To professionally produce live theatre performances for Oklahoma City audiences that explore issues relevant to our community, generate opportunities for creative expression for historically excluded groups, and engage the audience with intellectual and emotional experiences that inspire positive social change.
Oklahoma City Theatre Company recognizes that the quality of life in our community will improve as opportunities to attend professional and socially relevant theatre increases. Our company produces theatre between artists with diverse identities who share the vision of an OKC arts community able to sustain a workforce of individual artists and of our theatre company whose work will educate through delight, bring artists and audiences into meaningful dialogue, and promote inclusion and progress as ideals for our community.
Oklahoma City Theatre Company values the living connection between art and the community it reflects and informs. We value the vision and ideas of artists whose work offers perspective on our pressing social issues. We value the potential of art to change individual minds, hearts, and actions.
Memorabilia Courtesy Maggie Dixon
Much ado About Nothing 2000-The Oklahoman
The story of Oklahoma City Theatre Co. begins with founding Artistic Director, Rick Nelson. After working with national tours for more than a decade, Nelson returned to Oklahoma City determined to fill the need for theatre that created a rich open environment for artists to come together and grow. Our first production, Shakespeare’s Much ado about Nothing was staged on the Myriad Waterstage in 1999. In his program note Nelson reflected: “Synchronicity Theatre Company is an idea born of desperation…by a group of disparate artists searching for that place where we belong. for some of us it is the theatre, for others, it is simply each other…what we all hope to do, is simply tell good stories.”
Next season STC found a home in Studio 207, a spartan modified warehouse at 7210 Broadway. Our distinctive spirit of innovation, inclusion, and community was tested and nurtured in that halcyon time. Performances there included Stop Kiss, The Blue Room and Equus. Performances at 207 were targeted toward a more adult audience and challenged OKC theatre goers with new forms and ideas.
In 2001, Synchronicity was invited to perform in the newly renovated Civic Center Music Hall. For several seasons, the company produced shows in both locations. In 2002, out of a desire to identify more closely with the community, Synchronicity became Oklahoma City Theatre Co.
In 2008, Rick Nelson stepped down and long time company favorite Erin Hicks-Cheek stepped in as Artistic Director. Though her tenure was brief she provided stability in a hard year marked by economic downturn.
During our 11th season, OKC Theatre Co. began the Native American New Play Festival. Original work from Native writers across the nation and Canada were invited to submit. Three plays were presented as staged readings for the public that summer. “We are now embarking on a new and exciting journey. We take great pride in inviting you to come along…The Native American New Play Festival reflects our desire to highlight the rich tradition of story-telling in the Native American culture and we celebrate this through the art of theatre.”
Manahatta 2014-Photo Trinity Goodwin
In 2011, Long time company member and OU alum, Rachel Irick was appointed Artistic Director. Deborah Draheim-Deppe appointed in 2006, continued as Managing Director. Together, they nurtured the budding Native American New Play Festival into maturity and brought a passion for theatre that encouraged voices of all communities to be heard. Under their leadership, the company produced works focused on pressing social issues. “As theater artists, if we’re not reacting to the emotional and literary landscape of our own community, then we are irrelevant. ” said Irick. In late 2014 Draheim-Deppe resigned her position as Managing Director. Irick followed soon after.
Into the Future
Of Mice and Men 2015 -Photo Bricquet Media
“Moving forward Oklahoma City Theatre Co. will carry on as a vehicle for social awareness and responsible progress. We will continue to explore and venture past boundaries of established narrative and convention. But above all, we reaffirm our humble beginnings and place highest emphasis on honest and masterful storytelling.
Great storytellers resonate universal truths of the human condition. They speak and relate to peoples regardless of origin. They weave their experience with the experience of others into a universal thread that acknowledges and binds each and all to the fabric of humanity. We have inherited this rich tradition. Now we must skillfully add our own experiences and create opportunity for others as well. We do this to promote truth, understanding, diversity and personal discovery. We do this to honor life, community and the proven standards of American theatre professionals.”
*The coming season is supported in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council which allows for the production of original works by Oklahoma Native American, Latin American and African American playwrights, partnerships with community groups, and opportunities for adult audiences to experience theatre that opens dialogue concerning the important contemporary issues of our community and the world.