BY TRONE DOWD
This performing arts group is entirely non-profit aims to bring affordable productions and entertainment to the neighborhood of Forest Hills and beyond. Based out of the Grace Lutheran Church just south of Metropolitan Avenue, the PAC has won a variety of different noteworthy awards, including Best Theatre Company in Queens from the Forest Hills Ledger in 1998 and in 1999.
The Parkside Players typically perform three shows a year for the spring, fall and winter.
Rockaway Theater Company
The Rockaway Theater Company was founded in 1997 and has been a standout performing arts group in the New York City area. Despite financial troubles over the last two decades, the company has persisted, making some of the most memorable plays for this side of the borough.
The RTC has taken their success on stage and began to share and apply those aspects with local youths. They recently developed a “first-rate educational program” called the “Young People’s Theatre Workshop.” The five month program teaches kids and teens a whole spectrum of performing arts styles and elements, from dance, vocals, stage management, costume design and more. The workshop culminates in a giant production performed at the end of the five-month session made up entirely of the students.
Black Spectrum Theatre
The Black Spectrum Theatre based out of Southeast Queens is a primarily African American Performance Arts group known for their historical significance to the borough and to Southeast Queens. Started in 1970 by writer, producer, filmmaker and visionary Carl Clay, the group was started to bring culture and sophisticated arts to the minority neighborhoods of Southeast Queens. The group mostly performs plays that are relevant to and target the black community. According to the group’s website, they also reach out to local families, giving parents a chance to expose their kids to the arts they may be deprived of in public schools.
Since its inception, the Black Spectrum Theatre has been a great showcase of talented African American directors, playwrights, designers and performers.
York College Theater
With a constantly rotating pool of talent made up of CUNY alums, talented locals, faculty and current students, the York College theater is one of the best performance arts groups in the borough. The group is known to ramp up production for a different play one to two times a semester ensuring that locals will have something they have to see every few months. From original plays written by some of New York City’s finest scribes to cool and quality reimagining of classics like Rent and Romeo and Juliet, you are sure to see the stars of tomorrow just getting started with performances way beyond what most would expect out of a college performance arts group. It’s no wonder the long running PAC has remained relevant for as long as it has.