeared on Broadway, in national tours, regionally and in film and television.

This intensive program offers opportunities for aspiring actors, designers, technicians and stage managers to build a strong technical skill set in their respective discipline and to garner extensive practical knowledge on how to navigate the current industry. 

This expedited program enables students to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in three years and two summers.  

Experience multiple opportunities on our mainstage and in our black box theatre. 

Work alongside industry professionals and build your resume while training at our immersive summer stock theatre in Okoboji, Iowa.  

Auditions and/or portfolios submissions are required for BFA Acting, BFA Musical Theatre, BFA Theatrical Costume Design and BFA Technical Theatre + Stage Management. 

An audition/portfolio is not required for the BFA in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies.  Applications received without an accompanying audition or portfolio will automatically be considered for the Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies BFA.  

The Conservatory welcomes artists of all gender identities.

The Stephens College Conservatory for the Performing Arts: Where Excellence Meets Value

Setting the Stage for a Brighter Future

At the Conservatory, we understand the importance of providing an education that not only prepares students for the spotlight but makes those dreams affordable. Our three-year program is designed to fast-track careers on stage and screen, reducing the time and overall expense without compromising on the quality of education and experience.

The Conservatory enables students to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in three years and two summers, for a total of eight semesters. You receive personalized attention in a focused setting, ensuring they gain the skills and confidence needed to excel in the competitive world of stage, screen, design, technical direction, and or stage management.

The Conservatory stands out by offering intensive, focused courses that allow you to graduate a full year ahead of traditional four-year programs. This accelerated timeline means that while the cost per academic year is higher, the total investment over the duration of the program is significantly less. This means families save on an entire year of tuition, housing, and other associated costs. Our model is built on the premise that reducing the time to graduation by 25% inherently decreases the overall cost of education, even with a higher per-semester fee.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Begin training with our faculty of industry professionals from day one.
  • Artists of all gender identities are respected and are welcome here. We are committed to celebrating each individual's authentic self.
  • Audition for all mainstage productions, beginning in your first semester.
  • Immerse yourself at our Summer Stock Theatre in Okoboji, Iowa.
  • Study with top industry professionals in daily coursework and in master classes.
  • Graduate with a strong technical skillset and the current industry knowledge to put your training to use.
  • Bring your pet, or earn a scholarship for fostering a pet while they’re here!
  • Love where you live and learn! The Conservatory campus is a safe, lovely, green space, that is only a two-minute walk from the heart of downtown Columbia, Missouri, one of America’s "great college towns."

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees

This expedited program enables students to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in three years and two summers.

Musical Theatre

While training with working professionals, actors will strengthen their technique, sharpen their craft through multiple opportunities on stage and learn how to navigate the current industry. The combination of this immersive training enables our actors to be highly competitive.


While training with working professionals in this rigorous and immersive program, actors will gain extensive training for the stage and screen. Additional focus will be placed on how to navigate and compete in the current industry.

Theatrical Costume Design

Multiple design opportunities on the main campus and on the Okoboji campus provide immersive training opportunities which enable designers to build competitive, industry ready, portfolios.

Technical Theatre + Stage Management

This holistic major offers exciting opportunities in all aspects of technical theatre, including but not limited to: lighting design, scenic design, sound design. set building, set painting and stage management. Dynamic, immersive training provides artists with a robust, industry ready, portfolio.

Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies

Ideal for the multi-hyphenate creative, this major offers cross-disciplinary training in Acting, Directing, Technical Theatre, Stage Management, and Costume Design. Artists will be immersed in a diverse, well-rounded curriculum, which offers foundational skills to pursue a multitude of professional options.

More About The Conservatory...

Conservatory Mission Statement


Faculty + Guest Artists

The performing arts faculty includes Broadway actors, ballet masters, regional theatre managers and artistic directors, New York City audition accompanists, professional lighting and design artists, and a regular rotation of working artists from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major markets.

Macklanburg Playhouse + Warehouse Theatre Company

Explore the campus theatres where you’ll perform, design, and run the show. Performances are open to the public.

Okoboji Summer Theatre

Our professional summer stock theatre company in beautiful Spirit Lake, Iowa, Okoboji Summer Theatre provides immersive internships to undergraduate theatre students who work and perform alongside outstanding professionals from national companies and Broadway stages.

Alumni Accomplishments

Alumni include television and film actor Stephanie Beatriz; television, film and Broadway actor Annie Potts; stage manager Karyn Meek; voice actress Ginny McSwain, TV actress Judith Chapman, the late Dawn Wells of Gilligan's Island fame, and many more.

Contact Us

Conservatory for the Performing Arts

Kristy Simpson,
Admissions Navigator


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