“Opening Act has not only taught me the craft of acting, but things that I can apply to life such as diligence and determination.”

Mila | Opening Act Alum (Brooklyn)



Opening Act’s free, year-long, After School Theater Program is based on a highly-structured, goal-oriented curriculum that teaches improvisation, acting technique, and writing exercises to help students unleash their creativity, foster collaboration, and develop leadership and problem-solving skills.

We engage our students in complicated discussions using theater and writing exercises specifically designed to help them amplify their voices so they can express their perspectives and create original theater pieces that directly address the contemporary social issues they face on a daily basis. 

We provide a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment so that our students feel empowered to share their stories.

The culmination of each school-year program is an original production, created, written, and performed by the students in a professional theater. Read about our impact.

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Opening Act students perform their original play, LOST IN FLIGHT,
for a packed audience at a professional NYC theater. Photo by JG


Annual Fall Gathering  Students from all our programs gather to share their experiences, show off their improvisation skills, collaborate on stage with professional actors, and become part of a larger acting community.

Saturday Master Class Program  Our Master Classes with industry professionals are a key element of our strategic programming and help students learn more about critical processes and skills for their future, such as:

  • Auditioning for college theater programs
  • Applying to college and for financial aid
  • Career options in the creative arts

Broadway / Off-Broadway Show  Connecting what they learn with the excitement of seeing some of the best professional theatrical performances is a critical tool in the Opening Act mission, and each year we provide students who would otherwise likely never have the means or opportunity to attend a live performance with the chance to see a play.

Workshops with Professional Artists  Throughout the year, creative professionals – including cast members from Broadway shows, playwrights, hip-hop and spoken word artists, and designers – teach a workshop or talk with our students about their personal journeys.

Student Leadership Company  The Opening Act Student Leadership Company (SLC) comprises students from each of our program sites who have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to Opening Act.  These students meet monthly throughout the year to deepen their leadership training and to devise original theatrical pieces they perform in the community. 

This year, SLC students had the opportunity to perform in front of more than 500 guests at our 10th Annual Benefit Play Reading at New World Stages.  The SLC also performed at the executive headquarters of HBO.  As part of our new corporate partnership engagement strategy, SLC students participated in mentoring and career skills development workshops with IHS Markit Financial Services. 

Opening Act Scholarship Program  We encourage all of our students to apply to the Opening Act Scholarship Program to use toward college tuition or for professional artistic classes.

Opening Act Theater Arts and Leadership Conservatory  We have deepened our program impact through student participation in our two-week intensive Summer Arts and Leadership Conservatory when students take their leadership and artistic skills to the next level by immersion in a wide-ranging curriculum that includes courses in Shakespeare, Voice, Scene Study, and Leadership, and culminates in an end-of-conservatory opportunity to showcase their artistic and leadership skills.


Emmy Award-winning actress and Opening Act Artistic Advisory Board Member Uzo Aduba works with students at Opening Act’s Theater Arts and Leadership Conservatory.

Read about our impact.