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“Distancing” brings young actors together in Essex County.

Summer vacation brings special opportunities for young actors in the North Country, and even the virus situation can’t stop an Adirondack tradition.  Each year, the Depot Theatre in Westport, New York, continues a long tradition of acting and audition workshops for young students. 

Two years ago, the Depot Theater absorbed the Boquet River Theater Festival to create the Depot Theatre Academy. This year, when the threat of COVID-19 arose, the program didn’t stop, the Academy just adapted.  The acting training moved outdoors, to the grounds of the Whallonsburg Grange, where organizers say they can provide a safe space for in-person learning.

See footage from the Academy sessions and enjoy Spotlight producer Paul Larson’s interview with Producing Artistic Director Kenney Green of the Depot Theatre.  The conversation covers Green’s thoughts on continuing the tradition for young folks, the possibility of live performances this year, and the ongoing celebration of diversity at the theatre.

Training during a pandemic

Acting coaches at the Depot Academy find some advantages to training students during the COVID-19 situation.

A long-standing commitment to diversity

In addition to the health crisis, another topic of great importance in the world of theatre, as well as the world at large, is diversity. The Vision Statement of the Depot Theatre reflects a strong commitment to diversity.

The Depot Theatre will have a robust, regional, and year-round presence by creating the highest of quality programs, building strong partnerships, and enhancing community engagement while promoting diversity in all that we do.

On May 31st, 2020, Green published this personal message on the Depot Theatre website:

“As the Producing Artistic Director of the Depot Theatre, I do not trivialize or take for granted this unique opportunity to stand in solidarity with the many Black artists in our industry and beyond who have shared their talents and given so much to our audiences in the North Country over our 42 year history.

You are seen, you are heard and your cries for equality do not and will not fall on deaf ears. I am in this with all of you and will continue to insist on nothing less than what is just and fair.”

Spotlight is made possible, in part, by the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park.  Spotlight is also supported by Hill & Hollow Music.