From 4/20–4/26, COCA's entrance off Washington Avenue will be temporarily closed. Please enter COCA through the Trinity Avenue entrance.

The Theatre Artist Program within COCA’s Pre-Professional Division is designed for students who have aspirations for a professional career in theatre. Beginning Fall 2021, after an exploratory year in 2020, COCA will offer three tracks of study for an intensive conservatory-style training taught by leading theatre artists from St. Louis and beyond.

Upcoming Masterclasses & Auditions

If you’d like to join the Theatre Artist Pre-Professional Division, check out the following free masterclasses and opportunities for filming a self-tape audition with faculty and guests. Registration is required to attend.

APR 15 | 7:00–9:00PM | Self-Tape Filming for Audition | REGISTER

APR 16 | 4:00–9:00PM | Self-Tape Filming for Audition | REGISTER

MAY 21–22 | Theatre Artist Auditions | REGISTER

Courses are designed to meet the age-appropriate needs of COCA’s Junior Division (age 10-13) and Senior Division (age 14-18) while addressing the content needs of three focused areas of study:

Musical Theatre | For artists who want to perform on-stage
Design-Tech​ | For artists with a vision to lead behind the scenes
Stage & Screen | For artists who want to create and tell stories on-screen, on-stage, and beyond

Schedule and Classes

Students will audition for acceptance into the Theatre Artist PPD program. Once accepted, students will enter the Junior or Senior division based on age, but will receive individual guidance through course selections, ensembles, and placement opportunities based on technique and ability demonstrated in their audition or with faculty approval. Students in the Junior or Senior division are welcome to take introductory or beginner level classes outside their area of study as electives as long as they meet the age requirement for the class. Students in the program will participate in a required ensemble class as a part of their placement. Taught by Jennifer Wintzer, COCA’s Artistic Director of Theatre, this class is designed to build an ensemble theatre practice while providing regular opportunities to meet with master artists.

Click on each Area of Study for more information:

Musical Theatre:


Senior Division (Ages 14-18) Dues: $475
In addition to the rehearsals surrounding a PPD Theatre Artist placement (COCAwrites, Vocal Company, etc), students will be required to take weekly classes.

Senior Division Class Requirements: Minimum of 4 classes per week (1 Ensemble Class, 1 Acting, 1 Voice, 1 Dance)

What a Week Might Look Like:

Junior Division (Ages 10-13) Dues: $375
In addition to the rehearsals surrounding a PPD Theatre Artist placement (COCAwrites, Vocal Company, etc), students will be required to take weekly classes.

Junior Division Class Requirements: Minimum of 3 classes per week (1 ensemble class, 1 Acting, 1 Voice)

What a Week Might Look Like:

A Note on Dance for Musical Theatre Students:
Throughout a PPD Theatre Artist time at COCA – we recommend Musical Theatre Artists receive a full year training in these genres in the following order:
Jazz
Musical Theatre Dance
Tap
Ballet

Students will need to attend a placement class when they are admitted into the PPD program to placed in the appropriate level class.

Ensemble and Placement Options for Musical Theatre:
Vocal Company
COCAwrites
Performance placement in A Christmas Carol with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Summer Rep
Youth Musical

Students in the Junior or Senior Division can opt to take another placement or class in place of The Ensemble Class with The Artistic Director of Theatre’s approval.

Design & Tech:

Senior Division (Ages 14-18) Dues: $475
In addition to the rehearsals surrounding a PPD Theatre Artist placement (Design-Tech Placement, COCAwrites, etc), students will be required to take weekly classes.

Senior Division Class Requirements: Minimum of 4 classes per week (1 Ensemble Class, 2 Design-Tech, 1 Elective)

What a Week Might Look Like:

Junior Division (Ages 10-13) Dues: $375
In addition to the rehearsals surrounding a PPD Theatre Artist placement (Design-Tech Placement, COCAwrites, etc), students will be required to take weekly classes.

Junior Division Class Requirements: Minimum of 3 classes per week (1 Ensemble Class, 2 Design-Tech)

What a Week Might Look Like:


Ensemble and Placement Options for Design & Tech:
COCAwrites
Design-Tech placement with The Black Rep at the Edison Theatre (Washington University) and the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA
COCA Productions, including Summer Rep – Professional Workshop

Students in the Junior or Senior division can opt to take another placement or class in place of The Ensemble Class with the Artistic Director of Theatre’s approval.

Stage & Screen:


Senior Division (Ages 14-18) Dues: $475
In addition to the rehearsals surrounding a PPD Theatre Artist placement (Improv Troupe, A Christmas Carol, etc), students will be required to take weekly classes.

Senior Division Class Requirements: Minimum of 4 classes per week (1 Ensemble Class, 1 Acting, 1 Improv, 1 Screen Acting)

What a Week Might Look Like:

Junior Division (Ages 10-13) Dues: $375
In addition to the rehearsals surrounding a PPD Theatre Artist placement (Improv Troupe, A Christmas Carol, etc), students will be required to take weekly classes.

Junior Division Class Requirements: Minimum of 3 classes per week (1 Ensemble Class, 1 Acting, 1 Improv or Screen Acting)

What a Week Might Look Like:


Ensemble and Placement Options for Stage & Screen:
Improv Troupe
COCAwrites
Performance placement in A Christmas Carol with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
COCA’s Summer Rep – Professional Workshop

Students in the Junior or Senior division can opt to take another placement or class in place of The Ensemble Class with The Artistic Director of Theatre’s approval.

Ensembles and Placements:
PPD Theatre students will also select one (or more) of the performance and production opportunities in the form of ensembles and pre-professional placements.

Improv Troupe:

Students in the Improv Troupe will practice long-form and short-form improvisation, sketch comedy, and activities that involve audience participation – vital skills for every versatile screen actor, director and writer.

The Troupe is a placement for students in both Stage and Screen and Design-Tech; it is an ensemble for Junior and Senior Division students. Each semester includes a public performance at COCA as well as offsite as a touring troupe.

COCA Presents Harmonious

Vocal Company:

COCA’s vocal companies are designed for students to expand their vocal technique, repertoire and dive deeply into acting for musical theatre.

COCA’s vocal companies are placements for students in the Musical Theatre and Design-Tech tracks. There are two ensembles comprised of a Junior Division and Senior Division, based on age, with performance opportunities in each semester including a fully cast and staged concert version of a musical.

COCAwrites:

Students in this program workshop new plays and musicals written by professional composers and playwrights from around the country while having the chance to develop their own new plays and musicals with the mentorship of these leaders. This program combines directing, playwriting, acting, dramaturgy, design-tech, and stage management to bring professional and student written plays to life. COCA is thrilled to offer this training to students as new work gains attention and priority on all stages across America’s theatres.

COCAwrites is an open placement available to all three theatre tracks and both Junior and Senior Division students. Each spring, select student works will receive staged readings alongside professional productions and readings in COCA’s New Play Festival. Design-tech students will also have the chance to experiment with theatrical design in support of the new works.

Performance placement in A Christmas Carol with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis:

COCA will be casting over 20 students for the student company of A Christmas Carol to premiere December 2020 at the Loretto-Hilton Theatre in a new partnership with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Students selected through auditions from COCA’s PPD students in both Musical Theatre and Stage & Screen tracks (in addition to students new to COCA) will rehearse with Jennifer Wintzer, Youth Company Director and Artistic Director of Theatre. This intensive training experience will begin in October 2020 at COCA. In November, the youth company will join The Rep’s professional acting company’s cast in rehearsals and performances.

Design-Tech placement with The Black Rep at the Edison Theatre (Washington University) and the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA:

This Design-Tech placement with The Black Rep is for the self-motivated, curious high school students with an interest in the fields of technical theatre and/or theatrical design.  Students who interview for and are placed in apprenticeships have the opportunity to learn from leading professionals in the St. Louis theatre community in one of the following disciplines: Costume Design and Construction, Wardrobe, Stage Management, Lighting Design and Operation, Sound Design and Operation, Set Design and Construction, and Set Projections.

Summer Rep Placement:

Summer Rep uses a professional workshop model for students in all areas of theatre artistry to practice their training onstage in lead and ensemble roles with collaboration and guidance from professional actors, directors, designers and more. Each Summer COCA will choose a play and a musical that centers around young characters and stories.

Summer Rep is a placement available to all three theatre tracks and both Junior and Senior Division students. Students should indicate their interest in Summer Rep at their initial PPD audition, and then further auditions will take place every Winter/Spring to cast the play and musical.