This July, the Opening Act staff gathered for their annual Staff Retreat, and students began their first week in the Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory program. The Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory program offers an intensive conservatory-style experience for actors interested in an in-depth exploration of theater skills that build upon their traditional Opening Act experience and culminates in a final showcase.
Every summer, the staff of Opening Act comes together for a retreat to ground themselves in the values, mission, and programs that drive our work. The time was split between Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn and allowed space for reflection, dialogue, and visioning for the future.
Student Trip to Classical Theatre of Harlem’s “The Bacchae”
On Wednesday, July 24th, the Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory actors attended The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production of “The Bacchae” in Marcus Garvey Park. After gathering together for dinner, the group spent some time working on their scenes from their Shakespeare and Contemporary Stage Acting classes before being seated for the performance. Students were excited by the song, dance, and music incorporated into the production and left the show with an invigorated sense of theatrical innovation to take into their own playwriting and performance!
Guest Artists Rachel Chavkin and Celia Keenan-Bolger visit the Summer Conservatory
Summer Conservatory actors are introduced to professional artists from stage and film throughout their three weeks in the program including directors, playwrights, and actors. Students had the amazing opportunity to work with Tony award-winning Director, Rachel Chavkin on their Contemporary Stage Acting scene assignments from the plays Hurt Village by Katori Hall and Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes. In the second week of the program, the young actors spoke with Tony-award winning actress and singer, Celia Keenan-Bolger, about her career trajectory and the new discoveries she makes with each character she plays. The students rose to the challenge and were inspired by the guest artists’ journeys and encouragement to make bold choices in both their contemporary and Shakespeare scenes.
Everyday Celebrations & Accomplishments
As part of the Summer Conservatory course, “The New Triple Threat” facilitated by Teaching Artist, Nikomeh Anderson, students practice daily free-writing exercises to explore poetic form. To celebrate some of this incredible poetry, we’d like to share a few excerpts of student writing:
In preparation for the showcase on Thursday, August 8th, the Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory actors spent their final week rehearsing and preparing. Looking ahead to September, the Opening Act programs team is gearing up for our Fall Teaching Artist training and gearing up for the start of a new school year.
Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory Showcase
The Summer Conservatory showcase was an opportunity for the young actors to put the scenes, poetry, original plays, and leadership skills they’ve practiced throughout the program on stage for an audience of family and friends. The showcase took place on Thursday, August 8th at New York Live Arts. Don’t miss the September Blog post for more information on the showcase!