New in 2024: Trailblazing Talks School Matinees!

Photo by Jillian Shoptaw

In conjunction with the Kauffman Center’s new speaker series, Trailblazing Talks, we are excited to debut a trio of student matinees that explore fascinating close encounters with adventurers and photojournalists. Trailblazing Talks is replacing the National Geographic Live series and will feature speakers curated from the Changemaker Speaker Series live and on stage at the Kauffman Center!  

Trailblazing Talks school matinees are recommended for grades 6 – 12 and the cost is just $2 per ticket! In 2024, we are proud to bring these inspiring speakers:  


Photo by Clare Jones

Evolutionary biologist and TV host, Ella Al-Shamahi illuminates the lives and stories of our earliest ancestors in her talk, Are You a Neanderthal? Al-Shamhi combines engaging history with interactive exercises to create an immersive and unique educational experience.

Ella Al-Shamahi will speak at the Kauffman Center on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, at 10:30 a.m.  






Photo by Brent Stirton/National Geographic

Hear inspiring stories and see incredible footage from adventurer and documentary filmmaker Michael Davie. This talk documents a wide variety of cultures and stories from across the globe, from tales of war zones to escapades in the mountains of Denali. Davie will leave students with a greater understanding of the world around them and shed light on the connections we all share.

Michael Davie will speak at the Kauffman Center on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at 10:30 a.m.







Photo by Kip Evans

Dr. Sylvia Earle, renowned marine researcher and ocean advocate, has spent over 7,500 hours exploring the underwater world. Earle’s research has led to the advancement of deep-sea exploration technologies that provide important information to scientists and oceanographers. Her talk aims to demonstrate the beauty of the ocean, and how we can all play a role in its preservation. 

Sylvia Earle will speak at the Kauffman Center on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. 





Request tickets for any of the Trailblazing Talks speakers for your classroom today!  

The Trailblazing Talks series is not the only opportunity for students to attend a performance at the Kauffman Center. Partner organizations, including the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, offer a variety of school matinees and open rehearsals that bring world-class performing arts to young people each school year.  

To learn more about all the school matinees offerings visit 

Photo by Jillian Shoptaw