Hollywood. The Silver Screen. It's the dream of many actors to go off to California and make their dreams come true.

Many actors get their start in their high school theater programs. Whether it's a school specifically dedicated to the performing arts, or a boarding school with strong theater programs, theater programs are a good way to gain experience and exposure.

Here are three boarding schools in California with strong theater programs to check out.

Idyllwild Arts Academy

The Idyllwild Arts Academy, set on 205 acres of pristine pine forest located in the renowned arts village of Idyllwild in Southern California's San Jacinto Mountains, provides pre-professional training in the arts and a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum to a diverse student body of gifted young artists from all over the world. The school's Theatre Program incorporates advanced techniques to guide students toward greater self-awareness of their own potential and resources.

The program welcomes students new to acting as well as those wanting to develop a theatrical career. With concentrations in acting, theatrical design and technical theatre, and musical theatre, individual programs of study are written for each student and are geared toward personal interests and training as assessed by Idyllwild faculty.

Notable alumni include Tony nominated actress Marin Ireland, film actress Mara Wilson, and television actor Neal Bledsoe.

Idyllwild Arts Academy



The Thacher School

The Thacher School is a coeducational boarding high school located 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles, California. Thacher's Performing Arts Program prides itself on being  inclusive. Students first encounter drama through Introduction to the Arts, where they build an ensemble, gain confidence, and eventually take on a final project—a live piece, radio play, satirical skit, music video, or short film—that the students themselves generate.

Students interested in taking their acting skills to the next level can take in Advanced Acting, which is offered for a semester or a full year to sophomore, junior, and senior actors. These classes teach movement, voice mechanics, and various theories of acting. They also work intensively on scenes and monologues, both published and original. Each year, the Thacher Masquers stage two large-scale theatrical productions, a fall drama and a winter musical.

Notable alumni include actors Michael E. Knight, JP Manoux, Leland Orser, Joely Richardson, and Noah Wyle.

The Thacher School Drama Program



Villanova Preparatory School

Just down the road in Ojai, California, Villanova Preparatory School is an Augustinian Catholic co-ed day and boarding school. Villanova's drama department gives students the opportunity to participate in every aspect of production, up to and including the thrill of performing in the school's outdoor amphitheatre.

Villanova has two productions each year:  The fall drama production is in November and the Spring musical in May.  All Villanova students have the opportunity to participate in theater productions even if they are not in the performing arts class. Villanova has two productions each year:  The fall drama production is in November and the Spring musical in May.

Villanova Prep Drama Program



The Show Must Go On

Theater programs encourage collaboration, imagination, and taking risks. With opportunities to study independently or in a group, aspiring actors are able to play and rehearse with others, simultaneously getting good at the arts of inclusion, compromise, listening, and working alone.

Whether or not students achieve acclaimed success as an actor after graduating, participating in theater programs help boost confidence, improve public speaking skills and spark innovation.