Monday, March 25, 2024

Depot Theatre announces academy performance opportunity, summer youth program

The exterior of The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY.

Westport, NY – The Depot Theatre is pleased to announce a new main stage performance opportunity for experienced student artists.
The Depot Theatre Academy outreach and education program will open the theatre’s main stage season with a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, with three performances on the Depot Theatre stage during the weekend of June 7-9, 2024.The Depot Theatre Academy is a robust educational experience for area youth and a pathway for those interested in pursuing a profession in theatre—whether that’s backstage or on stage. This special opportunity is for young artists ages 13 and older enrolled in school, inclusive of home school and college. The program will feature the same process that professional artists experience on the main stage, with competitive auditions and demanding rehearsals, culminating in performances on the Depot Theatre’s main stage.

The program will be led by a team of experienced professional teaching artists. It will be co-directed by Gigi Mason, Depot Theatre’s Director of Outreach and Education, and Amy Fitts, drama educator and professional actor. Live musical direction and accompaniment will be provided by music and drama educator Kim Weems, with workshops by a number of visiting professional artists throughout the rehearsal period.”We’re thrilled to offer this unique learning experience and to showcase the region’s talented young artists,” said Gigi Mason. “Those who are cast will have access to professional expertise on stage, and there will also be workshop opportunities for those interested in learning about various off-stage careers in the arts, such as technical disciplines.”

Auditions will be held at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall on March 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is no cost for participation. Interested participants should fill out the form linked from to receive information about audition preparation.

Spelling Bee show graphic.

Photo provided.

About the Show:

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a heartfelt musical comedy that follows an eclectic group of six teens who compete for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.

Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny, and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this Spelling Bee is one unforgettable experience.

2024 Academy Summer Program:

In addition to this opportunity for experienced student artists, expanded 2024 Academy Summer programming will include a new program for 5-8-year-olds who are new to theatre from July 15-19 at the BVCS Mountain View Campus, and also the three-week program for ages 8-18, culminating in three performances of Shrek the Musical Jr. on August 2-4 at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall. Details and registration information for the summer program will be announced soon.

Tickets for the Academy performances of Spelling Bee will go on sale on May 15 and will be available online or by calling the box office at (518) 962-4449. For programming information and news, visit

Photo at top: The exterior of The Depot Theatre in Westport, NY. Photo provided.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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