September 2019


Looking back at the end of the summer, the Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory students finished their program with an exciting showcase of song, poetry, and performance and Teaching Artists came together for Fall Training to get ready for the new school year.

Student trip to Soho Rep’s, Fairview

On Thursday, August 1st, Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory actors traveled to Brooklyn for the Soho Rep production of Fairview by Jackie Sibbles Drury at Theatre for a New Audience’s Polonsky Shakespeare Center. Students were in awe of this groundbreaking production and reflected on the timely and challenging themes of the performance alongside their Teaching Artists and fellow actors.

Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory Showcase

On August 8th, families, friends, staff, and Opening Act supporters came together for the Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory Showcase. Students presented an original movement and poetry piece created in their multi-disciplinary course titled, “The New Triple Threat”, performed scenes from Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Hurt Village by Katori Hall, staged readings of two student-written original plays and owned the language and depth of selected scenes from Romeo and Juliet. Audience members were blown away by the young actors’ performances and “YES-and-ing” of new experiences, new challenges, and new friends!

Teaching Artist Fall Training

In early September, Opening Act Teaching Artists participated in a three-day Teaching Artist training. We welcomed four new Teaching Artists to the team, participated in a session focused on developing trauma-informed teaching practices in the workshop space, learned about the many connections between theater and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), and set intentions and goals for the upcoming school year. As we prepare for an exciting year of programs, the Opening Act community is eager to continue to learn and grow with our fantastic team of Teaching Artists! 

Everyday Celebrations & Accomplishments

To celebrate the incredible work and many successes of the young actors who participated in the Summer Arts & Leadership Conservatory program this year, we’d like to share some student reflections on their experience.

What were the most important skills you learned at Summer Conservatory? 

“No matter where you are or where you come from, you matter in the world. To be strong and believe in myself”

“Working as a team”

“Leadership and language”

If you could describe your experience at the Summer Conservatory in one word, what would it be?


The start of a new semester is here! As we prepare to welcome students back, Teaching Artists are busy recruiting and Opening Act staff is gearing up for another fantastic year of programs with new opportunities and new partnerships!

Start of Programs

With recruitment in full swing, Teaching Artists are attending club fairs and putting up posters and flyers in their schools to invite students into the Opening Act workshop space. We’re excited to announce our first year of Opening Act at Mott Hall V Middle School, an exciting new partnership with our first school in Queens, Flushing High School, and the addition of five new District 79 programs

Programs start the week of September 16th and will welcome both returning and new actors to come together to laugh, connect, and build a strong ensemble. In their first workshop, students will be introduced to some of our favorite Opening Act games and get excited for another semester of discovery and play.

Spotlight: Opening Act Alum, Elijah Callahan

This summer, Opening Act Alums Elijah Callahan and Lehina Emmanuel participated in the Michael Howard Studios Summer Young Actor Conservatory and spent three weeks honing their craft at one of the city’s premier actor training programs. Elijah reflected…

“The Michael Howard Studios Summer conservatory wasn’t just some two week acting class it was an experience. In such a short amount of time I felt like I’ve learned so much from my time working on camera to script analysis and then a clown class (yes, a clown class). When I wasn’t learning something new I was sharpening my skills in improv and acting. With the help of my teaching artist, I was put into fun, interesting, and new roles putting me outside of my comfort zone in the best way possible. From the new friends I’ve created and things I’ve learned, my time at the Michael Howard Studios will be the best thing I put on my acting resume.”

The Opening Act community extends our congratulations to Elijah and Lehina for completing this prestigious program!

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