CLINTON HILL — Alec Duffy, artistic director of new arts center in Clinton Hill Jack, thinks that art programming at public schools doesn't always allow youth to be creative in ways that they can relate to — if the schools offer art programs at all.
So Duffy, along with the six other co-founders of Jack, have decided to take matters into their own hands and create their own after school teen performance group. And youth participants are just as likely to act out a scene from Do The Right Thing as they are Hamlet.
"Teens are often cast in school plays that they have no connection to and they usually have no choice in the matter," said Duffy.
Duffy wants to turn that system on its head and let teens decide what they will perform.
"At Jack they can act out scenes from a movie they love or play a popular pop song," he added.
As part of Jack's new Teen Performance Group, young people get their own budget, access to the space, consultations with professional artists and musicians, and the chance to create their own show.
Up to 10 lucky high-schoolers will have the chance to work with professional artists to learn the art of performing monologues, scenes, poems and songs. Duffy is prioritizing teens with less access to the arts who want the opportunity to shine.
"We're not necssarily looking for the best students," he said. "Just kids who love the spotlight, but don't normally get to be in it."
Named after Duffy's grandfather, Jack opened its doors in June, among the breweries and factories of Waverly Avenue. The Teen Performance Group is a pilot program that Duffy hopes will carry on in coming years.
The program will take place one afternoon a week from Jan. 15 to May 30 and will culminate in a weekend of performances at the end May. For more information and details on how to apply, visit Jack's webpage. All applications are due by Oct. 20.