Manhattan Theatre Lab High School
Housed in the basement of the Martin Luther King, Jr. complex, Manhattan Theatre Lab was founded in 2004 in a collaboration with the Roundabout Theatre. While students enjoyed the drama classes, the academics never really got off the ground and the school was closed for poor performance in 2015.
The founding principal, a member of the theatre, left the school in 2005, ending the collaboration with Roundabout. Evelyn Collins, who replaced the founding principal, tried to step up the academics but was ultimately unsuccessful. Most of the students at the school entered 9th grade with very poor academic skills and it was a huge challenge to graduate them on time. Teachers say discipline was poor, and nearly 85 percent of teachers responding to the Learning Environment Survey said crime and violence were an issue. The school did not respond to our request to visit. (Clara Hemphill, interviews, January 2012, updated September 2015)