Black Arts Institute

“Pieces of my soul were returned to me, and I didn’t even know they were missing.” -Institute Alum

The Billie Holiday Theatre and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting are excited to launch the Black Arts Institute. The Institute offers two programs in 2020 exploring the history of the contemporary Black theater tradition with courses held at the Billie Holiday Theatre in Brooklyn, NY.

The Black Arts Institute offers both a one-week winter and five-week summer comprehensive exploration of the history of the contemporary Black theater tradition, led by a world-class faculty including Stephen McKinley Henderson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Phylicia Rashad, Michele Shay and Sonia Sanchez. Both programs highlight certain 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.

I am honored to participate in lifting the legacy of The Black Arts Theatre Movement. Without those who moved mountains none of us could have climbed them.
-Stephen McKinley Henderson (Broadway and Film Veteran)

2021 Programming has not yet been announced by the Black Arts Institute. More information can be found at

Black Arts Summer Intensive

Dates: July 6 – August 7, 2020
Duration: 5 Weeks, 30 Hours of Class per Week
Tuition: $3250
Audition Required

Black Arts Winter Immersion

Dates: January 20 – 24, 2020
Application Deadline: November 30th
Duration: 1 Week, 30 Hours of Class
Tuition: $650
Audition Required

Course Descriptions:

  • Voice and Movement Warm-Up: Vocal and physical warm-up classes at the beginning of the day.
  • Script Analysis: An immersive page-by-page analysis of the plays we’ll focus on in the intensive. Teachers may bring in historic documents, literature, videos, etc. to fully explore the culture of the time.
  • Monologue Workshop (Winter): Students will present monologues from the Black Arts Movement era in a class setting for individual feedback and coaching.
  • Scene Study (Summer): Working on assigned scenes from Black Arts Movement era plays.
  • The Black Arts Movement: A speaker series open to the public. Topics will include the common themes within the Black Arts Movement.
  • Music: An in-depth exploration of the key role of music in the Black Arts Movement.
  • Movement and Dance: Learning the correlation between movement/gesture and historical period. Learning various dances such as Juba.
  • Voice and Dialect: Voice and speech work, leading to an investigation of selected dialects
    of Black English.
  • Historical Lectures: Helmed by Dr. Indira Etwaroo, this lecture series will highlight critical moments of the African American socio-cultural experience.

*faculty availability subject to change.


Admission to the Black Arts Summer Intensive is by audition and interview. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Student visas for international study are not available for this program at this time.

1. Click Here to Submit the Online Application Form.
2. Login info will be emailed to you after submission. Login to ADLERnet to upload your Headshot (or any photo of you) and Resume.
3. Once submitted, an associate will be in contact with you. If you cannot audition in person, please submit a video audition using the Video Audition Form.

1. A performance of one contemporary/realism monologue no longer than 90 seconds in length.

Summer Intensive NYC AUDITIONS:
**At this time, in-person auditions have been suspended in lieu of video auditions through the Video Audition Submission Form.
If you have any questions, email Melissa, Program Coordinator

Winter Immersion NYC AUDITIONS:
*Video Auditions are also being accepted and can be submitted through the Video Audition Submission Form.