Anti-racism training and curriculum revision for Opening Act’s After School Theater Program

Opening Act wants to improve its after-school programs, which are offered to both students in public schools with lower than average graduation rates and those in alternative high schools after previously facing court involvement, incarceration, homelessness, or teen pregnancy.

Opening Act theater programs teach improvisation, acting technique, and writing exercises that culminate in a performance of students’ original work at a professional off-Broadway theater. Since 2013 Opening Act has provided its teaching artists with anti-racism workshops as part of their training, but due to budget and capacity constraints this training covers on introductory material, and anti-racism strategies are not integrated into the program curriculum. Specifically, the current training does not provide specific anti-racism practices that teaching artists could apply in the classroom when complex themes or issues arise during the improv and theater process. With this grant, Opening Act will provide for staff participation the “Undoing Racism Workshop,” created specifically for educators and run by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. Further, Opening Act will integrate key concepts from the workshop into their curriculum and develop additional staff training on how to implement the new curriculum.

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