Metro Theater Company (MTC), St. Louis’s premiere professional theater for youth and families, continues to expand its artistic footprint into the living rooms of families in St. Louis and across the world with the presentation of two more digital streaming productions this summer, including Early Days — Stories of the Pandemic Digital Archive: A St. Louis COVID-19 Digital Play (live streamed July 29 at 6:30 p.m.) and the virtual premiere of A Kids Play About Racism (available August 1-2).
Both productions are collaborations on the local and national level, and are part of Metro Theater Company’s ongoing efforts and mission to create productions that respect young people’s intelligence, tell compelling stories, stimulate curiosity and provoke thoughtful reflection, even as the St. Louis community adapts to the pandemic.
Early Days — Stories of the Pandemic Digital Archive: A St. Louis COVID-19 Digital PlayWednesday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m.FreeLive-streamed at https://www.metroplays.org, https://mohistory.org/online-resources or MTC’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MetroPlays
This short play, written by MTC Producing Associate John Wolbers, is part of Metro Theater Company’s partnership with the Missouri Historical Society to document our region’s experiences with the historic COVID-19 pandemic from the unique perspectives of submissions from people of all backgrounds. Together, the two organizations have created an original 15-minute play set against the backdrop of a teen’s now-Zoom call birthday celebration, as a fictional St. Louis family navigates the changes, perspectives, emotions, and hopes we all shared in March as our lives began to change. MTC Artistic Director Julia Flood directs. The cast for this live-streamed story of courage and resilience features actors, Jacqueline Thompson, Nicholas Kryah, and Teens Make History Apprentice Madeline Emke. A Q&A follows the performance.
Teens Make History is a work-based learning program for local high school students. Through long-term, paid apprenticeships in exhibitions and museum theatre, the program aims to build key professional skills and give students the confidence they need to succeed. For more information or to learn how you can support this program, please visit mohistory.org/TMH.
The COVID-19 Memory Project was launched by Metro Theater Company in March 2020 to further connect the St. Louis community through storytelling during this time of social distancing. As COVID-19 has changed how we live, work, play, learn, and connect, MTC encouraged community members to share their experiences, emotions, and hopes. This repository of experiences from young people and families are being adapted into a series of virtual performances, with an ultimate goal of translating these stories into a live performance when such performances can resume. Stories from the Memory Project were incorporated in the Arts United STL virtual fundraiser. This Zoom play is the next installment of new work created through the Memory Project. To submit a story, please visit metroplays.org/MemoryProject.
A Kids Play About RacismSaturday & Sunday, August 1 & 2
Free Streaming at Broadway on Demand, https://www.broadwayondemand.com
Metro Theater Company joins a groundbreaking collaboration among 37 Theatres for Young Audiences across the United States, led by the lead producing team of Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, to present the virtual premiere of A Kids Play About Racism, a theatrical adaptation of Jelani Memory’s A Kids Book About Racism. Premiering August 1 and 2 on the streaming platform Broadway On Demand, the new work is adapted and directed by award-winning director and TYA artist Khalia Davis and will be brought to life by an entirely Black and BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) cast and creative team from across the United States. A Kids Play About Racism utilizes theatre to offer young children and families a way to engage in meaningful conversation about race. As part of the production, educational materials developed by Seattle Children’s Theatre in collaboration with the Northwest African American Museum will extend the experience and enhance age-appropriate engagement. All 37 partnering theatres are members of Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA), the national organization representing the field of theatre for children and family audiences. The streaming of A Kids Play About Racism is accompanied by interviews and educational videos.
The scale and breadth of this co-production has been made possible in part through the network cultivated by TYA/USA, which connects organizations and artists across the country focused on theatre for young people and families. Through the last few months, TYA/USA has offered a range of programming to provide deep connections and resource sharing in response to COVID-19. Through this network, TYA theatres across the country have been able to come together to find ways to support each other and their audiences through new and innovative collaboration models.
A Kids Play About Racism is adapted and directed by Khalia Davis, with music composed by Justin Ellington and Costume Design by Ron McCann (California). It will be performed by Davied Morales (California), Angel Adedokun (California), Moses Goods (Hawaii), Rapheal Hamilton (Arizona), Isaiah Harris (Texas), Jessenia Ingram (Georgia), and Regan Sims (New York).
The work is produced by Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Alliance Theatre, in partnership with Adventure Theatre MTC, Arts on the Horizon, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Children’s Theater of Madison, Children’s Theatre Company, Childsplay, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Coterie Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dare to Dream Theatre, Des Moines Performing Arts, Filament Theatre, First Stage, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Imagination Stage, The Kennedy Center, Magik Theatre, Metro Theater Company, Nashville Children’s Theatre, New York City Children’s Theater, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Pink Umbrella Theater Company, ReNew Productions, Rose Theater, Seattle Children’s Theatre, The Growing Stage – The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, The Gottabees, The Open Eye Theater, TheatreWorksUSA, Trike Theatre, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University, and Orpheum Theatre Group.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.