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 10am – 1pm. There is no cost for participation. Interested participants should fill out the form linked from depottheatre.org/academy-main to receive information about audition preparation. 


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.


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 more information 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 depottheatre.org.


About the Depot Theatre
The Depot Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre located in a historic, functioning 1876 train station in Westport, N.Y., and it is the only theatre in the Adirondacks that operates under an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. In addition to its volunteer board of trustees, the theatre depends on the support and generosity of its loyal donors, volunteers, and community members. Committed to promoting and providing exposure to the performing arts in the Adirondacks, the Depot Theatre invites all to “Take a journey without leaving the station.” The Depot Theatre’s 2024 programming is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
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.