The Workers Theater company focuses on economic justice and workers’ rights. The artists and performers are members of the movement and working St Louis. These workers-turned-actors collaborate and train for months each year to create a series of sketches that connect stories of struggle, past and present. Stories are shared in word and song, historical reenactments and tales of the ongoing struggle for workers rights, told by those most affected.
We have earned news coverage, reviews and artist interviews in St. Louis Public Radio, Labor Tribune, Two on the Aisle and more!
Workers’ Opera 2018-2019
The Workers’ Theater project has ramped into high gear this season, expanding our audiences and impact. Throughout the year, at venues across the state, more than 2,000 people experienced the Workers’ Opera, starring our talented cast of actors and musicians.
Kathryn Bentley, Artistic Director, and Colin McLaughlin, musical director, channeled their creativity into sketches, songs, and poems, that successfully educated and activated audiences on key issues such as raising the minimum wage and cleaning up government.
The Workers’ Theater group wowed audiences at venues large and small, from our House Party series to the Grand Center’s successful Theatre Crawl in July. Thanks to MOVE, the Missouri Organizing and Voter Engagement Collaborative, we took the show on the road to Columbia and Kansas City, Missouri.
Plan to catch this talented group in action! See Our Events Page
Right To Work Exposed — From the cast of A Workers’ Opera
Extremists and lobbyists doing the bidding of billionaires enacted harmful right-to-work laws in Kentucky and Missouri this year. They’re readying to push these policies on a national scale in Congress and other states across the country. Their plan is to drive down wages and undermine our collective ability to join in union.
This performance, brought to you by the creative team and cast of the Workers’ Theater, details the racist, harmful, and largely hidden history of Right To Work, and speaks against the effects it has on workers and their families.
“Then and Now Again” — A Workers’ Opera
This “workers’ opera,” written by the late Agnes Wilcox and Freeman Word, debuted in 2016 at the First Unitarian Church under the direction of Colin McLaughlin. It focused on St. Louis’ rich, mostly unexplored, labor history. After Ferguson, it became increasingly clear that workers engaged in these organizing efforts understood very clearly the connection between workers’ rights and civil rights in this post-industrial society that is growing up around us. And it became clear to Bread and Roses that it was time to produce a theater piece, a ‘workers’ opera,’ that would connect the “then” with the “now.”
Youth Initiative: Community Exploration
“Community Exploration,” our initiative for youth, builds awareness of economic and social justice issues by exposing our participants to multi-disciplinary art forms.
The goal of the program is to develop “community actors” who can begin to use their creative skills to engage in actions that lead to social change. Artist-led workshops are an integral part of summer camp programs at six St. Louis city recreation centers that mostly serve African American youth, and four faith-based venues for immigrants and refugees. The program has served 250 to 300 inner-city youth between the ages of 7 and 12 over two months every June and July since 2012.
Join Bread and Roses in this self-exploratory workshop. During each workshop, the history and significance of the Mandela will be discussed, followed by participants creating their own individualized Mandala. This is a very tranquil, mindful experience that allows crativity to flow freely. The workshop can be designed and priced for smaller groups (Less then 10) as well as larger groups (up to 25).