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

Odley I Opening Act Alum (Brooklyn)

Founded in 2000 by actors and educators, Opening Act seeks to level the playing field for our students by specifically partnering with NYC schools that have lower than average graduation rates (as few as 33% of students graduating in four years) and an evident lack of theater programming.

Opening Act gives high school students opportunities to develop leadership, community, and commitment through its innovative, high quality, free, After-School Theater Program.

We strive to remain a consistent and positive force in our students’ lives, regardless of fluctuating school budgets and priorities.

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, we strive to maintain the following values onstage, behind the scenes, and in the classroom:

Respect: We treat each other with respect and care.

Showing Up: We believe that by showing up you are supporting your community with concrete, consistent action.

Listening: We are committed to valuing and truly listening to each other’s ideas, stories, and experiences.

YES And-ing: We maintain positive attitudes and always make our partners look good. We do not discount or dismiss the ideas, stories, or experiences of others–we see the value in them.  

Empowering: We want everyone to use their voice and feel powerful. We empower each other to believe in our own talents and abilities and be the best versions of ourselves.

Including: We seek to make people feel welcome and valued.

Read about our programs and our impact.