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BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Dr. Jonathan Smith, St. Louis University
Vice President Larry D. Richardson, Benjamin F. Edwards
Secretary M. Denise Thomas
Chair, Finance Barbara Feiner
Chair, Facilities Lionel Phillips, Phillips Concrete Services
Michael Brockland, SWMW Law, LLC
Allan Gray, ZHOU Brothers LLC,Partner
Alesha Henley, St. Louis Regional Chamber
Andreal Hoosman, Haywood Hoosman Realty
Feleccia Moore-Davis, St. Louis Community College-Meramec
Edward O'Neal, Benjamin F. Edwards
Wanda Starr-Ferguson, Edward Jones
Paul Steger, Webster University
Founded in 1976 by Producing Director Ron Himes, The Black Rep is the largest, professional African-American theatre company in the nation and the largest African-American performing arts organization in Missouri.
After its inception, Himes began to take the company on the road, performing for people everywhere by touring college campuses, community centers and various art / theatre festivals. The Black Rep started to draw such huge crowds when they performed and in 1980, the company took residence in the former Greeley Presbyterian Church’s sanctuary on the corner of St. Louis Avenue and 23rd Street, renovating the interior into a theatre space. During the 1980′s, the company began to hire guest actors, directors, designers and choreographers locally and nationally. In addition, The Black Rep began presenting regional dance companies and a musical film series. By 1986, the company became the only African-American theatre in the Midwest to operate under a contract with the Actor’s Equity Association, guaranteeing union wages to its actors and stage managers. Later in the eighties, The Black Rep decided to narrow its focus to only producing African-American live theatre.
In the early 1990′s, The Black Rep relocated to the heart of Grand Center, St. Louis’ arts and cultural district, where it makes its home in the beautiful, renovated 467-seat Grandel Theatre. At the Grandel, mainstage productions are performed for an audience of more than 25,000 annually.
With an eye toward future growth and continued artistic excellence, in 2005 the board of directors added the position of Executive Director to The Black Rep staff leadership. Rudy Nickens, affiliated with the company since its inception, was selected for the post.
Today, The Black Rep performs at the Edison Theater at Washington University in St. Louis.The company continues to produces quality professional dramas, comedies and musicals by primarily African-American and third world playwrights. The company has produced the works of Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights August Wilson, Dominique Morisseau, George C. Wolfe and Lynn Nottage, and Tony Kushner. In addition, the company maintains an award-winning Education and Community Program, including classes and workshops for adults and youth, touring productions, the Summer Performing Arts Program, the Teen Tech Program and the Professional Internship Program.
Mainstage productions and Education programs combine to reach more than 80,000 people annually. The company is pleased to entertain the most diverse theatre audience in the St. Louis region.
Celebrate with The Black Rep as it continues to bring the magic of live theatre to everyone. Join us…Entertaining Diverse Audiences. Educating Promising Youth. Enriching Our Community.
RON HIMES,the Founder and Producing Director of the Saint Louis Black Repertory Company and the Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Washington University. The Black Rep has developed a national reputation for staging quality productions from an African-American perspective. He founded the company in 1976 while still a student at Washington University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. The Black Rep began touring to other college campuses and, in 1981, found a home in the former sanctuary of the Greely Presbyterian Church in north St. Louis City, which the company converted and renamed the 23rd Street Theatre.
In 1991, after a multi-million dollar renovation, the company moved into the former First Congregation Church building, located in the heart of the Grand Center arts and education district in midtown, renaming it the Grandel Square Theatre.
He has produced and directed more than 200 plays at The Black Rep, including all ten plays written by August Wilson. His Black Rep directing credits include: Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, Nina Simone; Four Women, Dot, Lines In The Dust, Twisted Melodies, Sunset Baby, Purlie, Black Nativity: A Holiday Celebration, the critically acclaimed productions of Ruined and The Montford Point Marine. Himes also created and directed the highly acclaimed, Crossin’ Over and Tell Me Somethin’ Good. He has directed a number of world premieres including Torn Asunder, Smash/Hit!, Insidious, Home the Musical, Servant of the People, Riffs and Urban Transitions: Loose Blossoms. Directing credits from theatres across the country include Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Fences (The Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville); The Colored Museum and Blues for an Alabama Sky (Indiana Repertory Theatre); Flyin’ West (Delaware Theatre Company); For Colored Girls.........(People’s Light and Theatre Company in Philadelphia); Riffs (Seven Stages in Atlanta); Spunk, Spell #7 and Radio Golf (Studio Theatre in Washington, DC); One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I’m Not Rappaport (Old Creamery Theatre in Garrison, IA); and An Enemy of the People (Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, AK). University and College credits include: Crumbs From The Table Of Joy and Our Town, (University of Southern Indiana in Evansville);Intimate Apparel, (University of Indiana in Bloomington); You Can’t Take It With You, (University of Wisconsin in Madison); The Championship Season and The Dance on Widow’s Row, (Dillard University in New Orleans); Three Ways Home (University of Illinois in Champaign); The Darker Face of the Earth (University of South Carolina in Columbia); Blues for Mr. Charlie, Hairspray, Ragtime, The Lion and The Jewel and Trojan Women (Washington University in St. Louis).
In 2003, Himes was appointed the first Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Washington University, a joint appointment of the Performing Arts Department, African and African American Studies. In 2010 he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the third World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures in Dakar, Senegal and he has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2013 Outstanding Organization of The Year Award from 100 Black Men and The Citizen of The Year Award from the Gateway Classic Foundation, 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from University College at Washington University, St. Louis 2004 Heroes Pierre Laclede Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, The Arts & Education Council in 2001; Creative Artist Award, The Better Family Life in 1997; Woodie Award for Outstanding Direction, the St. Louis Black Repertory Company’; and Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1993, and from Washington University in 1997 and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Life and Legacy Award from the National Pan-Hellenic Alumni Council.