One for The Rep – One is not enough

The St. Louis Post Dispatch recently had a story about actor Joneal Joplin performing in his 100th show at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – click here for the story.  Congratulations to Joneal on a fantastic milestone.

My response to the article, directed to The Rep, that makes one St. Louis working artist employed by The Rep.  Why not more?  There are certainly other regular St. Louis actors cast by The Rep from time to time.  But does The Rep support a working artist community of actors and designers?  I think the answer could be yes, but the community would be very, very small.

I challenge The Rep to employ St. Louis artists instead of employing artists from other cities who take their pay and go back home thus not contributing to our community much more than a tourist.

The Rep performs at the Loretto-Hilton Center owned by Webster University.  This is a quote from The Rep’s website, “The Rep operates completely independently of, but under a mutually beneficial agreement with, the University.”  I am not sure how Webster University finds collaborating with The Rep to be mutually beneficial when The Rep offers very little hope of future employment for their Conservatory of Theatre Arts graduates.  Students come to town but don’t stay.

I find it very telling from the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s article that Joneal’s actor children live in Cincinnati.  Why wouldn’t the children of a man so experienced at The Rep and so well known around St. Louis live and act in St. Louis?  For me, the dots connect to answer – not enough well paying theatre jobs in St. Louis.  How does that get fixed?  Hire and pay St. Louis theatre talent to create a working artistic community.  Who will do that?  The Declaration Stage Company!  Join us.

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