Theatre in Kansas City

Investing in the future

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (photo courtesy of the Unicorn Theatre)
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (photo courtesy of the Unicorn Theatre)

As with any university, UMKC’s greatest assets are our faculty and students. The byproduct of our commitment to the performing arts has been its most important gift to this city, as faculty and alumni are responsible for founding most of Kansas City’s major performing arts organizations. For instance, faculty and alumni of UMKC Theatre founded the Coterie Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, New Theatre Restaurant, the American Heartland Theatre, Kansas City Actors Theatre, Martin City Melodrama, Gorilla Theatre Productions and many more. Meanwhile, Conservatory of Music and Dance faculty and alumni are responsible for the creation of such organizations as Kansas City Chorale, the Kansas City Ballet, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Quality Hill Playhouse, the KC Chamber Orchestra, Bach Aria Soloists and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company.

City-Wide Campus

The UMKC Theatre program has an established tradition of working with local theatres so that its actors, designers, and stage managers may benefit from working alongside local and national professionals.  UMKC partners with the Unicorn Theatre, The Coterie, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Actors Theatre and Fishtank Performance Studio, granting students the unique opportunity to establish relationships and build their professional career   while earning their degree.

The arts reign in Kansas City

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Kansas Citians love their arts. In fact, since the year 2000:

  • Kansas Citians built a number of new theatres.
  • Several major performing arts companies created new administrative and production complexes.
  • The city’s famous Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art completed a $200 million-plus expansion and renovation.
  • The city designated the neighborhood just south of the downtown loop as the Crossroads Arts District, where dozens of art galleries have opened and continue to thrive.
  • In 2011, the $400 million-plus Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opened. The performing-arts center became the capstone project of this developmental drive, heightening hopes for the ballet, symphony and opera, as well as the civic impact upon the Greater Kansas City area.