May 2020

LOOKING BACK

This April, Opening Act has continued to embrace our digital landscape, providing weekly after-school and District 79 digital workshops. With the launch of our Digital Masterclass series for Alumni, and campaign #TheShowMustGoONLINE leading up to our first Digital YESfest, the end of the Spring 2020 semester is full of exciting opportunities to celebrate the work of Opening Act actors everywhere!

Alumni Digital Masterclasses

Opening Act has launched a new series of Digital Masterclasses, providing top-notch artistic training specifically for Opening Act alumni and friends. Master classes are held via Zoom (a video conferencing service that you can use for free on computers, tablets, or smartphones, as well as the option to call in from a non-smart phone) on Thursday afternoons from 2:00-3:30 PM.  

On April 23, Alumni met for the first Digital Masterclass, Creativity in the time of COVID, a conversation with Cathleen Carr about the opportunities to create and share art in these turbulent times. Next, Alumni attended, Voice, Body, and Breath on April 30. Led by Josh Dawson (Broadway’s “Beautiful,” “Cyrano,” Britton & the Sting), this workshop walked young actors through practices in maintaining and improving their instrument with warmups and exercises they can do from home.

Coming up on May 7, join us for Screenwriting Fundamentals, an exploration of the ins and outs of writing for the screen with writer/director Jess Carson (“The Flash,” “Project Oasis,” “Only Human”), setting participants up to dive into their own projects!

#TheShowMustGoONLINE

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, Opening Act students have seen all aspects of their lives cancelled. Opening Act, committed to showing up for students, quickly pivoted to online programming, providing critical social and emotional support for young people sheltered in place in NYC. In following through on this commitment, on Thursday, April 30th, Opening Act launched #TheShowMustGoONLINE, a campaign to raise critical funds to hold our first-ever, (virtual) end of year student performances on May 15th. Every young person deserves their #HighSchoolProud moment! 

Read more about Opening Act and #TheShowMustGoONLINE in this interview with Kyra Sedgwick in PEOPLE titled: “For Kyra Sedgwick, the ‘Show Must Go Online’ for High School Theater Kids: Here’s How to Help

Everyday Celebrations & Accomplishments

Opening Act Digital workshops have sparked joy, play, and connection across screens all over New York City. Teaching Artists are embracing this opportunity to re-imagine the devising process and provide a “brave” space for ensembles to share their support and encouragement for each other…

“One student checked in at a 1, saying she feels sad/red because of school work and pressure and that it’s just not been a good day. She checked out at a 5! And moved her body like she was floating. I asked to give her movement a word if she could and she said, ‘I FEEL LIKE I”M FLOATING IN THE AIR!’ Ugh. I love what we do.”

“A student’s checkout for today: ‘I feel like a 5, this always brings me good vibes, I’m always laughing, I always leave with a smile on my face!’ and then all of the ensemble said to everyone ‘I love you’ after we closed with a virtual fist bump and ‘I got your back’”

“At our checkout, all of our students agreed that they’ve been feeling especially depressed this week–especially sad not to be able to go outside. But then one of the students said about our workshop, ‘But this helps. This really does help.’ All the students then shared what a difference it made in their week to be able to see one another and laugh together.”

“In the chat box, as we were finishing our session, students kept typing things like ‘we love you guys’, ‘LOVE’ and heart emojis.”

LOOKING AHEAD

May is our last month of Digital Workshops, with ensembles busy gearing up for our culminating event of the Spring semester, YESfest! We’re looking forward to commemorating Opening Act students’ creativity and resilience at YESfest and beyond, offering continued opportunities and events in the summer months.

Digital YESfest

On Friday, May 15th, Opening Act is hosting our first digital YESfest! Our free annual festival of original student work is now online, bringing the entire community together to celebrate an incredible year of storytelling. Audience members can join in the fun from home and watch these young actors shine. Tune in on Facebook Live from 6 PM – 7:30 PM for a festival of student writing, improv games, original scenes and monologues!

Alumni Development Fund

Graphic by Act 2 Fellow, Ian Reynoso

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Opening Act’s Alumni Development Fund.  As part of our ongoing commitment to our alumni in the pursuit of their goals and aspirations, we recognize that financial realities often stand in the way of young artists and professionals. With that in mind, we are pleased to offer alumni of Opening Act programming awards of $100-$500 to pursue specific professional goals and artistic projects.  

The application, along with more information, is available at this link. Contact Matthew Greene with any questions or if you want to look at a sample application. Applications are due May 15 so don’t delay!

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