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Staging Pride: Queer Youth Theater

Final Sharing
Wednesday, December 13 from 5-6:30pm
The Center #301, 208 W 13th Street, New York, NY

Staging Pride's Fall session spanned over 10 weeks and involved queer students from all across NYC coming together to build community, become educated in the history and culture of their identity, and learn from industry professionals about the arts and performance. Through a process of developing their own original works, exploring the work of famous queer artists, and devising as a collective, our students' work has culminated into a final showcase that is truly inspiring and entertaining. We could not be more proud of our students work and we encourage all of you reading this to come celebrate it with us. To attend the Staging Pride Final Sharing, RSVP using the link below. Attendance is free!

A Home For Queer Youth

Staging Pride: Queer Youth Theater is National Queer Theater's new free after-school theater education program for LGBTQ youth ages 12-18. This fun community-building program brings together queer and trans teens each semester in New York City to make new friends and explore LGBTQ+ history and culture through theater.

Students will work with our expert Teaching Artists Amy Ackerman and Kevin Smith Kirkwood to create an original show about LGBTQ youth issues performed at the end of the program, take field trips to see Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, and experience cutting-edge LGBTQ art. Free snacks and MetroCards are provided.

Staging Pride is made possible by our partnership with The Center and The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation.

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Amy Ackerman (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based creative capacity builder, cabaret artist, art model, and body advocate. Their one-person show, Big Kitty in the Big City, explores body liberation and navigating the theatrical industry as a person of size (the Tank, Club Cumming). As a member of Honest Accomplice Theatre, they have devised and performed numerous plays including ReconFIGUREd (the tank, University Settlement, college tours), Engineers not found, Unmuted, and the Trans Literacy Project (YouTube, College tours).

As an educator, they lecture at universities about fatness as a queer embodiment, teach body love workshops and dance classes and helped devise a gender and Trans inclusivity training with the New York Commission on Human rights.

As a regular performer in Lance Horne’s spontaneous cabaret, they’ve graced stages (and public spaces) all around New York with the ‘Monday’s Collective’ (Club Cumming, Joe’s Pub, House of Yes, Tavern on the Green).

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Kevin Smith Kirkwood (he/him) was most recently seen in the Off Broadway return of Kinky Boots the Musical as the Referee Angel! He made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and earned a 2005 New York Innovative Theater Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor for “It's Karate, Kid!” Kirkwood would go on to receive a New Hampshire Theater Alliance Award Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor for "Violet" and won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his performance in "RENT." After performing in the entire Broadway run of the Tony Award Winning Musical “Kinky Boots,” Kevin went on to play the role of the 'Scarecrow' in the Broadway at Sacramento Music Circus production of “The Wiz,” which received rave reviews.

In the tv/film world, Kirkwood recently guest starred on 'Katy Keene' on the CW Network, and Kirkwood stars as 'Roxy' in the recently released horror feature film entitled “Condemned” (written and directed by Eli Morgan Gesner and also starring Dylan Penn and Lydia Hearst). He can also be heard voicing the character DJ on Season two of Marvel's Wolverine Podcast: The Lost Trail.

Kirkwood created and stars in the wildly popular and critically acclaimed solo show, "CLASSIC WHITNEY: ALIVE!" which has played to sold out houses at Joe’s Pub, The Cutting Room, on cruise ships around the world, and even a command performance at the Whitney Houston estate.

Educated by the Jesuits (St. John's Jesuit Toledo and Fordham University) who instilled a love for youth, service, and the arts, Kirkwood has worked as a teaching artist for NYC nonprofits like The Leadership Program and Arthouse Astoria. As a director, Kevin has directed numerous NYC cabaret and solo shows and also productions of Kinky Boots, Little Shop of Horrors, and Aint' Misbehavin' at the Weathervane Theater in New Hampshire and the Hillbarn Theater in California's Bay Area. Art is power!


LGBTQ youth face serious challenges in daily life, due to systemic and interpersonal homophobia and transphobia. 

33% of LGBTQ youth reported receiving physical threats or harm due to their identity.

The Trevor Project’s 2020 Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health.

40% of NYC’s 3800 youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ.

The Ali Forney Center

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