The Performing Arts Department is a proud partner of The Black Rep, one of the longest continually producing African-American theater companies in the United States, and the largest African-American performing arts organization in Missouri.
Founded in 1976 by Producing Director Ron Himes, who is also Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence in Performing Arts and African and African American Studies, The Black Rep has evolved from a touring company and presenting organization into a fixture of St. Louis arts and culture. Today, The Black Rep focuses on dramas, comedies, and musicals by primarily African-American and international playwrights. Among hundreds of productions, it has featured the works of Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights August Wilson, Dominque Morisseau, George C. Wolfe, and Lynn Nottage. With its mainstage productions and education programs, The Black Rep reaches tens of thousands of people annually.
Ron Himes has been nationally recognized for his contributions to American theater, most recently receiving the Theatre Communications Group’s prestigious Theatre Practitioner Award in 2018, and the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award at the National Black Theatre Festival in 2017. He holds Honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts granted by the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1993, and by Washington University in 1997. He has served on boards, panels, and councils for arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kennedy Center, and the Arts and Humanities Commission.
The partnership between Performing Arts and The Black Rep affords students of all backgrounds the opportunity to work on professional productions with one of the country’s most decorated theater directors, and to contribute to The Black Rep’s mission of keeping African-American stories alive on stage.