For more than a decade, Downtown Art has been led by Ryan Gilliam, a director, playwright and experienced producer. Every season, Ryan works with a repertory company of 35-50 teens (ages 12-19) who are selected through audition; once accepted into the company, participation is free.
Each company member is an actor or playwright, yet each also works as a staff member on administrative projects and backstage crews. Downtown Art produces a public performance season each year which includes two to four full productions.
For the past 17 years, Downtown Art has been housed on East 4th Street between Second Avenue and the Bowery. In 2009, Downtown Art took on a new challenge: being without its own space while renovations are completed at it future home at 70 East 4th Street (estimated spring 2012 completion date). Until then, Downtown Art will be rehearsing and performing in a number of different locations, including outdoors on its lot at 19 East 3rd Street and at various rehearsal studios on East 4th Street.
Company members split their time between performing and working backstage. About 80% of the time will be spent rehearsing and performing as an actor.
A member's schedule will depend on which project he/she is cast in. There are generally two rehearsals a week, afterschool from 4-6 pm over a period ranging from five to eight months. Members of a musical production will also have a Saturday morning music rehearsal from 11 am-1 pm.
Members arel usually scheduled for three or four weekends of performances. For one week prior to performance ("tech week") there will be an intensive schedule, with rehearsals scheduled each day for 4-5 hours.
Currently, Downtown Art does not offer summer programs.