The East West Players Actor’s Conservatory Program offers a comprehensive theatre arts curriculum for those who are honing their craft as professional actors as well as those seeking personal expression. Students have ranged in age from 17 to 65, are of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, and possess skill levels that stretch from beginning to advanced. What brings everyone together is a dedication to learning and sharing a unique theatrical experience. The minimum age of participation is 17 with the consent of a parent or guardian. Enrolling and completing studies with East West Players Actors Conservatory does not guarantee you will be cast in an EWP mainstage production.
Learn more about our instructors.
Christian Durso is a classically trained actor, playwright, and screenwriter. He has performed Shakespeare professionally in regional theaters across the country including Shakespeare Santa Cruz, The Old Globe, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, among others. He has taught workshops and intensives on Shakespeare and Voice and Speech at The Old Globe and La Jolla Playhouse. A proud member of Actor’s Equity and the Los Angeles based IAMA Theatre Company, Christian has trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and holds an MFA in classical theatre from the University of San Diego and a BFA in drama from NYU.
Prince Gomolvilas’s plays include Big Hunk o’ Burnin’ Love, a groundbreaking Thai-American comedy; The Theory of Everything, which won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Drama; and Mysterious Skin, the critically acclaimed stage adaptation of the Scott Heim novel. His work has been produced around the United States, as well as in Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Singapore. Companies and venues include The Drill Hall, East West Players, Impact Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Pork Filled Players, Singapore Repertory Theatre, SIS Productions, and Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, as well as the National Asian American Theatre Festival. His shows for young audiences, The Oskar Plays, which were launched by the nationally celebrated TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and the Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre, have been touring continuously for the past ten years, reaching hundreds of thousands of children in California, Texas, and Pennsylvania. His TEDx talk, “Mind the Gap,” was presented at Chapman University. www.princegomolvilas.com
Training: American Conservatory Theatre, MFA; U of Washington, BA, B of Music, w/dance minor. SAG-AFTRA, AEA.
Currently that medium is television. Alec’s latest comedy special Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy premieres on Showtime June 12, 2015. Based on his award-winning solo show, Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy hilariously, irreverently chronicles Alec’s journey to fatherhood via foster adoption. TV audiences currently enjoy Alec in his recurring roles on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth and Lifetime’s Devious Maids.
Audiences first discovered Alec on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning production of M. Butterfly. He guest starred on over 40 television series, including Alias, Friends, Roseanne, Seinfeld, and NYPD Blue. Alec played network television’s very first gay Asian series regular role on the CBS sitcom Some Of My Best Friends. He then starred in four seasons of the UPN sitcom Half & Half. Alec went on to appear in the ABC hit Ugly Betty and was a frequent guest star on Desperate Housewives. Film audiences howled at Alec as “N’Cream” in the wildly popular drag queen musical Connie and Carla. Other films include Playing By Heart, Marley & Me, and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.
An accomplished stand-up comedian, Alec’s Wisecrack comedy special premiered on LOGO in 2005 and has since become a cult favorite. His follow-up comedy specials America’s Gaysian Sweetheart and No Fats, Femmes or Asians aired on the Here! And LOGO networks respectively.
Alec was awarded the prestigious Davidson Valentini GLAAD Award for promoting equal rights for the LGBT community. A tireless fundraiser, Alec has toured the country on behalf of The Human Rights Campaign and The Matthew Shepard Foundation earning him the unofficial title of “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart.”
Alec lives in Los Angeles with his husband Jamie and his son Zion. http://alecmapa.com/
Wesley Mann has performed in productions of seventeen of Shakespeare’s plays to date and has a great love of the works of the greatest playwright in the English language. He has appeared on many stages across the country including The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, The Arena Stage in Washington D.C., Portland Center Stage and has spent ten seasons with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, both performing and teaching. He has taught most recently with the Inner Circle Theatre in North Hollywood and has taught with East West Players off and on for years. Besides his conservatory training at Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (PCPA) Theatrefest, he has continued his own training in Shakespeare with Andrew Wade and Rob Claire both of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Wesleymannactor.com
Aaron Takahashi is actor, improviser, sketch writer & performer, and teacher. He has been in over 45 national commercials, including campaigns for Esurance, Snapple, and the popular commercial for Amp’d Mobile in which he raps to himself in a public restroom before getting caught. His latest commercial is a spot for Kmart.
Aaron’s television credits include Community, The Mentalist, Ben and Kate, Sullivan & Son, Mr. Robot. He is also featured on Conan in comedic sketches and pre-taped segments. Aaron has appeared in films such as Better Luck Tomorrow, and Yes Man. On stage, he was last seen in the world premiere of Slice at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.
Aaron is an instructor and core performing member of the improv group Cold Tofu. He has written and performed sketch at ACME Comedy Theatre. He also teaches an on-camera commercial audition workshop.
Laura Woodward is an actor, director, and coach who has worked both regionally and Off-Broadway. Some of her favorite experiences include time spent at The Guthrie, Yale Repertory Theater, Triad Stage, Mixed Blood, and TheaterWorks in Hartford. She is delighted to have played Juliet in The Acting Company and Guthrie Theater’s touring production of Romeo and Juliet, and is the recipient of two Connecticut Critics Circle Awards. Laura is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA, and has appeared in a myriad of features, indie films and commercials. Over the years, Laura has also flexed her muscles as a set designer, costume designer, and producer. She holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, an MFA from The Yale School of Drama, and is a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga instructor.
Matt Yang King is the winner of the CAPE/Hollywood Foreign Press Young Screenwriters Award and the creator, writer, and director of The World of Steam, a Twilight Zone-like webseries set in a Steampunk universe. Matt has appeared on numerous TV shows, as a series regular on the shows Washington Field and GI Joe: Renegades, and guest starring on everything from Friends, Bones, Frasier to 24. He is most noted for his long-running roles on Strong Medicine as Dr. Matt Lin, and on Numb3rs as Agent Matt Li. Matt is also widely known for voice work in many movies, television shows, and video games. Currently he can be seen on Nickelodeon’s Supah Ninjas and heard on World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, and many others. Matt lives and works in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.
Check back soon for our upcoming class schedule.
Students who have completed at least one year of study with the East West Players Actor’s Conservatory are eligible to participate in the Studio Lab Project, a workshop that provides an opportunity to apply theatrical skills in an environment that simulates the professional theatre process. The Actor’s Conservatory provides a limited number of scholarships through the Beulah Quo Endowment for Theatre Education.
For more information about the application process and scholarship work requirements, go here. East West Players encourages all those interested in pursuing the arts to apply. For more information, contact Arts Education Director Carolina San Juan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 625-7000.