Arkansas Arts

Jacob Slaton / Clinton School of Public Service

Professional. Affordable. Sustainable. This is Ruth Shepherd’s mantra as she and other leaders of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, also known as 'The Rep,' go forward in assessing the fiscally-challenged theatre’s future.

Shepherd, a longtime Rep staffer and board chair, said at a meeting at Little Rock’s Clinton School of Public Service that many specifics of the theatre’s future remain up in the air.

"But, you can expect that it will be smaller, more intimate, and community-centric," Sheperd said.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Politicians, artists and fans of the performing arts gathered outside The Arkansas Repertory Theatre building on Main Street to show support for the venue during a time when its future is uncertain. The Rep is Arkansas's largest non-profit and professional theater company. 

The Rep announced last week it was suspending operations, saying it is facing mounting debt and declining ticket sales. The theatre’s website says its most pressing need is $750,000 to pay off its operating debt.

A rally will take place Tuesday afternoon in support of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. It comes after last week’s announcement that The Rep was suspending operations because of financial problems. Since then people have been discussing ways to help the theater resume operations.

Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service, is helping to organize Tuesday's event, which begins at 5 p.m. in front of The Rep at 601 Main Street in Little Rock.

Rutherford spoke with KUAR in advance of the rally. You can listen to the interview above or read a transcript below.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre
Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

A Little Rock theater has suspended its productions indefinitely.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre's board of directors announced the decision Tuesday. Financial issues forced the theater to cancel its final production and cease future planning.

Board Chairman Brian Bush says a decline in ticket sales and an increase in theater options around the city contributed to the shuttering. But theater officials hope to eventually bring back the theater.

Bush says the theater hopes to fundraise $750,000 to ensure financial stability for The Rep when it returns.

Studio Gang

Having undergone eight additions since its humble beginning as the Museum of Fine Arts in 1937, the Arkansas Arts Center will soon be getting a major redesign to unify the facility with itself, and the outside world.

Two architectural firms, Studio Gang and Little Rock-based Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, have teamed up with New York-based landscape architectural firm SCAPE to create a concept design for the project.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Foundation has received its largest ever individual gift. The $1.8 million donation to the foundation’s endowment comes from the estate of Linda Garner Riggs, who passed away last November at age 70. 

Take a listen to the interview above with ASO CEO Christina Littlejohn about what the gift means for music in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Repertory Theater / The Arkansas Repertory Theater

The Arkansas Repertory Theater, or The Rep as it’s known locally, promises a mix of classic and new productions in its upcoming season.

John Miller-Stephany, The Rep’s artistic director since 2016, said he prioritizes variety when choosing shows.

The first Central Arkansas Music Awards ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday night at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock.

Arkansas Sounds Music Coordinator John Miller says many area artists have shown interest in the event and want it to grow into something beyond a one-night ceremony.

“There’s a lot of folks that really kind of want to hopefully spur this into a bigger recognition of Arkansas artists and hopefully maybe that will spur something along the lines of a music hall of fame or something like that,” Miller said.

Public radio icon Garrison Keillor will be in Little Rock Tuesday for a live performance at Robinson Center Music Hall. In advance of the show, the 75-year-old spoke with KUAR’s Michael Hibblen about life after retiring from his long running program A Prairie Home Companion, his connections to Arkansas, and his thoughts on current affairs. The interview was recorded Thursday as Keillor was traveling to a show in Asheville, North Carolina.

At first glance, you see a young girl goofing around with her friends.

But there's one crucial detail: This girl — 16-year-old Nirma — has a traditional stripe of vermilion powder smudged into her forehead. In her region in India, that's a sign that means Nirma is married.

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