Arts-Based Community Development Convening
Transforming Post-Industrial Cities through Art and Innovation
April 12 through 14, 2012 - St. Louis

Emily Kohring

St. Louis, Missouri


Emily Kohring is a St. Louis-based director, dramaturg, and teaching artist. She is also a graduate and current faculty member of the Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training Institute (CAT). Her work focuses on arts integration in the K-12 classroom and using theater as a tool for dialogue and social change with young people. This past year she joined the faculty of the new Grand Center Arts Academy, a charter school for the visual and performing arts in St. Louis City. Prior to joining the staff of GCAA she served nine years as Education Director and Artistic Associate at St. Louis’s highly-acclaimed theater for young audiences, Metro Theater Company. While at Metro Theater Company, she oversaw all theater education programming for young people ages 4-18 and developed and taught countless school and community residencies. She created Metro’s signature education program, Building Community through Drama, weaving Theater of the Oppressed technique with social justice education in the middle school classroom.

As a teaching artist, Emily has led residencies in many St. Louis classrooms, from pre-K through 12th grade, as well as for numerous community agencies, including Learning Tree Intergenerational Center, Children’s Home Society of Missouri, Girl Scout Council of Eastern Missouri, and the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma. For three summers she was the lead teacher for the Diversity Arts Summer Retreat for teens, a partnership between Metro Theater Company and the Diversity Awareness Partnership that brought together teens from all over the St. Louis region to use the visual and performing arts to dialogue about social justice.

Directing credits include Metro Theater Company’s productions of The Short Tree and the Bird That Could Not Sing, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (Kevin Kline Award nominee, Best Production for Young Audiences), Kerfafels and Interrupting Vanessa. She has been involved in the development of several new plays for young audiences as a director and dramaturg, including Super Cowgirl and Mighty Miracle by José Cruz González, la ofrenda (the offering) by Josè Casas, and Wild Horses by Rhiana Yazzie. She is currently helping develop a new play with playwright Christopher Limber for the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis. She has directed staged readings of new plays at the Bonderman National Youth Theatre Playwrighting Symposium at the Indiana Repertory Theatre, and at New Plays for Young Audiences at the Provincetown Playhouse at New York University. She has also guest directed productions at First Stage in Milwaukee and Stage One Children’s Theater in Louisville.

She has a BFA in Performance from the University of Idaho and an MFA in Theater for Youth from Arizona State University.



Theater of the Oppressed: A Solution for Fractured Communities

Day 2 / Apr, 13 @ 1:30 pm
Lower Level : Room B

Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed is a mode of community arts practice that began in Brazil, and has spread around the world. Theater of the Oppressed smashes the “fourth wall” between actor and audience and invites everyone in the room to use theater as a way to participate in dialogue that helps communities make meaning out of complex social issues. Mark McCollum and Mick Daly from Ireland’s Blue Drum and St. Louis-based theater artist Emily Kohring will share examples and offer interactive demonstrations of their work using Theater of the Oppressed with communities that include the aging, families in crisis, and elementary and middle school youth.