MISSION & VALUES

“Opening Act gives me a light of hope that I can get somewhere in life.”

Odley I Opening Act Alum (Brooklyn)

Committed to advancing arts equity in NYC and beyond, for twenty years, Opening Act has actively centered the voices of students of color through free, high-quality theater programming.

Opening Act targets the city’s highest need schools with disproportionately less access to resources than other schools in the system. These schools are often flagged by the DOE as “under-performing” and are at risk of closure. Since inception, we have grown to reach over 5,000 young people. Today, our free, year-long, after school theater program serves 57 schools throughout New York City, including our partnership with the city’s alternative school district, where we work with young people who are pursuing a high school equivalency diploma in a formal educational environment because their education was disrupted by a life event.

high res curtain call

Opening Act students proudly take their bows after performing their culminating original plays at a professional NYC theater. Photo by JG.

Opening Act’s theater programs provide students attending New York City’s most under-served public schools the opportunity to gain confidence, pride, and the knowledge that they can succeed at anything in life.

At Opening Act, these values guide our work, our community, and our creativity:

RESPECTING
“Respecting is reassurance of yourself. Recognizing and acknowledging others with consideration for generations to come.” –Caleb Grandoit, Alum

SHOWING UP
“Showing up is being yourself and knowing that being yourself is enough and knowing that you make all of us better.” –Jacob Matthews, Alum

LISTENING
“Listening is the only way to really make us connect with each other and it’s the only way that we can really access our true, authentic selves.” –Jeremiah Thompson, Alum

YES, AND-ING
“YES, and-ing is affirmation that, in this moment, you are enough. That whatever you are working on is enough. Whatever you bring to the table is enough. Whatever project you are working on and whoever you may be collaborating with and whatever you are creating together is enough.” –Brittany Adebumola, Alum

EMPOWERING
“Empowering is the act of inspiring others. Each generation is supposed to inspire each other to want to do better and create something new.” –Nathasha Bell, Alum

INCLUDING
“Alone we are strong but together we are stronger.” –Joshua Sanchez, Alum

Read about our programs and our impact.