FLINT, MICH.: Flint Youth Theatre has announced that it will undergo expansion to become the Flint Repertory Theatre, “The Rep” for short, and that the name change is effective immediately. For the company that has produced theatre for young people and their families, this marks a change in the company’s name and a change in the company’s mission. Starting with the 2018-19 season, it will expand its programming to encompass a wider depth and breadth of works, which will position the theatre as a professional nonprofit regional theatre. The existing Flint Youth Theatre program, which has touched the lives of Flint children for 40 years, will coexist among other theatrical programming, as a program of the Rep’s education department that will produce student-driven productions at the theatre and on tour throughout the community.
“We are extremely proud of the work we’ve done over the past six decades with the support of our generous donors and the Flint Institute of Music, of which we are a part,” said producing artistic director Michael Lluberes in a statement. “We are now in a position to expand and serve more people in our community and in Southeastern Michigan. We have an exciting new commitment to provide highly imaginative, thought-provoking theatre that is challenging, entertaining and inspiring for all ages. We look forward to our future and to enriching the lives of those who share our passion for the performing arts.”
The Rep is known for provocative, intergenerational programming that casts both children and adults in its shows. In the coming season, the company will add programming will include more adult-focused productions and development of new works. The Rep will begin offering a “Signature Series” of diverse plays and musicals for adult audiences, with titles to be announced at the Rep’s season announcement party on August 22. These titles will include world premieres and reinterpretations of classics. The Rep has also established the Flint Rep Lab, which will provide the necessary resources and studio space for artists to workshop new plays and musicals.
The company will also broaden existing programs and create new opportunities for professional artists. It plans on expanding their existing New Works Festival, which began last year. This year’s second annual festival will run for three days and will include original plays and musicals in staged readings, workshops, and playwright/audience discussions. The Rep will also begin offering professional fellowships and adult classes; its drama school previously only had education programs for children.
For young people, the transition from Flint Youth Theatre to Flint Repertory Theatre will allow for more opportunities to explore technical theatre and performance, due to an expanded alliance with the University of Michigan-Flint that will provide students with the opportunity to pursue apprenticeships. The Rep’s educational programming that is at the cornerstone of its work will continue, including its Theatre for Young Audience (TYA) series, which consists of world premieres and reimagined classics; its Learning Through Theatre school matinee program, which provides free or discounted tickets to students in Genesee county and other surrounding counties; and year-round arts education programs including classes, camps, and workshops.
The Rep was founded in 1957 as a program of the Flint Institute of Music and was previously called Flint Youth Theatre. Its aims to provide the Flint area with imaginative, thought-provoking theatre for all ages.