Empowering Local Youth Through Theatre

The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City will emphasize programming for young people. BRTKC’s community of talented professionals will offer terrific programming and an emphasis on writing and mentorships to Kansas City metro area schools and students. RiSE – the Rep in Schools Empowerment program launched last year at Ruskin High School and Hickman 9th Grade Center – was a great success. We were able to engage 30 students, taking them from outline to production with their writings. Some of the students’ work will be showcased in the 2017 Fringe Festival. (Buy tickets here.)

Damron Armstrong has been meeting with interested artists and educators to flesh out a program that BRTKC can offer to middle school principals and youth-serving agencies. Our program will address core-curriculum standards in the performing arts; but we also offer a Saturday program, to serve motivated students from a variety of schools and reduce competition with our students’ testing preparation and other extracurricular activities.

“Shadow” placements with artistic, technical, and theatre-management mentors involved in BRTKC projects and productions will offer new opportunities for high school student interns. Field trips to various local theatres and cultural institutions will complement their experience. We will also collaborate with area schools to present showcases of student work. In this way, we aim to inspire the Kansas City area’s young people by presenting all the choices and opportunities to be found in theatre.

The arts are integral to a full education. The theatrical arts have a unique ability to show that dreams and careers can be made, both on and off the stage, in the entertainment industry right here in Kansas City. The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City will produce young adults ready to act on the stage of life.

In Their Own Words

As part of the RiSE program, students of Ruskin High School and Hickman 9th Grade Center penned a collection of poems, prose, short stories and plays, culminating in a series of performances of In Their Own Words at the Kansas City Fringe Festival in July of 2017.

In the presentation, these students discussed Life, Sexuality and Racial Identity through their unique perspective. Facilitator Shawna Downing and educators Kelly Michale and Brent Nanny, along with Artistic Director Damron Russell Armstrong, joined with a team of artist-educators to bring this show to the stage.

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