Bay Street Theater Launches a New Student Academy

The Bay Street Theater's 2019 Summer Intern production of Incognito by Nick Payne, photographed at the theater on Thursday, August 8, 2019. Michael Heller photo.

Bay Street Theater has announced the creation of the Bay Street Theater Student Academy, a program for children and teens serving the youth of the East End. Created by Bay Street’s director of education and community outreach, Allen O’Reilly, executive director Tracy Mitchell, and academy director Kayla Matters, the newly formed repertory hopes to empower a new generation of artists to discover theater as a powerful means of emotional expression, as well as a litany of other theoretical and technical concepts.

Learning outcomes for participating actors include developing a sense of community and collaboration, exploring art as a means of emotional expression, building confidence and public speaking skills, motivation and commitment, developing leadership skills and being a good role model.

Bay Street Theater Academy launches in January 2022 with a Character Study Class. In the workshop, students age 12 to 18 may choose any leading role from plays and musicals to study in depth. From there, they will conduct a thorough examination of that character’s arc and journey throughout the respective show, working on selected songs, scenes, and monologues.

The goal is for students to gain a first-hand experience of the work that goes into playing a lead role on any stage, whether it be Broadway, regionally, or elsewhere. Students work one-on-one with music director Bobby Peterson and professional dancer and choreographer Ross Thompson to develop their songs, and with director Kayla Matters on scene and character work to deepen their understanding of the text, through lyric and script analysis. Other Guest Artists will join to provide a variety of creative experiences for all.

The 10-week class will culminate with the students presenting their roles, songs, and scenes for family, friends, and members of the community on Wednesday, April 6, at 7 p.m. The class will begin Monday, January 31, and will meet every Monday and Wednesday through April 6 from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuition for the program is $300. Need based scholarships are available.

Every performer must be fully masked for the duration of each rehearsal; in order to perform unmasked during tech week and for each performance, each performer must provide a negative PCR test from their medical provider, as well as a negative rapid test prior to each performance. Safety procedures will be updated according to all current Federal and New York State guidelines.

For information or to register, visit