April 2020

LOOKING BACK

In response to updates on the state and federal level in regards to COVID-19, Opening Act has transitioned to remote work for staff members and digital programming for Teaching Artists, students and alums. We are looking back on the month of March with gratitude for the time we had together in person and excitement for the opportunity to innovate and reimagine what Opening Act can create in digital spaces!

Show Up to Yes, And!

As the world changes at a rapid pace, it is more important than ever to remain a consistent and positive force in our students’ lives. Opening Act is currently providing virtual programming, checking in on students, and offering opportunities to continue to connect and create amidst the chaos. On Wednesday, March 25th, Opening Act hosted, “Show Up to Yes, And!” an online fundraising event featuring student, alum, and celebrity performances. This live-streamed event strived to keep our ‘virtual doors’ open to the hundreds of young people who call Opening Act their home. Celebrity guests – including Kenny Leon, Anthony Ramos, Aja Naomi King, James Monroe Iglehart, Billy Porter and more – came together to bring joy and light and connection to all of us! Watch highlights from this unforgettable event!

Digital Student Summit

On Friday, March 27th, Opening Act hosted our first all student, online summit featuring Teaching Artists, improv games, and a Q&A with celebrity guests Fergie L. Philippe, Nik Walker, and Zazie Beetz! This digital summit marked the official launch of Opening Act’s online programming, creating a space for students across all Opening Act programs to gather, play, and get excited to continue their semester with Opening Act!

Launch of Digital Programs

Starting the week of March 30th, Opening Act has been offering digital workshops to all partner schools and District 79 programs. Digital workshops are facilitated by Opening Act Teaching Artists, and lead students through theater and improvisation games and activities designed specifically for online learning. While our workshops look different in the digital space, we are continuing to embrace this opportunity to connect and collaborate with students and school partners and Yes-And the changes that come our way.

Everyday Celebrations & Accomplishments

It is especially important during this time to celebrate everyday successes, and in true Opening Act fashion, there are an overwhelming amount of impactful moments we’d like to celebrate with you. Here are just a few…

“We checked in and really got to get a feel of where everyone was at today. Did a meditation where we not only acknowledged our current state, but thanked our bodies for staying healthy, and then visualized being in our space at school and visualized everyone on the call and not present smiling and offering and receiving healing energy.”

“While we were sharing that even though the situation in the world is incredibly tough right now, we are still here, still ready to meet, play games, build theatre – reiterating that there are things to still look forward to, one of our students chimed in, ‘This changed my mood’, sharing that he was feeling better after our conversation.”

“My favorite moment was when one of our students’ moms poked her head in and was like, ‘What are you doing?’ Because she could hear us all moo-ing and our student was like – ’Mom! This is class!’ it was hilarious!!!”

“Loved that one student joined us from the passenger seat of her Mother’s car. And at some point she had to help with an errand and said ‘I’ll turn my camera off now, but I’ll be back!’ She also mentioned after one word story that what she loved about it was the ability to ‘just jump in!’ We also had a returner who joined for the first time this semester and said ‘I think this is what has really been missing from my life.’ They all respected each other’s emotions and often noted during check-in, ‘Yes, I agree with her, I feel cloudy but like there’s some shine too, because I’m hopeful” One student was super empowered and came ready with a list of questions re: building monologues to audition with!”

LOOKING AHEAD

The stage may look a little different, but the show must go on! Opening Act students and alumni can look forward to more opportunities to connect with their ensembles and Teaching Artists through digital workshops and “Weekly Challenges” on the Act 2 Instagram account!

Act 2 Fellows & Weekly Challenges

#FollowTheFellows on the Act 2 Instagram account, @oa_act2 to see Opening Act’s Act 2 Fellows’ daily content designed specifically for students and fellow alumni! Fellows are sharing motivational messages, showcasing creative and artistic projects they’re undertaking, and inviting students to share their own words and work. Each week, the Fellows post a “Weekly Challenge” inviting all Opening Act students and alums to participate in an improvisation or acting challenge. Previous challenges have included, “Find a random object in the house and ‘fall in love with it’” and “Create a tableau of a favorite work of art (a meme, a scene from a movie/tv show, an artwork”. To participate, follow @oa_act2 posts and stories and DM us your submission! All “Weekly Challenge” submissions are entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card prize at the end of the week!

Digital Programs… Continued!

Opening Act digital workshops will continue to meet at their regularly scheduled times. Workshops take place on Google Hangouts, which is free, easy to use and accessible on computers, ios and android mobile devices through a Google Chrome browser or through the Google Hangouts app. For more information on how to join your regularly scheduled Opening Act workshop digitally, please look out for emails or texts from your Teaching Artists. We look forward to continuing to innovate and create with you online!

Apply for Futures and Options

Opening Act is continuing its partnership with Futures and Options to provide paid summer internships for current Opening Act students. Students selected for the Summer Internship Program will take part in professional development workshops and work at a site aligned with their interests and goals. The application deadline has been extended to April 30th and interested students can ask their Teaching Artists or reach out to Matthew Greene, Act 2 College and Career Program Manager, at matthew@openingact.org, for application links and support.

Be Well

From all of us at Opening Act, we would like to say thank you for your continued dedication and support through this challenge, and we look forward to more opportunities to play, laugh, and create together! Be well, stay safe, and #WeGotYourBack.

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