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 2021 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.

Please visit for more information.

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)

Black Arts Summer Intensive

Dates: 2021 Dates TBD
Duration: 5 Weeks, 30 Hours of Class per Week
Audition Required

The 2021 Black Arts Summer Intensive will be operated through the Billie Holiday Theatre. Please contact the BAI Administration Team at for more information.

Summer 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.