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Walnut Creek Magazine

A Look at the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts

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In and around a former office building in Shadelands business park, future actors and singers are finding their voice. Small clusters of students harmonize in hallways, others transform rooms into theater sets, and cluster around computers powering up special effects.

While she’s bombarded with kid’s questions, Lisa Kingsbury, is calmy dispensing knowledge. She co-founded Contra Costa School of Performing Arts six years ago to offer middle and high school students an alternative path in an environment that fosters creating art. 


Now serving 350 students, Contra Costa School of Performing Arts (CoCoSPA), is a tuition-free California Exemplary Arts Education school serving students (grades 6-12) primarily living in Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, and Antioch. The school’s rigorous seven-year program prepares students for a wide spectrum of performing arts careers, while also achieving academic excellence.


Getting in to CoCoSPA requires submission of an application and attendance at an Arts Open House event: designed to help students make informed decisions about their arts major—Production & Design, Vocal Music, Theater, Dance, and Instrumental Music.  If CoCoSPA receives more applications for a particular major than available space permits, a public random drawing (lottery) is held.


As with all arts schools, theatrical productions and special events get star treatment. On September 30, students showed-off their talents at Chillin’ In Autumn—an outdoor open mic performance. This was a great event held on the side lawn with staff and student participation. October brings a vocal performance on the 26th, and a not-too-miss Halloween Carnival & Haunted House on October 29th. Then in November on 4-6th/12-13th comes a small taste of red carpet glitz at the all-school performance of the musical Big Fish

CoCoSPA is located at 2730 Mitchell Drive in Walnut Creek. For enrollment inquiries and school tours, go to or call 925-235-1130.



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