Crane River Theater

Crane River Theater's mission is to serve the community of Kearney and surrounding areas as a professional theater company providing a home for the presentation, education and promotion of the arts. Crane River Theater provides the unique quality of recruiting professionals from across the country to create innovative productions for all ages.

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Address: PO Box 2141
Kearney, NE 68848
Phone Number: 308-627-5796
Crane River Theater is established around the belief that lifting up the arts will only help in creating richer and more vibrant communities. We are proud to collaborate with a number of community organizations in an effort to expose as many people as possible to the joy of the arts. We hope to build on the momentum that the community has already shown towards the arts, thus allowing Central Nebraska to become a destination for theater, music and dance.

Crane River Theater produces seven productions each year - from large scale Broadway musicals, outdoor family productions, intimate plays, and everything in between. We are excited to produce our tenth production season in 2019, including shows such as "Newsies", "Million Dollar Quartet", "Charlie Brown", and "Elf the Musical". Kearney has a wealth of quality performance spaces, and we hope to continue to fill those stages with exciting and engaging theater. We are also excited to continue our partnerships with organizations around the community, including Kearney Park and Recreation, UNK Music, Theatre, & Dance, the Merryman Performing Arts Center, Kearney Symphony Orchestra, and more. We are excited to bring high quality productions for the whole family to the Kearney community, thereby exposing many new faces to live, professional theater. In fact, our outdoor production of "The Little Mermaid" was awarded "Outstanding Event of the Year" in 2017 by the Nebraska Tourism Commission. So far, nearly 123,000 audience members have witnessed a Crane River Theater production, and we are excited to continue growing that number in the future.

Encouraging the creativity of our youth is essential. Crane River Theater is committed to arts education, and we continue to add new and exciting programs each year. Every summer we offer our widely popular Explore Theater classes made possible by our partnerships with Kearney Park and Recreation and the Kearney Area Children's Museum. In just ten years, these classes have reached more than 3,500 kids ranging kindergarten through middle school providing them a hands-on theater experience. The classes have been extremely well received and they continue to grow every year. In an effort to raise awareness and excitement toward the arts among high school students, we are pleased to offer a series of Backstage Workshops. This program allows high school students from across the state to receive a backstage look at a professional production and take part in a series of theatrical workshops. More than 900 students and faculty from 33 schools have already participated in classes taught by regional artists and faculty. The chance for a promising student to actually work with and learn from a professional in their field is otherwise not available in Kearney, so we are honored to provide that opportunity. Crane River Theater is once again excited to offer our Page to Stage workshop to libraries across Central Nebraska for their Summer Reading Programs. Last year we presented workshops to more than 1,500 kids in nine communities, and we plan to expand that even further in the coming years. Allowing children the opportunity to see the characters jump from the page to the stage and the words come to life before their very own eyes is truly invaluable.
We also have several new projects in the works for 2019. Our "Arts in the Middle" program brings professional theatre and dance instruction into local middle school classrooms, by helping them produce a full-scale musical. We have already begun rehearsals for "Seussical", to be performed in April 2019. We are thrilled to provide this instruction as part of their school curriculum, which is otherwise not available for many students. We also plan to continue our Actor's Workshop for high school students. It is a unique masterclass opportunity, with sessions taught by notable university faculty from across the country. Students get an in-depth look at acting, dance, and musical theatre techniques, along with the chance to learn more about collegiate arts and theatre programs.