World Premiere productions presented in rotating repertory, April 27 to May 27.

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Apr 27 - May 27 at Copaken Stage

Mellon Foundation KCRep Resident Playwright and Kansas City, Kansas resident, Nathan Louis Jackson (Sticky Traps, Broke-ology, When I Come To Die) asks us to bear witness to the humanity behind the choices made regarding guns and family in our City’s black community. (Nathan Louis Jackson and Kansas City Repertory Theatre are participants in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation multi-year National Playwright Residency Program (NPRP).)

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Apr 28 - May 27 at Copaken Stage

In this electrifying and alive story, a South Bronx boy searches for his poetic voice and wrestles with his identity. His neighborhood fights to survive following the 1977 blackout that rattled New York City and jump-started the hip-hop revolution.

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May 4 - May 13 at Spencer Theatre

In the charged summer of 1964, college students from across the U.S. came together to fight for voting rights in Mississippi, a state known for intimidating and terrorizing Black Americans out of their right to vote. Letters from Freedom Summer celebrates the courage and resilience of the young people who changed the fate of this nation. (Letters from Freedom Summer is a production of the UMKC Theatre department.)

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Festival Weekend

Our Festival Weekend (May 11-12) will feature readings, panels and parties! You don't have to be a playwright, actor, or director to join the fun... all are welcome! Staged Readings and Panels during Festival Weekend are FREE to the public. (Performances of BROTHER TOAD, WELCOME TO FEAR CITY, and LETTERS FROM FREEDOM SUMMER are paid, ticketed events.)

We’re hosting national VIP guests Teresa Eyring (Executive Director, Theatre Communications Group), Meredith McDonough (Associate Artistic Director, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville), Natasha Sinha (Associate Artistic Director, LCT3), and D. Soyini Madison (Professor or Performance Studies, Northwestern University), as well as a few KC arts leaders including Jeff Church (Artistic Director, Coterie Theatre) and Nicole Hodges Persley (Associate Artistic Director, KC MeltingPot Theatre).

Friday: Spencer Theatre Saturday: Copaken Stage

9am Coffee Hour
9:30am Welcome and Overview of the Day

10:00-11:30am, Panel Discussion

The Visibility of Diversity, Race, Gender, and Power On and Off Stage
Teresa Eyring, D. Soyini Madison, Nicole Hodges Persley

FREE event → RSVP!

11:30 - 12:30pm, Lunch provided for all participants

12:30-1:30pm, Panel Discussion

The National Pulse on New Works: ARtistic Leaders Share Their Philosophy on New Work Development and Production
Meredith McDonough, Natasha Sinha, Jeff Church

FREE event → RSVP!

1:00-2:30pm, Panel Discussion

Playwright's Forum, a Conversation with Festival Playwrights
Kara Lee Corthron, Nathan Louis Jackson, Ricardo Khan, Vanessa Severo, moderator Eric Rosen

FREE event → RSVP!

2pm, Copaken Stage Performance
World Premiere Production

Welcome to Fear City
Written by Kara Lee Corthron
Respondent: Meredith McDonough

TICKETED event → Buy tickets!

3:00-5:00pm, Staged Reading

Written by Dipika Guha
Respondent: Natasha Sinha

FREE event → RSVP!

4:30pm, Staged Reading

Frida...A Self Portrait
Written by Vanessa Severo
Respondent: Teresa Eyring

FREE event → RSVP!

7:30pm, Spencer Theatre Performance:
Workshop Production by UMKC Theatre

Letters from Freedom Summer
Written by Ricardo Khan, Denise Nicholas and Sibusiso Mamba

TICKETED event → Buy tickets!

Reception to follow in the lobby

8pm, Copaken Stage Performance
World Premiere Production

Brother Toad
Written by Nathan Louis Jackson
Respondent: D. Soyini Madison

TICKETED event → Buy tickets!

9:30pm, Copaken Theatre: PARTY!

National Artistic Leaders

We welcome top national artistic leaders from across the country to our Festival Weekend. Come hear their insights and perspectives on new works during each of our panel conversations.

Teresa Eyring

Executive Director, Theatre Communications Group
Meredith McDonough

Associate Artistic Director, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville
Natasha Sinha

Associate Artistic Director, LCT3
D. Soyini Madison

Professor or Performance Studies, Northwestern University
Jeff Church

Artistic Director, Coterie Theatre
Nicole Hodges Persley

Associate Artistic Director, KC MeltingPot Theatre

Arriving at the Festival

UMKC’s Commencement will take place Friday, May 11th. Therefore, surface parking near Spencer Theatre (other than handicapped spots) will likely be unavailable. KCRep patrons are encouraged to park in the Cherry Street garage or elsewhere on campus. You will not be required to pay for parking or to have a parking pass, but please allow yourself some additional time. Parking for Saturday's events downtown are free in the Copaken Stage garage. We also encourage all guests to consider using public transit: Friday's events are accessible via the Main Street MAX Bus Line, and Saturday's events take place steps from the KC Streetcar Line.