History of Academy Theatre

lowdenfrontLas Vegas Academy Theatre opened in 1993, and since then has established a rich history of serving the theatre community in the Las Vegas valley. Academy Theatre has nearly 300 theatre and theatre technologies majors, all of whom participate fully in the program. The Las Vegas Academy has three beautiful performance spaces: the Academy Theatre Black Box, a flexible, intimate space used for class work, small shows, showcases and chamber concerts that seats up to 150; the LVA Performing Arts Center that seats 1300; and the Las Vegas Academy Lowden Theater for the Performing Arts, a contemporary theater and concert hall that seats 750.

In addition to the performance spaces, Academy Theatre has a full scene shop and costume shop, rehearsal space and instructional classrooms.

Academy Theatre has six full-time instructors, and paraprofessionals who assist in the operation of the shops and classrooms.  There is also a cadre of professionals who offer their expertise and time.

Each school year Academy Theatre presents a season of shows that are offered to the community in the form of a subscription package.


Recent productions on season subscription include In the Heights, Of Mice and Men, Noises Off!, Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, Still Life with Iris, The Crucible, West Side Story, Almost Maine, The Wiz, Sweeney Todd, The Elephant Man, You Can’t Take It With You, Cats, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Miss Saigon, The Grapes of Wrath, Anatomy of Gray, Once On This Island, Jekyll and Hyde, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Taming of the Shrew, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Laramie Project and Les Míserables. These productions are produced and staged through developing and utilizing the talents of our wonderful students.

Academy Theatre has been active in the International Thespian Society, and has taken eight shows to the Thespian Festival: Children of Eden (1996), And They Dance Real Slow in Jackson (2001), Honk! (2002), Jekyll and Hyde (2004), Sweeney Todd (2008), Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (2012), Of Mice and Men (2014) and had the privilege of producing the Thespian National Cast of Ragtime School Edition in 2005. In addition, Academy Theatre has also premiered the School Editions of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Miss Saigon in collaboration with Music Theatre InternationalClick Here to view photos of these past productions in our Image Gallery.

Academy Theatre Thespians Troupe #5273 is a proud supporter of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights LVA_107AIDS, and has raised more than $60,000 for BC/EFA . This money returns to southern Nevada to assist local people dealing with health issues such as HIV/AIDS and cancer.

Dedicated students from all over the Las Vegas area wake up well before dawn and ride the bus, sometimes for many miles, to be to school at 7:00 am. After a rigorous academic day, theatre students begin “part two” of their school day: the co-curricular rehearsal and production of their season and showcase shows that make up Las Vegas Academy Theatre.  In addition, the theatre technologies students provide technical support for all theatrical, dance and music performances on campus.

There are currently many former Academy Theatre actors, designers and technicians going to school and working in the entertainment industry across the country, and in the entertainment capitol of the world: Las Vegas.

Click Here for more architectural photos of the Lowden Theater.

Screen-shot-2011-09-08About the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts

The Las Vegas Academy of the Arts (formerly the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts) is a magnet school that brings together culturally diverse students from all over Clark County, state of Nevada in the United States. Established in 1993, Las Vegas Academy is located In the center of the Las Vegas High School Historical District, an historic urban shopping district, in the former home of Las Vegas High School, the first high school in Las Vegas, and an authentically significant art-deco landmark in the city.

The Academy offers students in grades 9 through 12 the opportunity to pursue a major course of study in dance, vocal music, instrumental music, guitar, mariachi, piano, theatre, musical theatre, theatre technologies, jazz studies, film studies and visual arts. In addition, students take all of their academic classes at the Academy.

An arts school is only as strong as the academics and support system that complements it.  Our academics are nationally recognized, and an integral aspect of the LVA Way.  Students attend each class for 84 minutes per day as compared with the standard 50 minutes in a typical American comprehensive high school. The Academy is on modified block scheduling: academic classes meet every other day and major classes meet every day. This scheduling provides for more intensive instruction in the student’s chosen major area. Students also attend an extended school day, one hour longer than other comprehensive high schools.  This offers more opportunities for electives, including a wide range of AP and Honors classes.  LVA students are regular candidates for academic scholarships along with artistic and departmental awards.

The Academy offers students an intellectually challenging learning experience and empowers them with the skills and knowledge to compete successfully in the international workplace. Since opening, the school has placed at the top of the Clark County School District’s academic program with standardized test scores maintained at the 75th or better percentiles. The graduation rate is over 95%. Over sixty percent of its graduating seniors enroll in four-year universities each year and another ten percent enter junior colleges for a grand total of over seventy percent enrollment at the university level.

The Academy has received national, state, and local accolades, including those from the White House, Senators Harry Reid, Richard Bryan, and John Ensign, former Governor Bob Miller, former Las Vegas Mayors Jan Jones and Oscar Goodman. Academy Theatre has taken eight productions to the prestigious International Thespian Festival In Lincoln, Nebraska. The Academy has received nine Grammy Signature School awards for excellence in music programs and has been recognized by the International Network of Performing and Visual Arts schools as a STAR school. In addition, in 2000, the U.S. Department of Education recognized the Academy as a New American High School. In 2002, the U.S. Department of Education honored the Academy as a U.S. Blue Ribbon School, making it one out of only 17 high schools in the country to have received both prestigious awards. We have been recognized by Newsweek and US News and World Report as a top American High School.  Most recently, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts received the Outstanding Arts School Award from the Arts Schools Network.  All within the last 20 years.

Find out more about the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts by visiting our web site:



2014 JamSession © All rights reserved.