February 2019


Opening Act staff and Teaching Artists have been working hard in preparation for the start of programs for all of our core after school, D-79 and Act 2 programming. We’ve gathered for trainings and professional development sessions to discuss our successes, challenges, best practices and strategies to ensure a successful Spring semester for all Opening Act actors!

Arts in Education Roundtable’s, “Day of Learning”

On January 15th, Opening Act staff attended the 4th Annual Day of Learning on Equity and Inclusion hosted by the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable at Restoration Art. Opening Act Director of Operations and Communications, Erika Atkins, participated in a panel titled, “Exploring the Process and Commitment of Becoming Better Social Justice Orgs”. This conversation focused on learning and contending with the ways in which we choose to engage in social justice practices as arts administrators, educators, and organizations. Justin Daniel, Associate Director of After-School Programs at Opening Act, co-facilitated a breakout session titled, “Self-Care Salon – Sound Blessings & Strategies”. This session offered a guided meditation and sound bath followed by a strategizing session on promoting self-care and avoiding burn-out for arts educators, teaching artists and administrators whose daily work involves resisting injustices and inequalities. This afternoon of workshops left us with tools, strategies, connections, and resources to support us in our roles as agents of change within our organizations, and within our communities.

Spring Teaching Artist Training

On Saturday, February 2nd, the Opening Act Programs Team, and Teaching Artists came together for Spring training! Teaching Artists reconnected, reviewed the Spring process and curriculum, and started planning their workshops. We heard from a panel of Opening Act alumni who spoke about their Opening Act experience and ideas on how to recruit and welcome more students into Opening Act programs and events. After a long day, Teaching Artists left eager and excited to get back to school and start CREATING with their actors!


The Spring semester of Opening Act programs is almost here! This semester is full of exciting opportunities for Opening Act actors including our first Act 2 Saturday, “Opening Act Goes to College”, a trip to see To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway, auditions for our 3-week long Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory and final performances of student-created one-act plays on a professional stage! Be sure to check this blog to stay up to date on all Opening Act programming events.


Teaching Artists will be back in schools the week of February 4th to reconnect with Opening Act actors from the Fall semester as well as recruit new ensemble members! We will be visiting lunchrooms, club fairs and classrooms with sign-up sheets and flyers, encouraging all students interested to join us!

Whether you’ve just always wanted to give acting a try, or you’re just curious, we’d love to see you there! Follow @openingactny on Instagram to see when Opening Act will be recruiting at your school or campus!

Start of Programs

While D79 programs have an early start, the first week of workshops for core after-school Opening Act programs is the week February 11th! Opening Act actors will have their first workshop of the Spring semester, followed by Midwinter Recess the week of February 18th. This upcoming semester will be focused on exploring themes, stories, topics, and issues that are most important to the students. Teaching Artists will lead actors through playmaking strategies to create and rehearse an original piece to be performed at YESfest – our annual showcase of new student work at 52nd ST Project in Manhattan!

Spotlight: Teaching Artist, AnJu Hyppolite

In her article,  “Taking the Leap – A Teaching Artist’s Journey from Corporate to Classrooms”, originally published on the Arts in Education Roundtable Blog, Opening Act Teaching Artist AnJu Hyppolite speaks about her unique journey to Teaching Artistry. Through “being present, being invested in adaptability, and self-inquiry”, AnJu has found ways to balance challenging herself with self-compassion in her work. She writes, “I now rest assured that teaching artistry was the best career choice I have made since graduating high school. It is a walk down the aisle and an ‘I do’ that allows me to show up fully as AnJu.” AnJu will be returning to the Arturo Schomburg/Bronx Regional Opening Act ensemble this Spring and we’re so excited to have her on our team for another fantastic semester!

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