Pendleton Heights residents Elizabeth Bettendorf Bowman and Nathan Bowman are the founders of Kansas City Public Theatre, a theatre company that focuses on providing professional-quality theatre to the community, free-of-charge.
The Kansas City Public Theatre was selected to be part of the Charlotte Street’s StartUp Residency Program, which is housed at the recently-opened Pendleton Arts Block.
The Bowmans have been part of the Kansas City theatre scene for a decade and said they began forming an idea to make the arts more accessible to the public.
“We discussed how expensive it is to see a professional theatre production and how those prices can really exclude a lot of people,” said Nathan. “We wanted to focus on bringing professional theatre to the community. That was the founding idea.”
KC Public Theatre offers Theatre Lab, a space for area artists to experiment and develop new work in front of an audience as well as getting input from professional actors and professors to collaborate on the next step of the process.
Their Mainstage productions, larger, fully-produced shows, include ‘A Dream Play,’ which will be showing April 23 through April 26 at the Arts Asylum (1000 E. 9th St) and ‘Miss Julie,’ showing October 24 through 27 at Blackbox on Troost (4001 Troost Avenue).
With space at the Pendleton Arts Block, they said they are excited about having a more accessible location.
“It’s so easy to walk around the neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic on Independence Avenue,” said Nathan. “Being a free theatre, we just prop our door open and let people walk right in, so being in that location on the Avenue is super conducive to our mission. That’s what we love about the space.”
Part of the Pendleton Heights community, the Bowmans said there are several aspects of the neighborhood that they love.
“What I like about the Northeast and what attracted me is that everyone is very friendly, there are beautiful parks around you, and we have great neighbors who are very welcoming and kind,” said Elizabeth.
“That was one of the things I was looking for, a neighborhood that has a sense of identity and community,” said Nathan. “Pendleton Heights seemed to really have that for us. The fact that there is a neighborhood association that gets together shows that the people here care about this neighborhood and care about the people in it. That sense of community is really great.”
For more information about the Kansas City Public Theatre visit their website at kcpublictheatre.org or follow them on social media @kcpublictheatre.
To submit a project idea or play, send an email to email@example.com with the subject “Theatre Lab.”