Return to the home page

What's Free or Cheap in NYC?
Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing

Custom Search
10 Steps to Successful Homeschooling What's Free or Cheap in NYC? Ask Laurie / RAQ Travels with Laurie Newsletter
Laurie Block Spigel
Classes & Lectures
Photo Gallery           
Poems by Laurie
Contact Laurie
FAQ (testing etc.)
Articles & Reviews       
Books & Resources
Favorite Kids' Books
Language Arts
Math & Economics
Critical Thinking
Social Studies
Foreign Languages
Art & Architecture
Standards, etc.     
Activities & Crafts
Physical Activities
Early Childhood
Special Ed
Gifted & Talented
About College/Teens
NYC High Schools
Road & Field Trips
Art by Kids
Poems by Kids
Reviews by Kids
Other Sites        
Blogs, etc.
Volunteer / Interns

Index of Listings by Category

See our pages on specific Physical Activities and Travels with Laurie: Summer.

Don't neglect the beaches: Rockaway, Brighton Beach and Coney Island, are accessible by subway. Orchard Beach, a perfect crescent, can be reached by taking the #6 to its final stop in the Bronx, and changing to a local bus.

Here's a picture from Laurie's All Girls Literature Group in Inwood (2009 - 2010)

Jill Reading

Back to top

Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing

Learning Express Library is a vast on-line resource from the Public Library system. All NYC library users can log onto the Brooklyn Public Library site and use the "Learning Express Library," full of interactive tutorials. Go to Brooklyn Public Library and click on "Articles and Databases" in the upper left hand side of the page. Click on "Career," then click on "Learning Express Library." You will be prompted to enter your 14-digit library card number (found on the back of your library card below the bar code). If you are a patron of any of the libraries throughout NYC, soon all cards will be useable in every borough. This site has a wealth of resources including: all Adobe applications: Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop; all Microsoft applications: multiple versions of Office from 2007 to 2008 (Access, Word, Excel, Outlook), Project, Publisher, SharePoint Designer, Visio, Windows 7 (Basic to Advanced), Vista and XP, Corel WordPerfect (Basic to Advanced); and the site also has Elementary, High School, GED, College Preparatory, College Level, Adult, Job Search, U.S. Citizenship and Spanish tutorials.

The NYPL has a great site, TumbleBookLibrary, with tons of kid's e-books that are displayed on your screen. Your child can either read them, or have them read aloud by the computer. Great graphics, fast loading, super fun. And see also Summer Reading 2008, another NYPL project.

"Two-fers" are discounts that allow you to purchase half-price tickets at the box office (or a similar deal). Anyone can get them by sending a SASE to School Theater Ticket Program, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1113, New York, NY 10036, with a written request telling them how many you want (why not ask for a dozen) and to which type of events -- such as Broadway plays or the New York City Opera.

See also:

Please remember Etiquette for Live Performances.



MN (continued)





See also:

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing: NYC

The Uni Project new

The Uni Project lists free pop-up open-air readings rooms in NYC's plazas, parks, and public spaces. Check their website for an upcoming list of locations. Find a pop-up library in an outdoor setting, perhaps an architecturally interesting space.

Columbia Splash

Columbia University hosts Columbia Splash in mid-November at their Morningside Heights campus. In 2013 it is on Saturday, November 16. This is similar to the NYU Splash event, but with less of an emphasis on mathematics The materials fee is $20 with fee waivers available.

Girls Write Now

Girls Write Now provides mentors for young [female] writers.

The Shakespeare Project (NYC)

The Shakespeare Project gives free performances in parks and public spaces throughout the city.

MTA's "Poetry in Motion" Program (NYC)

Look around you on the bus or subway and you may see cards bearing poems. The "Poetry in Motion" program is a joint project of the Metroplitan Transit Authority and the Poetry Society of America.

The Public Theater (NYC)

The Public Theater was founded by Joseph Papp as the Shakespeare Workshop and is now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, dedicated to embracing the complexities of contemporary society and nurturing both artists and audiences, as it continues Joseph Papp's legacy of creating a place of inclusion and a forum for ideas. It is the producer of Shakespeare in the Park.They have a mobile unit that produces Shakespeare plays, performed FREE in all five boroughs. In 2015 they did Romeo & Juliet; in 2016 they did Hamlet: Hamlet.

NYC Parks Department Afterschool Programs (NYC)

The NYC Parks Department offers city-wide Afterschool Programs (from 3-6 p.m.) and the Teens at Parks (TAP) program (from 6-9 p.m.), with classes in the arts as well as cultural and recreational sport opportunities for kids. Auditions for the City-wide Talent Show are held in April and May with a possible performance in June. Call for dates and locations at the NYC hotline number: 311. Manhattan (212) 408-0246; Brooklyn (718) 965-8938; Queens (718) 520-5918; Bronx (718) 430-1825; Staten Island: (718) 390-8020. Check the website for details.

NYC Parks Department Multimedia Programs

RECYouth is a multimedia extracurricular program where you’ll learn video and audio production, photography, and graphic design while encouraging your creative expression. Learn to use digital tools and professional software to create and edit footage, recordings and photos. By the end of the course, you will have independently or collaboratively completed a final project and will have the opportunity to showcase your digital creations at a community screening or exhibit. Held in Computer Resource Centers around NYC, free to youth 17 and under.

Auditions (NYC)

Auditions, often advertised as open calls, offer opportunities for free educational experiences. It’s not just about getting the part. An audition by itself can be regarded as a free class. Try out a dance step, sing a song in front of a stranger, practice a monologue and get some feedback. Auditions also help your child to learn that rejection is a part of every ambitious life and not to take it personally. There is always plenty to learn along the way! Try getting a copy of Backstage, a newspaper that comes out every Thursday and lists theatrical and film auditions for everything from major motion picture and Broadway casting calls to NYU student films. Check them out online or at any newsstand.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

New York Public Library (NYC)

Each month the New York Public Library puts out a pamphlet of activities for children, and another for young adults and adults. As my kids grew up they learned computer skills, saw movies & puppet shows, took classes in magic tricks, origami, jewelry-making, visited history exhibits, all free at various branches of the NYPL. Pick up a free pamphlet at any branch and find a city-wide listing of activities. Be sure to check the bulletin boards of your branch for local events and schedule changes.

The main children’s branch is the Donnell Library Center at 20 West 53rd St. (between 5th and 6th Aves.), (212) 930-0800 (main switchboard), (212) 621-0618 (Donnell Center). Special features of the Donnell branch include a noncirculating collection of 18th- and 19th-century children's books available by appointment, a range of materials for adults about children's literature, and programs such as films, story hours, and guest appearances by authors and illustrators. The original Winnie-the-Pooh toys (owned by the real Christopher Robin), Mary Poppins's umbrella, and other unique items are on permanent display. For teens, the Donnell boasts the largest collection of magazines, hardcover, paperback and recorded books for seventh through twelfth grades, and the largest circulating collections of popular music CDs and popular films on DVD and VHS. [All of these can be reserved online and delivered to your local branch in Bronx, Manhattan, or Staten Island (Brooklyn and Queens have a sepearate system).] The Donnell’s surround sound stereo system allows playing music from their collection. A quiet study room is available for teens who don't want to work with music in the background. There are two groupings of comfortable lounge chairs--one near a 36-inch TV. Highlights of the collection include circulating books in Chinese and Spanish, a growing collection of graphic novels, and manga and popular anime series on DVD.

Services include Internet access reserved for teens, exhibit space for student artwork and afterschool programs. Bryant Park, behind the main 42nd St. branch, has an open air library in the summer, M-F, 11-5.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Theatre Development Fund (TDF) (NYC)

The Theatre Development Fund (TDF) is dedicated to encouraging and enabling diverse audiences to attend live theatre and dance in all their venues. They offer low-cost admission to many performances around town. They run the popular TKTS booth in Times Square.

In addition, they have special programs Talking Hands and Audio Describe! -- Arts-in-Education programs for elementary and secondary school students with hearing or vision loss in the tri-State area. Talking Hands provides access to the theatre for these mostly first-time theatergoers with hearing loss by simultaneously providing sign language interpretation and open captioning at performances of Broadway productions. Audio Describe! offers a similar opportunity for students who are blind or low vision by giving them access to audio described performances of Broadway shows.

They are happy to include homeschoolers. Proof of disability is requested (hearing/vision test results, doctor’s note etc.). They require a student/teacher ratio of one teacher to at least three students. Their next performances will be in fall 2008 and we will post information as it becomes available.

High 5 Tickets to the Arts (NYC)

Middle School and High School students can get tickets (up to two each) to shows, concerts, dances, theater, exhibits, for $5.00 or less and all they need is school ID or proof of age (13-18). Monday-Thursday they can get two tickets for $5 (at least one must be used by the student but the other may be used by an adult), weekends it’s one ticket for $5, purchasable at least one day in advance. Five teens buying tickets together get a free sixth ticket. Museum exhibition tickets are often free. For current listings, check out the High5tix website or call their hotline at (212) Hi5-TKTS ((212) 445-8587). Listings are also published and distributed around town. Pick up a copy at the NYPL, Ticketmaster, or subscribe online.

TRaC: High 5’s Teen Reviewers and Critics program (NYC)

TRaC offers selected junior and senior high school students the chance to attend and review free High 5 events and learn from artists and critics. For application, email with your mailing address and phone number.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Play by Play (NYC)

Play by Play is a theater guide written by and for teens, sponsored by the Theater Development Fund (TDF), the half-price Broadway ticket outfit. If you are interested in writing for Play by Play, , email a writing sample with a cover letter to Be sure to include your phone number, email address, your high school (or the fact that you are home-schooled), and current grade. Applications accepted year-round. They cannot accept all students who apply.

Play by Play magazine has an extensive list of theater internships for high school students. Learn theater tech or get a job clerking for a musical theater company. Great for college resumes. They have lots of listings online with loads of Manhattan theaters (and a few in Brooklyn and Queens) that will take teen volunteers and give them valuable experience. After checking out their internship listings, look at the Writing Opportunities that include Playwriting, Journalism, and Spoken Word and Hip-Hop Poetry. You can read reviews here from kids who took advantage of some of these experiences.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing: MN

Housing Works Bookstore Café (MN)

Every Monday at 11:30AM there is a free weekly story time at the Housing Works Bookstore Café at 126 Crosby Street, for kids four and under. Readings, sing-alongs and half-priced cappuccinos for parents and care givers.

CultureHub new

Located in lower Manhattan at 47 Great Jones St, 3rd fl, CultureHub offers free summer programs to teens ages 15-20, in the arts and technology: music, performance art, game design, coding, and more. Application deadline in 2016 is May 4th. For more info contact: / 917 463 391.

The Tribeca Performing Arts Center (MN)

A great resource for children's plays, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center (in the same building as the Borough of Manhattan Community College) in Lower Manhattan on Chambers St. near the West Side Hwy. They offer lots of plays and other types of performances for kids and they are VERY homeschooling friendly. Tickets for these weekday performances are about $5 each and the "teacher" (you) is free. (The same performance goes for $25 on weekends.) Make sure to mention you're a homeschooler when you call for tickets. You can also order on-line.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Poets House (MN)

Poets House, 10 River Terrace (western end of Chambers Street). (212) 431-7920. Home to a 40,000 volume poetry collection. Free and open to the public, the library includes books, journals, chapbooks, audio tapes, videos and electronic media. Open Tuesdays through Fridays 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Each Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., the Children’s Room at Poets House welcomes young readers (ages 4-10) and their adults. The Children’s Room offers a gigantic magnetic poetry board, a one-of-a-kind canopy of 1,000 origami cranes, and a wide selection of the best poetry for children, old and new.

Upcoming free events for kids:
Saturday, April 17, 11:00am–3:00pm
Grand Opening of the Constance Laibe Hays Children's Room at Poets HouseJoin us for a celebration of our new children's room! Festivities begin at 11:00am with U.S. Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman and teacher Linda Winston sharing poems from their anthology, The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination. The revelry continues with giveaways, creative writing exercises and other surprises

Saturday, May 1, 11:00am
"How Does a Bird Imagine? What Does a Tree Know?" with Richard Lewis This performance, art and writing workshop led by children's poet extraordinaire Richard Lewis features a parade in spring-time imagining hats.

Saturday, May 15, 11:00am
My Life as a Blue Elephant with Calef BrownAuthor and illustrator of prize-winning children's books, Calef Brown reads from his most popular works and reveals how he creates his illustrations and madcap poems. One parent's comment: "Calef Brown's poetry books for kids are such fun to read aloud. I highly recommend them for giggles and for inspiration to write your own poem (and illustrate it). Enjoy!"

Saturday, May 29, 11:00am
River of Words with Robert HassPulitzer Prize–winning poet Robert Hass shares his own poems of the natural world as well as those by children across the country. A discussion about connecting watersheds and imaginations through poetry and art will follow.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Shakespeare Lab Jr. (MN)

Located near Astor Place in the heart of the East Village, Shakespeare Lab Jr. is an intensive summer workshop program for highly motivated young people entering grades 9 - 12 . Participants spend five action-packed days inside the world-famous Public Theater working with our energetic staff of professional teaching artists to engage in a unique and exciting exploration of history’s’ most famous playwright--William Shakespeare.

Spanish Book Discussion Group (MN)

At McNally Robinson Bookstore, 50 Prince St., between Lafayette and Mulberry, (212) 274-1160. Practice your Spanish with Javier Molea, resident Spanish language literature expert. Javier used to own a bookstore in Montevideo, Uruguay, and people gathered on Saturdays to discuss books. Now he's bringing that tradition to New York. No preparatory reading is required; Borges, Cortazar, Fuentes, and all of the greatest Spanish writers are frequently discussed. Every Saturday at 12 p.m.

Word Play! (MN)

Early childhood literacy program for kids 3-5 at the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W 17 St at 7th Ave., (212) 620-5000. Monday, 11 a.m. - noon. Kids free, adults pay museum admission $10.

MCC Youth Theater Company Playwriting Unit (MN)

The MCC Theater Company has a Playwriting Unit that offers free weekly playwriting workshops for teens on Wednesdays at 4:30-6:30 p.m., and free acting labs for teens on Tuesdays 4:30-6:30 p.m. Classes are at the NYU campus starting fall 2006. For info, mailing list, or to set up an interview in the fall, go to the education page on the website, the youth company, or contact Katharine Ward at (212) 727-7722.

Urban Word (MN)

Urban Word has free, uncensored creative writing workshops, poetry slams, and other celebrations of the written and spoken word, for teens ages 13-19, at 242 W. 27th St. Suite 3B and other locations all over the city. Check out the website, choose your workshop and location, and sign up online.

The Possibility Project (MN)

The Possibility Project is a ten-month program for ages 13-19 that meets Thursdays or Saturdays. Open to all NYC teens, entrance is by audition and application. The project uses the performing arts and community action to empower teenagers to create safe, peaceful and productive lives and communities. While in this 10-month program, youth participants accomplish two things: (1) They write and perform an original Off-Broadway musical based on their lives and ideas for change around the most serious issues they face. (2) They create one-day community action projects to raise awareness or advocate for change around an issue they care about. Download the audition flier (pdf format).

CAT Youth Theatre (MN)

CAT Youth Theatre members include young people (in grades 6-12) from throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Members participate free of charge, and there is no audition for entrance.

The Youth Theater is for high school students, and the Junior Youth Theatre is for middle school students, ages 10-14.

CAT Junior Youth Theatre Free Summer Intensive August 23-28, 2010 No audition necessary Enroll Today- Spaces are Limited!!!! Application. Further information: (212) 652-2828

Through games, activities and improvisation, we will explore creating original theatre. By the end of the week you will have an opportunity to invite your friends and family to share some of your work. All participants are guaranteed a place in the Junior Youth Theatre which meets weekly from September to May. Enrollment is FREE OF CHARGE, but participation and commitment are essential.

Organized by the City University of New York's Creative Arts Team.

Young Playwrights (MN)

Young Playwrights, 431 Fifth Ave., 6th fl., between 38th and 39th Sts., was created by Stephen Sondheim in order to encourage and support the next generation of playwrights. Their advanced playwriting workshops are free to qualified high school students in the tri-state area. This is a year-long course, scheduled on the NYC public school calendar. In 2005-6 students met every Tuesday afternoon from 4:30 - 7 p.m. to study with master working artists and explore the art of playwriting with other young dramatists. Participants are also invited to attend Broadway and Off-Broadway performances during the school year. Students are selected on the basis of writing samples (one creative and one expository) and a recommendation from a teacher or mentor (they will accept a letter from a parent/teacher). Selected students must then come in for a personal interview before they are enrolled in the program. One homeschooled student who attended felt that their professionalism was a bit unyielding, so they expect you to take this opportunity seriously.

YPI also offers annual playwriting contests for three different age ranges: elementary, middle school, and high school. There is one national contest and one for NYC, with separate deadlines (in 2006 the NYC deadline is March 20th). Another distinction between the two contests is the age requirement. The national contest accepts only age 18 or younger, while the NYC contest has no age limit for high school students. Every single entry receives a written evaluation by a professional playwright and an invitation to their awards ceremony! Winning entries are awarded a cash prize and a brief excerpt of the plays are performed at the awards ceremony. (For details, go to their website and click on competitions.) At no charge, the staged performances of the YPI contest winners are well worth the viewing. All you need is a reservation to watch some of the finest new plays written by top local talent, but be careful, they may not all be suitable for young children.

See Contests, Competitions, and Quizzes for more competitions.

Camp Broadway (MN)

Camp Broadway is a theatre arts education company dedicated to helping students and families experience theatre in creative and meaningful ways. While they mainly work with schools, they have produced StageNOTES®: A Field Guide for Teachers, that give a a behind-the-scenes look at Broadway shows.

Camp Broadway and Columbia Scholastic Press Association Stringers Program (MN)

Attend a Broadway show, write articles and take workshops with renowned arts journalists. Free for NYC public high school students and homeschoolers with proof of NYC paperwork. Students will receive professional coaching and attend meetings at Columbia University, to learn how to conduct interviews and research, and learn how to write entertainment reviews and feature stories. For more info, call (212) 575-2929 or visit, click on Camp Broadway Stringers Program and download an application, due by April 11, or call (212) 854-9400 to request one sent to you. Applications that stand out will get a follow-up telephone interview; 20-30 students are accepted each year. This year, 2006, Stringers Program students will meet on April 30 and June 4, to receive assignments and direction. In between those dates they will see a show and then conduct an interview. The folks at Camp Broadway are hoping that homeschooled students will apply.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

New Victory Theater

New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd Street, (646) 223-3020. For kids and families. Tickets start at $7.

Word for Word (MN)

The Word for Word Series runs in the Bryant Park Reading Room (behind the NYPL at 42nd St.).

Manhattan Theater Club (MN)

The Manhattan Theater Club, at 311 West 43rd St., 8th fl. (bet. 8th & 9th Aves.), has an outstanding Family Matinee Program. High school students and the adult of their choice are welcome to attend this free series of events. (Note: Although they say this is for high school students, you only need to be over 13 years old, and each teen is allowed only one adult companion.) Call (212) 399-3000, ext. 253, and ask to be put on their mailing list, or reserve a space in their next matinee program. This event includes a free continental breakfast, a class that includes acting, directing, improvisation, and playwriting, (a brief lunch break) and free tickets to a matinee performance of a Broadway play, with a chance to question the cast after the production. Absolutely free, but you must make reservations because space is limited.

Youth Communication (MN)

Youth Communication offers free intensive summer writing workshops (a $3,000 value) for teens ages 15-19. The workshops usually run Monday – Thursday for six weeks, starting around July 1, and take place in midtown Manhattan. See the application form (pdf format). The deadlines are in mid-May. Daily MetroCards and lunch are provided, with an additional stipend offered to kids in foster care.

The 52nd Street Project (MN)

The 52nd Street Project (acting and playwriting) , (212) 333-5252, at 500 W. 52nd St., 2nd fl., between 10th and 11th Aves., only accepts local residential children (required by their grant funding to do so). I think their boundaries are 40th - 60th Sts., 8th - 12th Aves. This incredibly creative group takes neighborhood kids from ages 9-18, teaches them to write and perform original plays by working with professional directors and well-known actors in a professional setting. This can be a major event in a child’s life, at no cost whatsoever. Free tutoring in all subjects is offered to kids enrolled in this project. For more info contact the directors, Gus Rogerson or Carol Oaks, at (212) 333-5252. They also accept applications for interns city-wide, ages 18+. Performances are free and open to the public. Call to be put on their mailing list.

The Museum of Television & Radio (MN)

The Museum of Television & Radio, 25 W. 52nd St., near Sixth Ave. (212) 621-6800. Families come here to browse through thousands of classic children’s radio and TV programs. The Re-Creating Radio Workshop allows kids to produce their own old-fashioned radio dramas— and offers them take-home copies of their broadcasts, to boot. Adults $10, kids 13 and under $5.

Write Your Way through Art (MN)

The Dahesh Museum of Art at 580 Madison Ave. bet. 56th & 57th Sts., offers “Write Your Way through Art” for grades 3-12, a writing-intensive tour that allows students to reflect on works of art in their own poetry and prose. Call Laura McGowan, Education and Programs Dept.,, (212) 759-0606 x 249.

Children’s PressLine (MN)

Children’s PressLine (writing and journalism), at 122 Amsterdam Ave. (between 65th and 66th Streets), rm. 143, (mailing address: 163 Amsterdam Ave. PMB #149, New York, NY 10023) at the Urban Assembly Media High School at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bldg. Phone: (212) 501-1118. Children's PressLine (CPL) is a youth journalism program that gives kids the opportunity to represent themselves in the media. They work with kids (ages 10-18) and train them to be reporters (ages 10-13) and editors (ages 14 to 18) who work collaboratively to develop, research, report and write news articles that are published with CPL's professional media partners, including The New York Daily News, Metro NY and The New York Amsterdam News. SIgn up for the e-newsletter to find out when the next training session starts or contact Youth Coordinator Amanda Thieroff at athieroff @ or (917) 439-6723.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

The Lucy Moses School (MN)

The Lucy Moses School has a hugely popular music theater summer program, attracting a large number of upper-west-side residents. The summer day camp is fully booked by Feb., and many graduates return to work as interns. Contact Director Sean Hartley, at (212) 501 3360, to apply for summer internships for high school students ages 16-18 Choose to work as a drama intern (working as a camp counselor and helping the kids to rehearse) or as a design intern (working on costumes or set or props). Interns are paid a stipend, given travel expenses, and a letter of community service. They also get to perform in their own mid-summer intern talent show for the campers, parents & staff, and end up with a nice addition to their college resume.

The Walter Reade Theater (MN)

The Walter Reade Theater, located on the upper level of the 65th St. walkway at Lincoln Center, is known for its international film festivals. In summer they have a children’s festival with a different theme each year. Tickets are $2.00, weekend matinees. Year-round they host a series called Reel to Real which combines film clips with live performances and encourages audience interaction. For example, at a tribute to Louis Armstrong children were invited to bring their horns on stage and play a note with Wynton Marsalis and New Orleans jazz musicians. $15/ticket. Call for group rates and subscription info. See schedules online.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Writopia Lab (MN)

WritopiaLab is a NYC-based national community of young writers. In Brooklyn ( Starting Artists at 221 Smith Street and at Freebird Books & Goods Bookstore at 123 Columbia Street) and in Manhattan (155 W. 81st St., Suite A, (212) 222-4088). Award-winning creative writing workshops for kids 8 to 18. Writopia Lab is a community-funded organization. The workshops are not free, but they do offer a sliding scale: 40% of students pay reduced fees and 10% pay nothing at all. Full details are at Pricing Menu.

Hunter College Learning Lab (MN)

Free tutoring for children with IEPs. The Hunter College Learning Lab offers free twice-weekly tutoring in the 2008-09 school year for children with learning differences in grades 1-6 who have IEPs. Contact David Connor at 212-772-4746.

BAC International Film and Video Festival (MN / BK)

The BAC International Film and Video Festival (filmmaking and screening), at 421 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215, (718) 625-0080, screens films free of charge at various locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, such as the Brooklyn Museum, Ocularis at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg, and Sony Wonder Technology Lab in Manhattan. BAC showcases the highest scoring films and videos in the College Student category in a screening hosted by Long Island University's Media Arts Department in the Spike Lee Screening Room. The festival screens both short- and feature-length films made by youth (K-12), college, and independent filmmakers in various genres, and is the longest running event of its kind in Brooklyn. The BAC 39th International Film and Video Festival took place from April – June 2005. It is offered through the Brooklyn Arts Council, and details and schedule information can be found on their website.

Uptown Stories (MN)

Uptown Stories offers writing classes in Inwood (northern Manhattan), with a sliding scale for families in need. Recommended by homeschoolers.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing: BK

See also the BAC International Film and Video Festival

826NYC (BK)

826NYC, 372 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215, (718) 499-9884, is a non-profit group offering FREE writing workshops, Scrabble® tournaments, tutoring, and a summer camp where kids create a magazine (Lit Mag Boot Camp, see below). Additional activities, field trips and workshops, are free or low-cost. Recommended by homeschoolers. Drop-in tutoring for homework help, first-come, first-served, M-Th afterschool and Sunday afternoons during ther school year: Free weekend and evening workshops, participants chosen by lottery, for ages 6 – 18.

Summer Lit Mag Boot Camp (BK)

Apply by 30 April for the Summer Lit Mag Boot Camp in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Work with a select group of writers on a collection of articles, short stories, and essays destined for publication.

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Film Screenings (BK)

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Film Screenings are designed to introduce students to important films, instruct them on how to analyze cinema as an art form, and engage them in stimulating discussions on the issues raised. Each film in this series is chosen for its artistic excellence, the significance of its theme, and its curricular connections. Pre-screening preparation workshops and post-screening discussions with distinguished writers, artists, community leaders, and critics help to place the films and related works of literature in their social, artistic, and historical contexts. Admission around $6.

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Young Critics Institute (BK)

Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Young Critics Institute selects twenty high school juniors and seniors, ages 16 and 17, every year. (The director told me that occasionally a highly motivated sophomore has been accepted.) They hone critical writing skills, review BAM performances, meet critics and artists. Students met at BAM Mondays from 4-6 p.m., March to May, and review everything from Shakespeare to modern live music to visual arts. Applications, available on the website for fall and spring after the new year, are followed up by an interview. For more info call (718) 636-4130, press 2, or email

Brooklyn Arts Council (BK)

Brooklyn Arts Council, (718) 625-0080, 55 Washington St., suite 218, DUMBO (under the Manhattan Bridge) has an extensive directory of local arts groups on their website. Many offer free performances and discounted eduational opportunites.

Brooklyn Arts Exchange (theatre classes and workshops) at 421 Fifth Ave.,, (718) 832-0018, formerly known as Gowanus Arts Exchange. They offer classes in theatre (as well as dance, music, and movement) 6 days a week during the school year for students ages 18 months to 18 years. They also offer summer arts programs and classes for the whole family. 22% of their student body receives financial assistance.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (BK)

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens has a free monthly children’s story hour for ages 5 and up, every third Saturday from 11 a.m.- noon. Enter through the visitor center. Call (718) 623-7272 for info.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy (BK)

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, 334 Furman Street, Brooklyn, (718) 802-0603, presents free theater and dance events at the Tobacco Warehouse in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park every season. The park itself, which is an ongoing project, will stretch 1.3 miles along the East River from north of the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue. It includes Piers 1 - 6, each approximately the size of Bryant Park, and their uplands. Brooklyn Bridge Park will transform this underused and inaccessible stretch into a magnificent public space filled with lawns, recreation, beaches, coves, restored habitats, playgrounds and beautifully landscaped areas.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts (BK)

The Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts has international artists giving live performances for $4/ticket advance sales ($5 same day). Check out their website for a current calendar or call (718) 951-4600, ext. 25 to order tickets.

Brooklyn College (BK)

Brooklyn College has an excellent theater department and hosts many live performances on their campus. Contact their College Now Program for possible theater activities for high school juniors and seniors as part of this scholarship program.

Brooklyn Lyceum (BK)

The Brooklyn Lyceum, 227 4th Ave, Brooklyn, (866)gowanus (469-2687), presents a short films festival, Sundays at 7 p.m., $10.

Irondale Center (BK)

Irondale Center, 85 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn. Free teen theater program which meets on Saturdays Sept – June. In exchange for free tuition, students usher and assist in children’s classes. For more info contact Amanda Hinkle, Director of Education at 718-488-9233 ext 224 or Adults, see a show for free if you usher! Send an e-mail request to usher at

Writopia Lab (BK)

WritopiaLab is a NYC-based national community of young writers. In Brooklyn ( Starting Artists at 221 Smith Street and at Freebird Books & Goods Bookstore at 123 Columbia Street) and in Manhattan (155 W. 81st St., Suite A, (212) 222-4088). Award-winning creative writing workshops for kids 8 to 18. Writopia Lab is a community-funded organization. The workshops are not free, but they do offer a sliding scale: 40% of students pay reduced fees and 10% pay nothing at all. Full details are at Pricing Menu.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing: QN

Queens Council on the Arts (QN)

Queens Council on the Arts, (718) 647-3377, has an extensive list of local events in all the arts, including many free and cheap performances. Download their free Queens art map and neighborhood guides.

Queens Theatre in the Park (QN)

Queens Theatre in the Park, (718) 760-0064. Click on the link for kids and family. Tix are $12 each or $9 each if you buy for three or more shows.

Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (QN)

The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, offers Teen Spot, a free after-school program in Poetry, Lyrics, Creative Writing,Monologues, Drama, and Improvisation group and inividual exercises. (Mon and Tues, 4 - 6 p.m.).

Summer Arts Institute

The Summer Arts Institute is a tuition-free, intensive, arts program for New York City public school students entering grades 8-12, held at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School in Astoria, Queens. Students can major in dance, theater, instrumental music (band), vocal music, film, string orchestra or visual arts. The program is designed for students at an intermediate or advanced level of study in their chosen discipline.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing: BX

City Island Theatre Group (BX)

The City Island Theatre Group has its performances at Grace Episcopal Church Hall, 104 City Island Ave, City Island, NY (mailing address: PO Box 45, Bronx, NY, 10464-0045), (718) 885-3066. Tickets are $12 /general admission, $10/students. They usually have a kids’ show in June with open auditions, and other plays during the year also have parts for kids.

CenterStage Community Playhouse (BX)

The CenterStage Community Playhouse has performances at Foster Hall, 2474 Westchester Ave., Bronx, NY, 10461 (mailing address: PO Box 138, Westchester Square Station, Bronx, NY, 10461),, (718) 823-6434. tickets are $14/students, $16/general admission. For $15 ($20 for adults) a student age 16 or older can become a “member”, which entitles you to first audition notices, and free admission to play readings, special events (open mikes) and workshops, for a period of one year (Sept 1 – Aug 31). “Subscribers” can get a discounted season ticket (good for 1 ticket to each show in the 3-show season) for $38.

Bronx Council on the Arts (BX)

Bronx Council on the Arts, at 1738 Hone Ave., Bronx, NY, 10461, (718) 931-9500. For info on children’s classes and commuity theaters contact Americo Casiano at or at ext. 19 at the number above.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts (BX)

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. W., at Paul Ave., the Bronx, (718) 960-8833. The Family Fun series—shows like Jack and the Beanstalk and Peter Pan—is $5 for children, $10 for adults. Community Celebrations (acts like the Peking acrobats), $10.

The Harlequin Players (BX)

The Harlequin Players, based at the YMHA, 5625 Arlington Ave., in Riverdale (call (718) 548-8200, extension 229 and ask for Sue Rose) is a theatre group for youth and adults. They offer opportunities for students both onstage and off, as house managers or backstage crew for lighting and set construction. Sue Rose says they use a professional staff and offer professional guidance for the young people with whom they work. The Y also has theater programs geared towards kids: The Junior Rising Stars (ages 10-12) and the Rising Stars (ages 12-17). For more info on these programs, contact Laurie Walton at (718) 543-8958 or (347) 623-5827.

United Palace of Cultural Arts

The United Palace of Cultural Arts in Inwood (175th & Broadway) has free movies, concerts, and low-cost summer camp activities. The Circus Arts Camp is offered from July 8th until August 2nd, from 9am to noon, to children between the ages of 10 and 15. There's a $35 application fee, and the program itself is free. For info contact Mike at 212-568-6700x42 or

Uptown Stories (BX) new

Uptown Stories offers writing workshops in Inwood/Washington Heights, including nonfiction and fiction. Families decide how much they can afford to pay for tuition, without needing to submit financial aid forms. Contact: Kate Reuther,

Lehman College (BX)

Lehman College in the Bronx has a new summer theater program offered to high school juniors and seniors for college credit through their College Now Program. Eligibility is based on SAT scores or Regents Exams (see details under Precollege Programs). For summer 2002 they put on a one-act by Moliere. This course includes acting, costume, set, lighting, the works. For more info, call the College Now Office onthe Lehman Campus at (718) 960-6792.

Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing: SI

Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (SI)

Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island has a year-round events calendar with family activities in all subject areas, including free or cheap live performances at local theaters.

Back to top of Language Arts: Theater, Film, & Writing section / Back to top
Back to index / Back to top