School Programs

Working within public schools is an important area of development for Compass Arts. Our goal is to offer arts-based programming that is accessible to all students, regardless of income, ability, or other factors; is aligned with the New York state curriculum; and promotes leadership, academic and social skills. In spring 2024, we are piloting two after school programs: “Say It Othello” at Beacon High School and a musical theatre program at South Avenue Elementary School.

If you would like to learn more about Compass Arts bringing an after school program to your school, please email and let’s start a conversation!

Say It Othello: A Shakespeare Workshop for BIPOC/LGBTQAI+ and Allied Youth

Being different can be hard. We all know that. We have often felt insecure, unsure, and even shameful for being ourselves. This feeling of uncertainty and lack of confidence starts at a young age for most of us and continues into adulthood, showing up in subtle, sometimes subconscious ways. Theatre is a great avenue, almost a remedy, to these feelings and can lead to a life of wonder, possibility, and laughter. Through theatre training or simply performing, people can express themselves in ways that surprise them, opening up new possibilities for self-discovery, self-love, and self-confidence.

Othello is a tragedy about a black general navigating predominantly white spaces, whose downfall is brought about by the deceit of his white best friend, Iago. It is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies. Not surprisingly, the themes within this piece of theatre resonate as much today as they did in 1603 when Othello was written.

We at Compass Arts want to help facilitate a celebration of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ teens and their allies where they share, explore, and rewrite personal narratives by exploring text from Shakespeare’s famous play, Othello. In this 7-week theatre workshop, students take part in 3-hour weekly sessions that include theater exercises, reading, and discussion of Othello and other texts, and devise their own 5-7 min performance pieces along with an ensemble piece, rooted in their discoveries of self, culminating in “SAY IT,” a performance celebrating the diversity of experience and culture within our community.

This project is an avenue for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ teens and their allies to unite as one and go together, wherever the destination, supporting each other as life unfolds.

Make a Musical, at South Avenue Elementary School

In spring 2024, Compass Arts debuts a new after school theatre program in partnership with South Avenue Elementary School in Beacon. Students at South Avenue meet with Compass Arts teaching artists two days a week after school to rehearse a half-hour musical, while learning basic theatre and singing skills. They’re also making props, costumes and set pieces! The eight-week process culminates in a performance for students and parents. The program, funded in part by BOCES is free for participants and is open to students in grades 3-5.

Plan, Write, Shoot, Edit! A Free Filmmaking Workshop

During February and March 2023, Compass Arts partnered with the Foundation for Beacon City Schools to offer two free filmmaking workshops for Rombout Middle School students. During each of the four-week sessions, students conceptualized, wrote, directed and starred in an original short film. Pizza and snacks were provided, along with iPads for shooting footage. The two completed films premiered at the Beacon City School District Student Film Festival in May 2023.