1967: the year of LOVE, Flower Power, 490,000 troops in Viet Nam. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, LBJ, Twiggy, the Six Day War, Riots in American cities, The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde. The cost of a new house $14,240, a new car $2,700, the First Super Bowl, AND…
The Montana Repertory Theatre was founded.
Visionary theatre professional and professor Bo Brown founded the Montana Repertory Theatre to bring theatre to rural Montana using students from the training program at the University of Montana. The first productions in 1967 were The Devils Disciple, Julius Caesar, and She Stoops to Conquer. There then followed a decade of growth and development with productions of world classics. In 1977 James Kriley, in an audacious move, converted the company to professional status committing the company to hiring professional actors, directors, designers and technicians to work alongside University of Montana students. The company then toured mostly western states. In 1996 with their production of To Kill A Mockingbird, the Montana Rep went national, touring from California to Maine, thus completing the process begun in 1967. The Montana Repertory Theatre is now one of the premier national touring companies in the country, logging more miles and more performance dates than any other professional touring company in the USA, keeping alive the valuable tradition of touring professional theatre to all corners of the nation.
In 2017 The Montana Repertory Theatre will stage Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, the fifth of Simon’s iconic plays the Montana Rep has produced. This show will premier in January in Missoula and tour nationally into the spring. Barefoot was first produced on Broadway just over 50 years ago, and the Montana Rep is delighted to produce this play in our 50th year!
The Role of the Montana Repertory Theatre, a professional theatre imbedded in the training program in the School of Theatre and Dance at The University of Montana, is unique in that the school and the theatre are intertwined in a mutually supportive partnership, pairing professional actors, directors and designers with our students, giving the students invaluable exposure and opportunities in the professional practice of making theatre.
In 2017 we will be celebrating this unique and very successful experiment begun 50 years ago. The Montana Repertory Theatre remains vital, visionary and strong; the dream begun many years ago is alive and well, as we continue to create quality professional theatre, for the nation, the region, the state and Missoula, while supporting opportunities and training for new generations of Montana students.