Fourth Annual Future Stages Festival Invites All Ages to Experience the Arts

Celebrate the arts in Kansas City! This June the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is presenting the fourth annual Future Stages Festival, a free community event that showcases Kansas City’s diversity in the performing arts, bringing together visitors from all over the metro area to enjoy arts activities and performances featuring talented area youth performers.

Future Stages Festival will be held on Sunday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The one-day festival provides opportunities for youth and community arts organizations to perform and be featured on the same stages that have hosted national and international performers. The event will include family-friendly activities and a range of performing arts experiences. Performances will be showcased on Kauffman Center’s two interior stages, Helzberg Hall and Muriel Kauffman Theatre, along with the Saint Luke’s Outdoor Stage, which overlooks the south lawn. Interactive arts activities will be provided by partners including: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Zoo, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, KC Chalk and Walk, and more. Highlighted happenings include coloring on the Kauffman Center windows, sidewalk chalking, Future Stages Festival Bingo, PLINKO, and the Kansas City Symphony’s instrument petting zoo.

The festival is open to the public and attendees are encouraged to register for free at to receive the latest event updates and performance schedule. Registration is optional. No tickets will be issued. Once registered, attendees will automatically qualify for a drawing to win two tickets to an upcoming performance at the Kauffman Center.

“The Kauffman Center is committed to shining a spotlight on the talented youth in our community. We look forward to celebrating and sharing the diverse array of performing arts experiences available to both participants and audiences with the community at this year’s Future Stages Festival,” stated Paul Schofer, President and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “The Kansas City region has a vibrant arts community and the Kauffman Center is pleased to be part of it. We are committed to creating access and engagement opportunities to connect more artists with new audiences.”

In late 2016 through March, an online application process encouraged community arts organizations and school youth programs to apply for a performance slot during Future Stages Festival. Building on the success of past events, the 2016 festival welcomed more than 5,000 guests and hosted nearly 800 performers. The festival also featured 27 community partner organizations providing performances, demonstrations and interactive arts activities, which included Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s stage combat workshop and the American Institute of Architects’ “Design Your KC” activity, featuring a giant cardboard city in Brandmeyer Great Hall.

Future Stages Festival is a part of the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors Spotlight on Youth program, which provides educational and community outreach opportunities year-round to connect students throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area to the arts. The program is designed to create access for young people, especially those with limited experience of the arts, to attend performances and perform on the stages of the Kauffman Center’s two performance halls. Other components of the Open Doors program are the Community Ticket Fund, which offers access to programming at the Kauffman Center for youth and families through reduced price or free tickets, and the Transportation Fund, which offers funding to area schools in order to bring students to the Kauffman Center for school matinee performances. Open Doors also offers year-round internship opportunities for college students and recent graduates.

Future Stages Festival focuses on youth engagement and displaying diversity in the performing arts. This year’s project is supported in part by a $10,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Art Works grant category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

The 2017 Future Stages Festival is presented by Saint Luke’s Health System, the Kauffman Center’s Premier Partner. Additional support for the event is provided by the City of Kansas City’s Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund (NTDF) and the Missouri Arts Council.

Presenting a wide spectrum of entertainers and performers from around the world as well as regional and local performing arts organizations, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has become Kansas City’s home for extraordinary performing arts experiences.

–Megan Felling

About The Author: Contributing Writer



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