Community celebrates the 50 year anniversary of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Repertory Theatre is celebrating 50 years! Saturday hundreds came out for a free block party on the UMKC Campus to commemorate the milestone.

"Kansas City Repertory Theatre is a world class professional theatre based in Kansas City, Missouri," said Executive Director Angela Gieras.

Founded in 1964 by UMKC Theatre Professor Dr. Patricia McIlrath it now puts on eight plays a year with paid actors, singers and students.

"She wanted her students to be able to work in a professional theater setting prior to graduating from the UMKC system," said Gieras.

UMKC Theatre faculty member Ted Swetz, Head of Acting for the MFA Program, said UMKC wouldn’t be the same without the arts.

"No, absolutely not. I can't even conceive about it. I think when one looks across the country at urban campuses such as UMKC this is the distinguishing factor that puts us out in all forms of cultural aspects of the city," said Swetz.

Gieras said it’s not just students who benefit from having the theatre on campus.

"We add a lot of value to the community because people are able to see world-class theater in Kansas City that's created here for the community and they don't have to go to New York. They can see the best theater in the country right here in Kansas City," she said.

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre is one of the nation's oldest regional theaters.

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