The B.E.T.A. Arts Institute

95 Baybridge Drive
Gulf Breeze, FL 32561


Michelle Kerrigan McGee founded the B.E.T.A. Children's Theatre in 1986. B.E.T.A., an acronym for Broadening Education Thru the Arts, was originally designed as an after school program to bring the fine arts into classrooms and educational environments for which funding had been diminished or abandoned. It was one of the first programs in the nation responsible for blending professionally developed performance arts skill sets and presenting them in the elementary and secondary education settings. Within the first two years, the B.E.T.A. Club, as it was known then, had been incorporated into the educational environments of two private schools (Northland Christian School (Huston, TX) & St. Mary's Catholic (Ft. Walton Beach, FL)  and multiple partnerships existed between the B.E.T.A. Programming and Development Team and after school and child care organizations such as Montessori programs, La Petite Academys, and Education based Production Touring to Middle School and Elementary Schools all over the state. In 1990, the first full-time primary location for The B.E.T.A. Children's Theatre was founded in Ft. Walton Beach, FL and welcomed the very first fully fledged B.E.T.A. Theatrical season and foundation for the vocal programs . In the next five years, as the program continued to grow, expanding the program to include four different sites, a Theatre Building to house the permanent and upcoming performance seasons, a Show Support Building housing the costume/prop/and scenic design lofts, a Dance and Vocal Education Studio, and a full-time, rolling semester, Performance Arts Education Building. In 1997, the B.ET.A. Children's Theatre was officially expanded to The B.E.T.A. Arts Institute and was granted accreditation to operate as a fully functional Florida State Private School. On August of 1997, to celebrate it's inception as one of the first Performance Arts Magnet Education programs of its kind, President Clinton had a new American Flag sewn and flown over the White House. The commemorate flag was then  subsequently sent to B.A.I., to be flown on site, to nationally salute its uncommon and influential beginning as a hallmark of American Culture. The flag proudly flies in the corporate offices of B.A.I. today.

In later years, the Institute decided to redirect focus away from k-12 primary education programming and return to the original idea and intention for the B.E.T.A. programs, fine arts outreach. In 2000, the Institute began to branch, first serving the Gulf Breeze/Pensacola, FL area.  The following years would spur the creation and implantation of branches fostering performance arts excellence in Destin, FL, Gainesville, FL, and Orlando, FL. Today, the B.E.T.A. Arts Institute continues to serve fine arts education needs in these areas, providing all services at all locations; from complete youth drama performance seasons, complete with three major musicals per year, and a flourishing Vocal Performance Education roster.

B.E.T.A. Director Michelle Kerrigan McGee holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of West Florida and is a Pre-Doctoral Student of Vocal Pedagogy and Vocal Production. She is a proud member of the International Steinway Music Association, and is a member of the National Association of Teacher's of Singing. She has taken many Master's classes with leaders of the Vocal teaching Industry including, Brett Manning, Rodger Love, Broadway Casting Companies (Tara Rubin, Telsey & Company, and Dave Clemmons Casting), and many  others. The studio prides itself upon maintaining an up to date audition preparation infrastructure and aligns its interests with the current standards of today's practices, in order to best serve our professional students and to best prepare our high school and collegiate students for entrance into the work force.

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