BWW Feature: CFF FUND KICKOFF at Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Kansas City Repertory Theatre (KCRep) Executive Director Angela Gieras and Board Chair Greg Graves Monday announced the public campaign to complete initial fundraising for the KCRep Creative Future Fund (CFF) at a public event at the Posinelli Law Firm.
The Creative Future Fund exists to support efforts towards youth education, future audience development, and to fund new works for both Kansas City and national audiences. Pledges of $3.4 millions have already been made towards a total goal of $5 million. An additional $1.6 million is sought this year.
Executive Director Gieras said, "The Creative Future Fund was designed to give KCRep a stronger and more vibrant future by focusing on growing our audience as well as our new works and education programming."
Speaking for the program, Assistant Artistic Director Chip Miller, Associate Artistic Director Jason Canos, and Director of New Works Marissa Wolf described KCRep's progress in the third year of the CFF program.
During the 2016-2017 season, The CFF program served students from 120 schools from 37 school districts (over 12,000 students) through our matinee program," said Miller. "A great part of that was due to the Creative Future Fund that allowed us to expand our matinee program." Miller explained how the CFF enables the establishment of in-school curriculum programs, playwright slams, and a new summer program. KCRep put instructors in three area schools and in order to help establish specific curriculums using last year's production of "Raisin in the Sun" as a teaching tool.
Associate Artistic Director Chanos spoke to the establishment of the OriginKC festival program under Marissa Wolfe and its goal of promoting Kansas City as a source of creative inspiration nationwide. "It is the KCRep's commitment to creating a canon of new plays. We have been able to afford plays and musicals of a certain scope that otherwise we would not have been able to produce."
The Origin KC program has already borne fruit as last year's production "Fire in Dreamland" has been recognized and will be performed during the summer of 2018 at the renowned Public Theater of New York City under the continued direction of Ms. Wolf.
The schedule for the 2017-18 season Origin KC Festival has already been set. It features a new work by resident playwright Nathan Louis Louis called "Brother Toad," and the regional premiere of Kara Lee Corthron's "Welcome to Fear City" in addition to the Origin KC Monday Night Playwright Series.
The initial offering of the 2017-18 season is the world premiere engagement of a new musical play based on the young people's novel "Between the Lines" by well-known novelist Jodi Picoult. The show, which is currently in previews at the UMKC Spencer Theater prior its world premiere on Friday September 15, features music and lyrics by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson, book by Timothy Allen McDonald, direction by the Tony nominated Jeff Calhoun.
"Between the Lines" runs through October 1 at the Spencer Theater in hopeful preparation for an eventual New York production. Kansas City audience will be the first to see the piece performed.
Ms. Picoult has been in residence in Kansas City during the entire show development and rehearsal process. She was also present and spoke at the CFF announcement and kickoff.
KC Rep Board Chair Greg Graves has already seen "Between the Lines" and endorses what he saw in support of the CFF program. "Whatever it is that makes shows great is in this show," he said. Through the CFF, "We get to do things other theaters don't get to do. We get to take stuff from scratch and make it something incredible."
"We got involved with the Creative Future Fund because of our commitment to making Kansas City one of the top ten American cities," said Graves. "And I believe that Kansas City must become a top ten theater city" as part of the effort to achieve that goal.
The CFF public funding effort begins with the $3.4 million already pledged and a $100,000 matching contribution from Bunni and Paul Copaken targeted specifically towards new works funding.
Photo courtesy of Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Author and Playwright Jodi Picoult speaks about her new play opening this week at KC Rep and her support for programs that support new works at the CFF kickoff at Posinelli.