“Every time I see my students, I remind myself that this is the most important thing I could be doing.”

Kobi Libii | Former Teaching Artist & Current Artistic Advisory Board Member

    Opening Act Teaching Artist Positions

    Application Deadline: July 9

    Organizational Background

    Opening Act was founded in 2000 to address a clear need for teens attending some of the most under-served public schools in New York City to feel a greater sense of empowerment and purpose in life. Our founders were actors and educators who knew they could offer students more opportunities, through theater, to develop leadership and communication skills, build self-confidence, and gain a strong sense of community. Since inception, we have grown to reach over 3,000 teens by serving 57 schools throughout New York City, including the city’s alternative school district, working with students who have been disconnected from traditional high schools for various reasons, including incarceration.

    Opening Act’s flagship program is the full-year After-School Theater Program for middle and high schools which culminates in original productions created and performed by the students in professional Off-Broadway theaters: YESfest. Our students create thoughtful and reflective narratives about issues they feel are important to explore, ranging from police brutality to economic inequity to love and family values. We say YES to our students’ powerful stories and voices.

    At this time, when so many of the issues Opening Act’s work addresses – social justice, education, the arts, equity – are gaining urgency because of national events, our programming is especially critical and relevant.

    In addition to our After-School Programs, Opening Act offers a Summer Arts and Leadership Conservatory, Post-Secondary Readiness Program, Student Leadership Company, and Alumni Network. 

    Opening Act is at a pivotal and compelling moment as an organization and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome new teaching artists to play a critical role in our next stage.

    Job Description:  Opening Act seeks Teaching Artists to join its highly collaborative team of professionals who are committed to living out Opening Act’s core values in our programs:

    • Respect
    • Showing Up
    • Listening
    • YES And-ing
    • Empowering
    • Including

    Opening Act Teaching Artists work in 2 person teams within one middle or high school campus site for the entirety of the school-year. Teaching Artists are guided by a Mentor Teaching Artist who has been with the organization for at least one year. Together, the team works to bring together a strong ensemble of students, giving them a foundation in improvisation, acting technique and playmaking. 

    Through Teaching Artist facilitation, student ensembles create a showcase of original scenes to present in December at their campus and a fully devised original production presented at an Off-Broadway theater in May.  

    Teaching Artists will be hired for the length of the school year (September-June) to work at 1-2 of our partnering campuses. Programs meet weekly for two hours during the fall and spring semesters. 

    Teaching Artists will be paid a workshop rate for their teaching time and an hourly meeting/training rate. Outside workshop paid hours include mandatory start of semester training, professional development, meeting time within co-teaching teams and various extracurricular student enrichments events throughout the year. 

    What can you expect teaching with Opening Act?

    • Programs will be taught in person for the 21-22 school year, following all DOE and CDC health protocols
    • Programs are team taught
    • Opening Act has an existing curriculum that guides teaching teams throughout the year
    • Our after-school programs are comprised of students opting in to participate while our District 79 programs serve students currently attending a specific D79 site within the school hours
    • Teaching Artists are afforded a long-term opportunity to guide and develop young artists as our residencies last the entirety of the school year
    • Program staff provide exceptional support for teaching teams
    • Opening Act offers paid professional development (currently planned to be virtual for the 21-22 school year)

    Qualifications include:

    • Passionate about youth development 
    • Strong ability to engage and connect with youth (grades 6-12)
    • Improv and theater-making background
    • Excellent time management 
    • Extremely reliable 
    • Ability to complete administrative classroom tasks by assigned deadline (workshop logs, reporting hours, permission slip collection, etc.) 
    • Curiosity in exploring Opening Act’s approach to devising original theater
    • Commitment to and willingness to develop anti-racist practices within the classroom as an educator, artist and collaborator 

    Additional skills sought, but not required:

    • Experience working or learning in the NYC public school system
    • Experience working with court involved youth, homeless youth, and youth with high levels of trauma
    • Co-teaching experience 
    • Multilingual 

    To be considered for this position, you must also be available for our virtual Fall Teaching Artist training, which will take place on September 9th and 10th.

    This is a part-time position. 

    Opening Act seeks to create a work environment and organizational culture that is reflective of the students with whom we work. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

    Salary: Starting at $140 per workshop, $25 per hour for meetings and trainings

    Application Instructions: Please send a teaching resume and artistic resume along with a cover letter that addresses why you would like to work with Opening Act and a moment in your life when someone said “YES” to you that you believe has led you to where you are today

    Please send all materials to

    Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. No phone calls please. We will contact only those applicants with whom we plan to set up an interview.

    Photo by Sherrie Nickols