In a press release this afternoon, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced it will suspend its operations immediately.

“The inability to reach its projected goals for charitable giving and ticket sales, and the change in the theatre landscape in Little Rock have created a perfect financial storm for The Rep,” Board Chair Brian Bush said. “The Rep’s ticket sales have been on a downhill slope for several years. Our community is on the verge of losing an amazing arts organization and tremendous asset to our city. Closing The Rep will have a devastating impact on the redevelopment of Main Street and the creative corridor.”


The final production of the season, “God of Carnage,” will be cancelled, and ticketholders will receive a tax receipt for the value of the tickets.

Producing Artistic Director John Miller-Stephany will step down effective May 8, along with most other staff members. A few critical staff members will remain in place, the release notes, to complete the nearly sold-out Education at The Rep summer program. The Rep will also complete its obligations to hold ArtWorks this Saturday, April 28, as well as Ballet Arkansas In Concert with Drew Mays, scheduled for May 4-6.


The future of The Rep is under evaluation, and Board Chair-Elect Ruth Shepherd will lead “a committee of board members and past board members to fundraise for and conceptualize a reimagined Arkansas Repertory Theatre.”

“I am tremendously grateful for the opportunities afforded me – and for the personal support that I have received – during these past eighteen months,” Miller-Stephany said. “My hope is that The Rep will survive the current crisis in some form. However, I sadly do not see a place for myself in the reimagined Rep.”


“It was devastating to vote to suspend operations and cancel the final show of our season, but we just don’t have the money right now,” Shepherd said. “Continuing to produce at the level in which Arkansas audiences have come to expect from The Rep would have put us more in debt. That said, I think this community loves The Rep and understands the value of having a professional theatre that produces work here for Arkansans. Therefore, I hope that everyone who cares will step up and write a check and offer to help reimagine what The Rep can be in our community and state.”

“On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank the dedicated staff and creative teams that have given so much of their time and talents to The Rep,” Bush said. “Arkansas Repertory Theatre is eternally grateful to the staff and supporters who have been there for us, our fellow artists, our audiences and our donors.”

We’ll update as more information becomes available.