Kansas City eagerly anticipated a fall 2020 performing arts season filled with old favorites and new works to set imaginations alight — but in a year of Covid-19 stages remained dark. Thousands of patrons await news of lifted restrictions and safe spaces that will allow their attendance and enjoyment of performances that have, for so many years, been a staple of civic life in Kansas City.
To address this setback, Kansas City PBS began the KC Performs initative. KC Performs drew on KCPBS’ considerable reach and reputation, as the only significant home for performing arts on television in our region, to bring local performing arts organizations back to the patrons through a series of half-hour television programs and video shorts featuring multiple performances by local arts organizations.
Each performance video (4 to 6 minutes each roughly) was released on line, posted to Kansas City PBS’ YouTube channel, and promoted via social media — maximizing exposure. Additionally, KCPBS provided the professionally produced performance video to each arts group to use for their own promotional efforts.
This robust project was led by KCPBS Creative Arts Producer, Brad Austin. Austin’s work has been nominated for 8 Mid-America Regional Emmy Awards and has won 3.
The first episode of KC Performs was released in November 2020 and featured performances from the Park University International Center for Music, KC Jazz Orchestra and Ballet Street Project. Episode two, airing in December, was a full performance of A Christmas Carol shot in partnership with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Four more episodes aired in January 2021 and featured Kansas City favorites from across the spectrum of performance art.
As local arts organizations work to get patrons back into theatres this fall, KCPBS will continue the KC Performs effort releasing 3 more episodes featuring 12 additional local performances.