One of the freshest voices at Midland Center for the Arts equipped with a vision to help shepherd their esteemed Center Stage Theatre deeper into the Center’s celebratory 50th Anniversary season is new Manager of Produced Theatre & Theatre Education, Travis Kendrick.
Coming to the Center as a professional director, choreographer, and educator, most recently Kendrick served as Director of Education for Mill Mountain Theatre and visiting faculty member for both Hollins University & Virginia Tech. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of California - Irvine in 2016 and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Point Park University in 2008. While pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Point Park University, he was a founding member of the Experimental Theatre Project, a theatre ensemble focused on the collaboration to create exciting new works.
Through his active involvement, he co-wrote the book and lyrics to DOTTY DOT: A Children’s Musical which toured local elementary schools in Pittsburgh, and then premiered in New York City at the Secret Theatre and was extended to run for over a year.
“When I first came across this opportunity at the Center, it truly felt like the perfect blend of my artistic and professional talents, and in a community that is highly invested in the arts,” enthuses Kendrick. “I am excited to have relocated to the Great Lakes Bay Region to work closely with the incredibly dedicated volunteers who have brought thought-provoking and entertaining works to the stages at the Center for many years.”
In this newly created role at Midland Center for the Arts, Kendrick will work with the Center’s volunteer artists and technicians to support the creation of staged works with Center Stage Theatre, and oversee the development of a robust theatre education program to teach young artists about the wide breadth of roles and responsibilities behind producing a production.
When asked how he first became interested in theatre as a vocation, Kendrick references how it is the only thing that truly engaged his interest. “I grew up in Virginia and involved myself with community theatre on the Fort Lee Army Base and caught the buzz for theatre as a performer and backstage in community theatre throughout Central Virginia,” he reflects.
“I loved the way everything came together and how community theatre allowed a space for people to be themselves,” he elaborates. “ All my best friends growing up were theatre people and I never really made a decision that it would become my vocation, I knew it from a collection of moments that just point you toward what you need to do and where you need to be.”
When asked his key goals and objectives with his new role, Travis references fully utilizing the resources of the Center itself.
“The most exciting thing about the Midland Center for the Arts is how it is home to so many different avenues of art and culture all under one roof, so my pivotal goal is to elevate Center Stage theatre as a home of artistic excellence,” he reflects. “Folks of all ages can come into the theatre and continue to build on their creative skills and participate and learn along the way. Perhaps they wish to move into a directorial role, so I’m a big believer in mentorships and want to use our collective resources to focus on offering an exciting opportunity to instill useful professional practices, so participants can learn and grow together in a solid professional training program.”
In tandem with fostering divergent and engaging theatrical opportunities, the Rising Stars program at Center Stage offers a hybrid of theatrical education and production. “This is a big part of our history and we try to shape it so that we can target youth groups from the 3rd to 12th grade to get their hands wet by pursuing their theatrical interests.”
“I feel very confident that this upcoming season of Center Stage Theatre will provide the community an opportunity for a wide array of different types of theatrical presentations, ranging from musicals to cutting edge world premieres to contemporary and new works and the classics," he concludes.
"And I am passionate about the opportunities this opens for both audience and participants.”
16th November, 2023