OriginKC: New Works Program

KCRep’s new works program offers long and short-term support for playwrights, writers, composers, and musicians developing powerful, innovative stories that speak to our current moment by exploring a diversity of cultural and lived experiences, reveling in heightened theatricality, and experimenting with immersive and site-specific elements.  

Through our reading and residency programs, OriginKC creates a home of bold collaboration between local and national artists where community building is central to the creative process as we develop transformative theatre experiences for all. 

OriginKC commission programs endeavor to support artists from the seed of an idea through to a world premiere production or offer a second development process toward a second production.  The commission programs are accompanied by supportive activities for playwrights preparing to mount their new work at KCRep or beyond. 

The readings series and studio sessions bring new voices into the heart of Kansas City communities by partnering with local organizations, centers, businesses, and neighbors in support of exciting new art. These events create the opportunity for audiences to be in formative conversation with creators as they directly brush up against new work being built. 

American Crossroads Residency

Mary Kathryn Nagle

Centered in the intersection between playmaking and community building, the American Crossroads program is a long-term commission to facilitate meaningful connections with organizations, individuals, and artists in the Kansas City area. The residency will focus on stories that have a commitment to reflecting the vast experiences of Kansas City and its people and embody the perspectives of real-life events, people, and history. Playwrights will have an opportunity to work alongside a dramaturg and invest critical time in the KC communities and organizations that will contribute to the storytelling, workshops, and production.

In September 2022, Kansas City Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Stuart Carden announced the launch of the American Crossroads Residency, with Mary Kathryn Nagle as its inaugural playwright resident and the recipient of the first American Crossroads commission. “Ms. Nagle stated, “Having grown up in the Kansas City area, I am thrilled to return home and work with KCRep to tell a Kansas City story about the Indigenous peoples and Native Nations who have shaped Kansas City into the community that Kansas City is today. It’s an incredible opportunity, and I’m excited to get started!”

Four Directions Playwright Residency

Madeline Easley

The Four Directions Playwright Residency is a program inaugurated to support early career Native Playwrights by four arts organizations: The Great Plains Theatre Commons (GPCT), Tofte Lakes Center, Tulsa Artists fellowship, and KCRep. Over more than a year period, each organization provides four separate weeks of residencies and year-round engagement with a culminating reading at KCRep. Each week takes place in a different part of the country and provides distinct opportunities for work on the play. 

KCRep has inaugurated the Four Directions Playwright Residencyfor Native and Indigenous playwrights. In collaboration, each organization created a weeklong residency for Madeline Easley, over a one-year timeframe. Easley will be mentored by the inaugural recipient of KCRep’s American Crossroads Residency Program, Mary Kathryn Nagle.

Madeline Easley (she/her) is a Wyandotte artist whose work as a writer and performer converges at the intersection of magical realism and elevation of Tribal Sovereignty, the inherent right of Tribal Nations to govern themselves. Born in Kansas City, MO, Madeline is a proud citizen of the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma. She seeks to infuse her cultural inheritance within community-centric narratives to advance recognition, healing, and strength to challenge the colonial dystopia that denies Indigenous history and futurisms.

The piece tells the story of Lyda Conley, the first Native American woman and second woman ever to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. It illuminates the story of the Kansas City Wyandot Conley sisters who saved the historic Wyandot National Burying Ground in Kansas City from urban development and erasure. Their decades-long activism and legal arguments preserved this sacred land and contributed to preservation and tribal sovereignty movements.

KCRep has facilitated a relationship with Madeline Easley and Monumenta. Centering feminist and restorative justice ideology, Monumenta offers a re-envisioning of monuments and how we monumentalize our public spaces. Monumenta is working with the Wyandot Nation of Kansas to produce a public art installation titled Trespassers Beware! Fort Conley and Wyandot Women Warriors.

The culminating workshop and reading took place on December 2nd at 5pm at Copaken Stage .

Monday Night Playwright Series Readings

Our readings offer audiences the chance to experience world-premiere plays before they hit the mainstage. This bold series will feature local, national, and international playwrights investigating the essential issues of our times told with daring theatricality and radical vision. The Monday Night Reading Series will partner with KC artists, organizations, and neighborhoods to bring these events into the community at local centers, bars, galleries, and homes. This exciting program invites audiences to step into the world of a new play as it is being built.  

2019/20 Season

Buried Roots by Michelle Tyrene Johnson
#ROYCE by Darren Canady
Black River Falls by Bryn Magnus
Dinosaur(s) by James Still
Murder Girl by Heidi Armbruster
Village of Vale by John McGrew (Music/Lyrics), Jonathan Karpinos (Book/Lyrics) & Joseph Varca (Book/Lyrics)
FLOOD by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

2018/19 Season

Mermaid by Andrew Rosendorf
Untitled New Play by Bianca Leigh
Handprints by Greta Ogelsby
Damascus by Bennett Fisher
Untitled New Play by Nathan Louis Jackson
the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christina Anderson

2017/18 Season

The Misdirection of Mr J’s Chil’ren by Jennifer Baker
Frida… A self-portrait by Vanessa Severo
Laid to Rest by Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Redwood by Brittany Allen
Unreliable by Dipika Guha
Click by Jacqueline Goldfinger
Black Butterflies by Darren Canady

2016/17 Season

Noura by Heather Raffo
Louie Louie and La Dolce Vita by Frank Higgins
Brother Toad by Nathan Louis Jackson
The Fit by Carey Perloff
Holy Laughter by Catherine Trieschmann
On Shoulders Now by Harvey Williams

2015/16 Season

Roof of the World by D. Tucker Smith
Fire in Dreamland by Rinne Groff
Lot’s Wife by Eric Rosen
Untitled by Nathan Louis Jackson
Ontario Was Here by Darren Canady

First Friday Studio Sessions

Studio Sessions will support stories with music that celebrate distinct cultural experience and collective resilience as it illuminates the wonder of our lives. To do this, we will focus on actor-musicians and composer-writers interested in exploring the intersection between music making and theatrical storytelling. These sessions will take place in the Crossroads and West Bottoms neighborhoods of Kansas City in partnership with our city’s thriving First Friday cultural crossroad. Artists will be supported with a workshop, an open-door working session, and an evening showing.  

Ghost Light

A weekend event celebrating an intersection of art and community engagement, Ghost Light is dedicated to intergenerational audiences and collective creativity. This haunted weekend of songs and stories features commissions by local writers, artists, and musicians, and it is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the artists and histories that shape Kansas City. KC is filled with generations of haunting tales and through these stories we continue to understand how diverse cultures explore the mysterious to understand our shared humanity. 


Past OriginKC Productions

OriginKC: World Premiere Productions

by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen
Frankenstein: A Ghost Story
by Kyle Hatley
Legacy Land
by Stacey Rose
Frida…a self portrait
by Vanessa Severo
by Dipika Guha
Last Days of Summer
by Jason Howland (Music) and Steve Kluger (Book/Lyrics)
Welcome to Fear City
by Kara Lee Corthron
Brother Toad
by Nathan Louis Jackson
Between the Lines
Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson (Music/Lyrics), Timothy Allen McDonald (Book), Greg Anthony Rassen (Orchestrations)
What Would Crazy Horse Do?
by Larissa FastHorse
Man in Love
by Christina Anderson
Fire in Dreamland
by Rinne Groff
Lot’s Wife
by Eric Rosen
Roof of the World
by D. Tukcer Smith
Sticky Traps
by Nathan Louis Jackson

Thanks to our OriginKC program sponsor:

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