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KD Conservatory Celebrates 40th Anniversary

KD Conservatory is coming up on its 40th Anniversary of developing entertainment industry professionals. Since 1979, KD Studio has grown from a studio space dedicated to the advancement of aspiring actors to a 24,000 square foot degree-granting institution offering Associates degrees in Acting Performance, Musical Theatre, and Motion Picture Production. This training facility, the only nationally accredited institution of its kind between New York and Los Angeles, started with a great idea between two powerful women.

Enter Kathy Tyner and Kim Dawson.

Almost 40 years ago, Tyner and Dawson combined their vision, business acumen and gumption to answer the growing television/film/commercial need for trained camera actors in DFW and Texas. The result was KD Studio, a take-off of famed NYC’s HB Studio, offering courses at night and on weekends.

Today, KD Studio is a hub for casting as well as industry networking events: Dallas Producers Association (DPA), SAG-AFTRA and Women in Film, Dallas (WIFD) are among the regulars. Across campus is the Trinity River Arts Center (TRAC), a venue which has been home to many theatre companies – Uptown, Theatre Britain and Kitchen Dog – as well as a showplace for visual artists, and a living theatre classroom for KD Conservatory students, all under the auspices of KD Studio.

“Artists need a place to train and practice, that’s what we provide.” said Tyner

Before they walked the red carpets, prominent names like George Eads (currently co-starring in MacGyver, CBS) Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Kevin McHale once walked KD’s halls. Tyner and her award-winning Board of Advisors from all walks of the industry have succeeded in providing a launch pad for thousands of working professionals.

During her almost 40 years at the helm, Tyner has become an indispensable member of the arts community. She has served on multiple boards and organizations, not only encouraging actors to pursue their dreams, but strongly supporting women in the entertainment industry. She has served on the Commission for Accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the Curriculum Committee for the Texas Educational Theatre Association, the Career Colleges & Schools of Texas, the advisory board of WIFD, the Irving Film Commission, and Executive Women International. Tyner has been awarded by the Dallas chapter of Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI), with a lifetime achievement award, and most recently from the DPA with the prestigious Pioneer Award.



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