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New Backstage Intensive program Introduces Students to Careers in the Arts

Students learn about operating a sound board with Production Services Manager, Donna Miller Brown. Photo By Cassidy Zwart.

The Kauffman Center is always aiming to expand arts opportunities for students. Through a recent First Hand Foundation grant, the Backstage Intensive program now provides students with exclusive and unique experiences to ready them for a potential career in the arts.  This new Backstage Intensive program serves the Center’s Open Doors Spotlight on Youth initiative which provides access to youth artists and future arts professionals through a variety of performing arts experiences. The program is offered to high school and college students interested technical theatre and arts administration, and participants will engage in hands-on-activities, tours, and discussions with Kauffman Center production and administrative staff members.

Expanding this program would not have been possible without the support of Kansas City’s First Hand Foundation. First Hand believes that hands-on experiences and exposure to the business of operating a performing arts center will help introduce students to career options in technical theatre and arts administration.  With First Hand’s support, the Backstage Intensive program now focuses on the Center’s use of technology throughout various departments including theater operations, marketing and patron services.


Students learn about volunteer management and ticketing services in the Kauffman Center’s Brandmeyer Great Hall. Photo by Cassidy Zwart.

Invited high school and college participants  take part in activities ranging from hanging and focusing stage lighting equipment and operating a sound board, to selling tickets and developing a promotional social media campaign. Fifteen Hickman Mills Freshman Center students were the first Backstage Intensive participants in spring 2019. With First Hand’s support, the newly-expanded Backstage Intensive program will engage more than 120 youth throughout the 2020 school year.

Kauffman Center is passionate about providing opportunities for youth artists and future arts professionals to learn more about the thriving arts industry. Through the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors Spotlight on Youthinitiative, young people experience a diverse set of engagements and programs that connect tomorrow’s artists, arts patrons, and arts administrators with the Kauffman Center’s staff and stages.

To learn more about Backstage Intensive and other Open Doors programs, visit or email