Billie Holiday Theatre Partnership

November 20, 2017

New York, NY – November 20, 2017:  The Stella Adler Studio of Acting, in partnership with The Billie Holiday Theatre at RestorationART, today announced the first-ever Black Arts Theater Winter Immersion course, which will be taught by a world-class faculty in Brooklyn, New York, home to the largest Black community in the nation. The course is a week-long comprehensive review of the history of the contemporary black theater tradition, highlighting key historical moments like the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Power Movement and the genesis of the Negro Ensemble Company, as well as many black theaters that emerged during the Black Arts Movement. Students will leave with an understanding of the aesthetic, socio-cultural and historical components involved in bringing contemporary black theater to life.

The course also marks the beginning of a partnership between the Stella Adler Studio and The Billie Holiday Theatre. The Intensive is the first of a series of collaborations between the two organizations, which will include a panel discussion with the founders of the Black Arts Theater course and a full-length summer course on the subject.

“I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to team up with the historic Billie Holiday Theatre and be of service to Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Michele Shay, Stephen McKinley Henderson and Phylicia Rashad on the Black Arts Theater Winter Immersion,” said Tom Oppenheim, Stella Adler Studio Artistic Director. “The accumulated wisdom these four masters contain is frankly and truly unfathomable. I’m proud to be able to support their generous effort to pass on information they uniquely possess not only about the Black Arts Theater cannon but also the art of acting and theater itself.”

The Studio continues its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, recently hosting a conversation about arts and activism with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Toni Morrison and Sonia Sanchez and participating in Broadway’s Ghostlight Project for inclusivity and diversity. The course is the first and only of its kind in the country, and will be taught by a veteran faculty that includes Broadway and film veterans Stephen McKinley Henderson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Phylicia Rashad and Michele Shay.

“What could be more important right now within the landscape of the American Theatre than ensuring that the next generation of theater artists step into the future with the fullest understanding of the critical significance and contributions of Black Theater institutions, works and pioneers,” said Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Executive Director, The Billie Holiday Theatre. “We are honored to partner with Stella Adler Studio and a world-class faculty who have had such a deeply meaningful place in Black Theatre and at The Billie Holiday Theatre in Bedford Stuyvesant.”

The Black Arts Winter Intensive runs from January 16 to January 20, 2018  and all classes will be held at The Billie Holiday Theatre located at 1368 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, NY.

“I am honored to participate in lifting the legacy of the Black Arts Theater Movement,” said Stephen McKinley Henderson, industry veteran and course instructor. “Without those who moved mountains none of us could have climbed them.”

More information, including instructions on how to apply, is available online at

About The Stella Adler Studio of Acting

Established in 1949 by Stella Adler, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting was founded upon Adler’s belief in the supreme seriousness of her art, and has, for the last five decades, enriched every part of the American theater and film arts. Adler’s philosophies kept many well-known members of the theater coming back for her intelligent and passionate advice and the school has since trained many of the brilliant actors of our time, including Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Elaine Stritch, Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek. The Stella Adler Studio of Acting is a not-for-profit organization, which trains over 500 actors annually and also presents world-class lectures, poetry readings, jazz, classical music, theater, and dance theater events.

About The Billie Holiday Theatre at RestorationART (The Billie)

Founded in 1972 by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, The Billie Holiday Theatre is an OBIE and AUDELCO Award-winning theater devoted to the discovery of world-class storytelling with a focus on stories for, by and about people of African descent. The Billie boasts an illustrious alumni of directors, writers and actors, including Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, John Amos, Lloyd Richards, Sonia Sanchez, Ruby Dee, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Walter Dallas, Richard Wesley, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Ebony JoAnn, George Faison, Michele Shay and hundreds more. The Billie presents 3-4 mainstage productions annually; provides subsidized student matinees; commissions and premieres original works; and is part of the RestorationART Artistic Coalition, committed to the sustainability of Arts institutions serving audiences of African descent. For information:

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