When the curtain rose on The Black Rep’s production of “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” this September, it had been 43 years since Ron Himes founded the company as a Washington University student.

In those four decades, Himes has grown The Black Rep to national prominence for staging quality productions from an African American perspective, including “Canfield Drive”, a play about two reporters with opposing viewpoints in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown. “Canfield Drive”, co-commissioned by The Black Rep, premiered to sold-out audiences in January and was showcased at the National Black Theatre Festival in August.

Their artistic work is part of why Himes was honored with Lifetime Achievement in the Arts at the Arts and Education Council’s 2001 St. Louis Arts Awards.

The Black Rep’s impact, though, goes beyond the stage. Twenty-five thousand students each year experience live theatre with their touring productions like “Letters from Harriet Tubman”, which the Arts and Education Council funded with a grant from the Creative Impact Fund, with lead support from Bayer Fund.

And, in a new season that focuses on civil rights, identity and soul, St. Louis can expect more collaborations from The Black Rep.

Himes himself will perform in “Such Sweet Thunder”, presented by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis in partnership with Jazz St. Louis (both Arts and Education Council grantees), The Big Muddy Dance Company and Nine Network. The work inspired by Shakespearean characters will be performed Oct. 3-5 for free at the Public Media Commons in Grand Center. 

Also in October, The Black Rep will partner with COCA to present “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963”, which imagines Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia D. Morris Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins before the devastating bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sept. 15, 1963.

Each year, The Black Rep reaches more than 80,000 people across our region through education programs and mainstage performances. Learn more about The Black Rep’s 2019-2020 season and collaborations on the arts calendar.

See the calendar