A Thanksgiving Note from Jane Chu

Dear Friends,

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and, of course, to give thanks. We wanted to take this opportunity to update and thank you, our supporters, before the holiday season takes over.

When we opened the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts a little more than two months ago, we knew we were launching something for generations, and our commitment to you is to improve every day.

Here are some Kauffman Center highlights in our first 60 days of operation:

– More than 50,000 people visited the Kauffman Center during our free, public open house on September 18

– Since the opening weekend, more than 70,000 have attended dozens of diverse performances and a total of 132,000 have experienced the building through performances, tours and events

– International and national recognition for Kansas City including stories in the New York Times and on Good Morning America

– Performers from around the world have marveled at the acoustics, the layout, and the experience of performing in the Kauffman Center

– Through the Open Doors Program 11,273 children have already attended diverse performances at the Kauffman Center, and transportation funding has been awarded to over 25,000 students to attend school matinees this school year

– We continue to receive positive feedback from patrons on architecture, quality of performances and theatre spaces

As with any new building, there are always adjustments that need to be made as the building is put to use. Here are some challenges we’ve encountered and how we are addressing them:

Way Finding. We have heard from patrons that it’s a challenge to find your way around and to your seats and in and out of the building.

Solutions in the works:

  • Additional visual signage is being produced and will be color-coded and matched to the tickets to help. This is being installed now;
  • Additional training and support for house managers, ushers, and volunteers to help patrons find the best route to a seat;
  • Changes in the ticketing to identify door numbers and seat levels. This change will take place in early 2012.

Accessibility. Although the building meets or exceeds all ADA requirements, we want to go further. Before opening, we invited several people with a variety of experiences and physical capabilities to tour the facility and suggest ways we can improve accessibility.

Solutions in the works:

  • Additional signage is being printed to provide information on existing hearing and visual supports available to patrons;
  • Additional training and support for house managers, ushers, and volunteers to support patrons with accessibility needs;
  • Push buttons will be installed to improve restroom accessibility by end of year;
  • Upgrades to drop off drive and valet that will support patrons who need help accessing the building and have a companion.
  • In addition to new signage and support from volunteers to help patrons access the building from the garage, the drop off drive will be redone by the first of the year for a smoother drive and walk area.

Ticket Sales. Our resident organizations and the Kauffman Center have experienced tremendous response to our opening seasons. However, there is room to make the customer experience more friendly.

Solutions in the works:

  • Changes to the box office phone system have already been put in place to minimize hold times and ordering time;
  • Our website has been upgraded for ticketing purchases, but will go through an additional upgrade before year-end to improve the customer experience;
  • Print-at-home tickets will be in full operation within the next two weeks. In addition, a remote will-call station will be created to help patrons pick up tickets faster and get into the show.

We are so appreciative of your support and we will continue to improve in our inaugural year. We are dedicated to opening our doors and making people feel welcome in this building.

We take all of our patrons’ feedback very seriously. Please email us at if you have comments or concerns. We appreciate your patience as we continue to improve and we are moving forward with a great sense of urgency to get make sure you have an outstanding experience at the Kauffman Center.

Have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to seeing you at the Kauffman Center.


Jane Chu

President and CEO