Spinning Tree Theatre announces a shift in mission and programming. The company is pivoting, for the foreseeable future, to year-round opportunities for Kansas City area teens with disabilities and their able-bodied peers in a partnership with Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City. This follows Spinning Tree’s inaugural collaboration with Variety KC in summer 2019 which provided an inclusive theatre experience for young artists of all abilities. The June 2020 session was canceled due to COVID-19 and has been rescheduled for June/July 2021 at Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center. Additional details to follow.
According to Variety KC Executive Director Deborah Wiebrecht, “Kansas City is becoming a leader of inclusive opportunities for kids with disabilities. Variety KC is so proud to partner with the amazing talents of Spinning Tree Theatre to bring inclusion to the arts. All kids should be able to participate in and explore their talents and dreams.”
Founders Andrew and Michael Grayman-Parkhurst moved from New York City to Kansas City in 2010 to create a small professional nonprofit theatre company. Spinning Tree will continue its relationship with Actors’ Equity Association. A committee of artists, offering support and guidance to Spinning Tree’s new initiative, includes Chioma Anyanwu, Nedra Dixon, Timothy Houston, Illeana Kirven, Sarah Montoya, Vanessa Severo, Doug Weaver and Emily Wirkus.
Artistic Director Michael Grayman-Parkhurst: “It is with deep joy that we expand our initial heart project of creating an inclusive youth theatre experience from a summer camp to a year-round operation. We’ve had to cancel our 2020-21 season as a result of COVID-19 and look forward to returning with this exciting and important initiative. The effects of the pandemic on Spinning Tree’s resources have inspired us to open a new chapter and rededicate ourselves to full-time serving young artists of all abilities.”
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Spinning Tree Theatre provides an opportunity for young artists – those with disabilities as well as those non-disabled – to collaborate with professional artists in rehearsing and performing plays and musicals. We believe that people of all abilities have a right to experience and participate in the arts, and that theatre offers uniquely positive avenues for building relationships, developing creativity and increasing confidence