“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 was founded in 2000 to address a clear need for teens attending the most under-served public high 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.
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 and transformative arts centered experiences.
Opening Act partners with city public schools to close the access gap to high quality arts education programming for their students. Since inception, we have grown to reach over 7,000 young people. Today, our free, year-long, after school theater program serves 55 schools throughout New York City, including our partnership with District 79, 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.
Opening Act’s flagship program is the full-year After-School Theater Program that teaches improvisation, acting technique, and writing exercises to help students unleash their creativity, foster collaboration, and develop leadership and problem-solving skills. Programs culminate in original productions created and performed by the students in professional Off-Broadway theaters. 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 dynamics. Our staff, Board of Directors, and broad community of supporters are committed to amplifying the brilliance of our students’ with a resounding YES-and to their powerful stories and voices.
In addition to our After-School Programs, Opening Act offers a Summer Leadership and Arts Conservatory, College and Career Readiness Program, Student Leadership Company, and a robust Alumni Network.
Photo by Sherrie Nickol