To inspire, entertain, and open minds by creating transformative theatre experiences for all.
KCRep will be a catalyst for a culturally vibrant, equitable, and thriving Kansas City by connecting artists and audiences in a welcoming environment that fosters wonder, curiosity, and understanding.
For over 50 years, Kansas City Repertory Theatre (KCRep)/Missouri Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been a source of inspiration to thousands of our nation’s best artists and to millions of Americans in Kansas City and beyond. KCRep productions, especially large-scale collaborations with UMKC, such as the co-production of plays in KCRep’s OriginKC: New Works Festival, provide opportunities for theatre students to work side-by-side with professional actors, designers, and directors. It is this partnership, based on a shared belief in quality education and stage artistry, which prepares students to take on the rigors and demanding standards of professional theatre.
Missouri Repertory Theatre was founded in 1964 by Dr. Patricia A. McIlrath, who is among a select few pioneers of the regional theater movement who believed that theater could change the world and could change our town. Kansas City’s citizens continue to benefit from Dr. Mac’s passionate commitment to artistic excellence, innovation, education, and community transformation. Under her direction, Kansas City’s theatre fans enjoyed many memorable shows, including an unforgettable production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby in 1983.
Following Dr. Mac’s retirement in 1985, George Keathley was appointed as Artistic Director. During his tenure, and through his partnership with Executive Director James D. Costin, MRT was established as the pinnacle of artistic achievement for local theatre artists, creating a legacy of excellence through work in the civic community and with legendary MRT productions such as Dracula and Richard III.
In 2000, Peter Altman joined MRT as Artistic Director for a seven-year tenure. His vision included laying the groundwork to more aggressively promote the city as a center for nationally recognized theatre artists, and he spearheaded changing the theatre’s name to Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2006 to help achieve this goal. He also helped create KCRep’s second permanent performance venue, Copaken Stage, in downtown Kansas City’s Power & Light District.
Eric Rosen was hired as Producing Artistic Director in 2007. During his tenure, he was instrumental in cultivating a national reputation and brand for KCRep and the city as a destination for reimagined classics such as Into the Woods and Evita, and critically-acclaimed new works, including Venice and Between the Lines. In 2013, KCRep returned to the co-CEO structure when Rosen was partnered with Executive Director, Angela Lee Gieras. Together, they led the company through a successful campaign and renovation of Spencer Theatre, rebranded the organization, and crafted a five-year $5 million campaign that increased investment in audiences, new works, and education. The OriginKC: New Works Program, including a festival and the Monday Night Playwright Series, came to fruition.
Director, producer, and educator Stuart Carden joined KCRep as its fifth Artistic Director in September 2019. He is deeply committed to centering KCRep in this region. He looks forward to celebrating stories and creating initiatives both on stage and in the community that provide greater access and reflect the passions, curiosities, and stories of the diverse communities that make KC such a vibrant city.
Dr. Mac during the construction of Spencer Theatre in 1978. Photo: KCRep Archives