Students finished the first semester of the 2018-2019 school year with their Winter Showcase performances and pizza parties! We look back on the last couple of weeks of this semester excited to share the growth and many accomplishments we’ve seen from our students and Teaching Artists!
Act 2 Saturday: FAFSA Jam
Students gathered at Hunter College on Saturday, December 15 for the last Act 2 Saturday of the semester, FAFSA Jam! The afternoon was filled with some of our favorite Opening Act games, Zip-Zap-Zop, Pies, and Enemy/Protector. Students and volunteers came together to reflect on their goals for the new year, provide assistance to students completing their financial aid paperwork, and concluded with a workshop featuring the Opening Act Alumni Improv group, “Friends of the Family”.
Students see ‘What to Send Up When It Goes Down’
Opening Act students attended a performance of the Movement Theatre Company’s production, ‘What to Send Up When It Goes Down’ on Saturday, December 15 in support of Ugochukwu Anyanwu, Opening Act Teaching Artist at the Christopher Columbus campus! Students were moved by the performance, described as a “community ritual created in response to the deaths of Black people as a result of racialized violence”, blurring the lines between audience member and performer through a series of vignettes, facilitation, and dialogue.
Opening Act Winter Showcases
Opening Act students bravely “took the stage” all over New York City public schools to perform devised scenes and monologues. Ensembles worked together to cast, rehearse, stage and present their original pieces for audiences of friends, family, and school administrators. From the Bushwick Ensemble’s timely commentary on racial identity and overcoming obstacles in Little Steps in Life, Showing Sides of Me: New Beginnings, to the Water’s Edge Ensemble’s exploration of family and community in Hijinks on the Block, our students continue to astound us with their creativity, insight, and thoughtfulness!
Everyday Celebrations & Accomplishments
Opening Act students are ending the year on a high note, celebrating their many successes from the semester and reflecting on their final Winter Showcases. Our Teaching Artists are incredibly proud of their students’ growth and eager to share these moments with you:
“Students were nervous to perform and talked to each other about ways they could calm their nerves. One student offered that by focusing on her character she would be less worried or nervous about herself because she could then be ‘in the moment’ – amazing!”
“The talkback went really well with students sharing how the program and process has helped them outside of class. For example, one student said that she now puts herself in characters’ shoes when she reads something during English class. Another student also expressed how she feels more confident.”
“At our talk back, when the students were asked what was hard about the process of preparing a show for performance, they all answered that it was really hard getting to know and to trust the students from the other schools on campus. But in the end, that’s what they were most proud of themselves for–taking the risk of trusting one another and becoming an ensemble.”
As students return from Winter Recess, Opening Act staff takes a break from programs to begin prepping for the Spring devising process. Ensembles will create original productions on topics and themes of their choosing.
As we wrap up this semester, we’re already looking forward to the Spring! We’ll be back in schools recruiting for next semester the week of February 4th – be on the lookout for Opening Act posters in your schools! This next semester will be focused on exploring themes our students are passionate about through improvisation, storytelling, and playwriting in preparation for their end of the year original play festival, YESFest!
Happy New Year!
Thanks to our amazing Opening Act community, 2018 has been a fantastic year of #YESAnding and #ShowingUp – Thank YOU for your continued support of Opening Act programs, and we’ll see you in the New Year!