Among the highlights of MTC’s new strategic plan, St. Louis’ third oldest professional theater company and nationally recognized theater for young audiences makes a 10-year commitment to reach every child in the St. Louis region and launches a cycle of new plays committed to resilience in young people. Metro Theater Company is pleased to announce two major initiatives as part the company’s new strategic plan: the Every Child Initiative — a commitment to reach every child in the St. Louis region at least once between the company's 50th and 60th seasons (2022/23 -2032/33) and the Resilience Cycle of New Plays — a commissioning project to bring world premieres of new plays for youth and families inspired by the resilience of young people. The Every Child Initiative is a unifying focus of the strategic plan ratified by the MTC board of directors in September 2020. In recognizing the unique social-emotional benefits that MTC’s programs provide to young people – building empathy, inspiring creativity, and empowering hope and resilience, MTC is committed to ensuring the next generation of St. Louis’s young people have equal access to these critical opportunities. As such, whether from the stage at the Grandel Theatre, to the classrooms of schools utilizing the company’s in-school education and/or signature violence prevention programs, to annual summer camps, to ever-expanding virtual offerings, MTC’s plan makes a 10-year commitment to reach every child in the St. Louis region at least once through at least one Metro Theater Company program. The first two years of MTC’s plan lays the foundation to begin to achieve this goal by the launch of the company’s 50th anniversary season in September 2022. The Every Child Initiative would benefit and enhance the cultural enrichment of at least 350,000 young people in the region, in addition to the greater than 2 million young people MTC has reached over its first 48 years. To fulfill this commitment, MTC’s new strategic plan emphasizes growth in artistic and educational programming, a deepened commitment to equity and inclusion, building systems to measure progress towards this goal, research to assess broad-based impact, a path to robust philanthropic support and financial instruments to effectively steward and sustain support. Central to the plan’s artistic vision is commissioning a cycle of world premiere plays centering on the resilience of young people overcoming trauma or adversity, with a focus on amplifying underrepresented voices. The first premiere in the Resilience Cycle of New Plays will launch during the company’s 2021/22 Season. In total, the new strategic plan celebrates the company’s 50th anniversary during the 2022/23 Season, and also builds a strong path forward for the long-term future and success for the next 50 years. The strategic plan ensures Metro Theater Company remains an innovative leader in both the St. Louis performing arts ecosystem and the national theater for young audiences movement. “As we grapple with the changes in our community due to COVID-19, there is no question that both St. Louis and our industry are at a crossroads. Theater is uniquely equipped to help young people process change, understand and respect difference, build empathy, grow character, and deepen a sense of connection to one another and the world at large. There is no better time than now to envision how Metro Theater Company can ensure that those unique gifts can be available to every child in our community. Our success with the Every Child initiative, the Resilience Cycle of new plays, and our entire strategic plan will help ensure that the next generation of young people in our community can develop into their fullest potential, to be the empathetic leaders and creative thinkers we will need to face the rest of this century,” said Metro Theater Company Managing Director Joe Gfaller. “I am thrilled that Metro Theater Company's core values of accessibility and inclusion will be demonstrated in such a concrete way through the Every Child Initiative,” said Metro Theater Company Artistic Director Julia Flood. "As we prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary season, I can think of no better way than our Every Child Initiative and the new Resilience Cycle to launch us into our next 50 years. We look to a future that allows us to gather in community again and to share all that we have learned during this time. It is fitting that Metro Theater Company will celebrate the imagination, energy and joy of our young people as we invite voices of change, hope and a new generation to create for our stage.” From its inception in 1973, Metro Theater Company’s work has been inspired by the intelligence and emotional wisdom of young people. From The Yellow Boat (1993) to Unsorted (2014) to Ghost (2020), Metro Theater Company productions have been created to reflect and resonate with the needs of young people and to provoke thought and discourse around the very real issues that they face. These needs and issues have evolved over time as the community the company serves changes. The willingness to address issues such as HIV/AIDS, homelessness, and bullying, in addition to celebrating the joy and creativity inherent in all children, not only secured Metro Theater Company’s reputation as a trailblazer in the development of new work, but also changed the face nationally of what theater for children and families is and could be. The history of Metro Theater Company and its landmark works have been part of Theater for Young Audiences (TYA) curriculum, and the subject of university-level dissertations for decades. The Every Child Initiative takes Metro Theater Company’s rich history, dedicated mission, and ongoing work one step further. Metro Theater Company plans to update its supporters and the public as the various programs of the Every Child Initiative are launched in the coming years. For more information on the Every Child Initiative, please visit http://metroplays.org. About Metro Theater Company: Since 1973, Metro Theater Company has been creating productions that respect young people’s intelligence, tell compelling stories, stimulate curiosity and provoke thoughtful reflection. The Company has reached a total audience of more than two million and has a national reputation for excellence in the field of professional theater for young audiences. Metro Theater Company has received major honors and awards, both locally and nationally. The company is led by Artistic Director Julia Flood and Managing Director Joe Gfaller. For more information, visit http://metroplays.org.
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