Unicorn Theatre
3828 Main Street
Kansas City MO 64111-1915
Unicorn Theatre Entrance on Main Street

Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 531-7529
Fax 816- 531-0421
Mission Statement

Unicorn Theatre enhances the Kansas City community by developing and producing high-quality, thought-provoking plays that have never been seen in the region. We illuminate social issues by shining a light on diversity and inclusive stories which include race, religion, and gender identity. Unicorn creates opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians, and administrative staff.

Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Levin
Board Chair Mr. Benjamin Mann
Board Chair Company Affiliation Husch Blackwell
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1974
Former Names
Theatre Workshop
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Unicorn Theatre accepts donations online through its website and patrons can set up scheduled recurring donations . 
 
Donors may also call the Unicorn at 816-531-7529, ext. 10, and make a donation over the phone through the box office or mail a check to our mailing address.  
 
Volunteers are always needed for a variety of functions: ushering for performances, helping with bulk mail and marketing projects, and assisting with special events.  Interested individuals can contact our volunteer coordinator at volunteer@unicorntheatre.org.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement

Unicorn Theatre enhances the Kansas City community by developing and producing high-quality, thought-provoking plays that have never been seen in the region. We illuminate social issues by shining a light on diversity and inclusive stories which include race, religion, and gender identity. Unicorn creates opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians, and administrative staff.

Background Statement

Unicorn Theatre began in 1974 when three UMKC Theatre graduates rented an old warehouse in the historic River Market area and called it Theatre Workshop.  KC Star drama critic Giles Fowler wrote of the fearless artistic upstart:  "There is something about the place-something about the spirit and guts - that make you want to see it thrive."  Cynthia Levin was named Producing Artistic Director in 1981, and the name was changed to Unicorn Theatre.  In 1986, Unicorn Theatre moved to its Main Street location, becoming a cultural cornerstone of the historic Midtown neighborhood.  Since its inception, Unicorn has produced over 330 productions, including 66 World Premieres.  We've given Kansas City its first look at some of the most signficant works in contemporary American Theatre, including Angels in America:  Millenium Approaches, Angels in America: Perestroika, Proof, Wit, How I learned to Drive, Glengarry Glen Ross, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert:  The Musical.  Capital Campaigns in 1998, 2008 and 2014 allowed us to expand our space, to build a second stage, and finally to become the owners of our building in 2014. 

Unicorn Theatre produces works that stimulate audiences to confront complicated questions raised by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, identity, history, and  justice.  We elevate diverse voices and champion representation and inclusion.  We enrich the Kansas City arts ecology through our relentless commitment to staging works that have never before been seen in the region. 
 
“Our purpose is not to tell people what to think; it is to help them decide what to think about."  -Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin
Impact Statement
  • We bring regional and World Premieres of new plays to Kansas City audiences. Our 2018-2019 Annual Season included seven professional regional premiere productions.
  • We cultivate and develop new plays by staging in-progress play readings. In 2018-2019 we presented four In-Progress New Play Reading Series. These events are free to the public. The playwright is always involved in rehearsal, and is often present at the performance, eager to hear feedback from the audience. This program gives Kansas City artists and audiences the chance to play a part in forming the next great American play.
  • We tell diverse and inclusive stories that elevate voices that have been historically silenced. Through our play selection and casting, we represent and elevate all people and all communities, particularly those that have been historically underrepresented. In 2018, Actors' Equity Association gave the Kathryn V. Lamkey award to Cynthia Levin, recognizing Unicorn Theatre for providing ongoing opportunities for underrepresented members in the Central Region.
  • We impact the community work and transform lives. OFor our World Premiere production of BOND, we partnered with Missouri Humanities to facilitate a Veterans Writing Workshop, giving Kansas City veterans the chance process their experience by refining the craft of writing their story for performance.  Then they got the chance to perform their audience from the Unicorn stage for a live audience.  
  • We open our doors to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Anyone who cannot afford a full-priced ticket can attend any mid-week performance at whatever price they can afford through our 'Pay What U Can' program.
  • We led patrons to a deeper engagement with our work. 2018-2019 was our second year offering Unicorniversity. Unicorniversity is an educational program that invites participants to connect more deeply with Unicorn Theatre's work through training in script analysis.
Needs Statement
  1. We are able to do what we do because of financial support from individuals, companies and foundations.  Donations can be made on our website (https://www.unicorntheatre.org/?page=support-us) or by calling our Development Director at 816-783-5512. 
  2. We always need volunteers to help with ushering, bulk mailings and event support. You can find out how you can help by contacting our Volunteer coordinator at volunteer@unicorntheatre.org. 
  3. We would love to speak with developing theatre or nonprofit professionals that are interested in applying to our internship program. Information for applying to our internship program can be found on our website (https://www.unicorntheatre.org/?page=about-employment). 
  4. We seek to build relationships with restaurants that want to increase brand exposure and strengthen their community by catering community events, including pre-show "peeks", opening nights, and our annual fundraising gala. 
  5. We would love to speak with community groups that are interested in bringing members to Peek at the Play or in arranging for group ticket purchases. 
Service Categories
Theater
Arts Education
Performing Arts
Areas of Service
MO
KS
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
Geographic Area Served Narrative

Unicorn Theatre is located in Historic Midtown in Kansas City, Missouri. During our 2017-2018 season, 85% of our patrons came from the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area, comprising Jackson, Johnson, Wyandotte, Clay and Platte Counties. 3% of our patrons came from other counties in the Greater Kansas City area. 7% of our patrons come from other counties in Kansas and Missouri. 4% of our patrons come from states other than Kansas or Missouri.  

Programs
Description We produce staged readings of unpublished scripts by up-and-coming playwrights. These are free to attend and open to the public. The playwright of each script is closely involved in the rehearsal process, and the playwright attends the reading and participates in an after-show discussion between the audience and the artistic team. The In-Progress New Play Reading Series gives Kansas City actors and audiences the opportunity to be involved in the early stages of a play’s development, and to potentially play a role in shaping the next great American play. Often, a play that is featured in the In-Progress New Play Reading Series will return to the Unicorn Theatre stage for a full production as a World Premiere in a subsequent season. The In-Progress New Play Reading Series advances our mission to develop high-quality, thought provoking plays, and helps to create a welcoming environment for new works and promising talent that manifests in regional markets across the country.
Program Budget $25,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater
Population Served General/Unspecified, Adults, Other Named Groups
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  • Kansas City audiences will get a first look at some of the best new plays being written and the best playwrights currently working. 
  • Playwrights will hear their play read by professional actors and professionally directed and may make productive changes to their script on the way to its World Premiere.
  • The Unicorn will identify a promising play to be further developed into a World Premiere. 
Long-Term Success
  • The In-Progress New Play Program fosters new work and supports emerging playwrights.  
  • Gives Kansas City artists and audiences the chance to be involved in the evolution and development of vital American drama. 
  • Strengthens an industry culture that promotes new work and supports the development process. 
Program Success Monitored By Our team is involved in show selection, playwright engagement, planning, casting, rehearsal, and the final staged reading.  We assess artistic quality, audience reaction, attendance, contributed revenues by those in attendance, and whether the play goes on to be produced at Unicorn Theatre and other professional theatres. 
Examples of Program Success
This year's Nomad Motel was first performed for Kansas City audiences, in its in-progress form, through the In-Progress New Play Reading Series. Signed on to produce the World Premiere of Nomad Motel through the National New Play Network's Rolling World Premiere program.  After the Unicorn's run, the play is scheduled for an off-Broadway run at the Atlantic Theatre.  The In-Progress New Play Reading series fostered and propelled this unpublished play on a path that would lead to its World Premiere at Unicorn Theatre, and ultimately to its appearance before off-Broadway audiences in New York City. 
Description
Unicorn Theatre offers internships to graduate and undergraduate students of theatre from local universities and developing theatre professionals from around the world. Students gain skill and experience in marketing, development, dramaturgy, acting, production and design with our experienced professional staff. We have a formal collaborative partnership with UMKC Department of Theatre Graduate School. Each year, at least one production is co-produced by Unicorn Theatre and UMKC, giving graduate students valuable experience working alongside our professional team. In 2017-2018, 33 individuals graduated the Unicorn Theatre internship program, and 21% of all interns from the past three years have been rehired by Unicorn for paid work.
Program Budget $50,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  • Students will apply to, be admitted to, and graduate from the Unicorn Theatre Internship Program. 
  • The Internship Program will help students develop their skills and gain valuable experience. 
  • Unicorn Theatre's artistic product and administrative efficiency will be improved by the support of talented developing theatre professionals. 
  • Unicorn Theatre Internship Program Participants will report a positive experience. 
  • Unicorn Theatre Interns will be hired at Unicorn Theatre and/or at other regional nonprofit theatres. 
Long-Term Success
  • Young aspiring writers, technicians and actors will have a good foundation for their career development. 
  • The Kansas City Community and the Regional Theatre Industry will be strengthened by the well-honed talents of a new generation of theatre professionals. 
Program Success Monitored By We solicit feedback from program participants and monitor their subsequent work.
Examples of Program Success
Hannah Taylor completed the Unicorn's internship program as a Literary Intern and has since been hired as Unicorn Theatre's Literary Manager. Amy O'Connor was a UMKC student cast in the UMKC/Unicorn Theatre Co-production of Stupid F****** Bird. Amy is currently starring in Unicorn's production of THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble.  Her performance in THE EFFECT earned Amy her membership in Actors' Equity Association, the union for professional actors and stage managers. 
Description At Unicorn Theatre, we believe that art is for everyone. The 'Pay What U Can' (PWUC) program opens our doors to those that may otherwise be excluded from seeing professional theatre. Any patron that cannot afford a full-priced ticket may attend any mid-week performance at whatever price is suited to their financial reality. Our ‘Pay What U Can’ program is not just a strategy for audience development. ‘Pay What U Can’ is integral to our mission to produce diverse and inclusive theatre. The plays we produce represent diverse communities and include voices that may not otherwise be heard from the stage. At the same time, we set our prices to faithfully represent the cost and value of the work that goes into a professional theatrical production. But not everyone can afford to attend a professional play, and those communities that have historically experienced diminished representation on the stage are often the same communities that are less likely to be able to afford a full-priced ticket. This situation risks excluding those audiences to whom we most want to open our doors. Our ‘Pay What U Can’ program offers a balanced solution. No one ever has to miss a chance to see a Unicorn Theatre play because of their inability to pay.
Program Budget $50,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success
  • Kansas City Theatregoers are aware of Unicorn Theatre's Pay What U Can program. 
  • We see increased PWUC sales that correlate with increased total sales and increased revenues, as well as increased contributed income from those that have benefited from PWUC in the past. 
  • Increased foundation and corporate sponsorship of the Pay What U Can program. 
Long-Term Success
The Kansas City arts community is more inclusive, and inability to pay is not a barrier to full cultural participation. 
Program Success Monitored By We collect information from all ticket buyers including those who have utilized our Pay What U can Program.
Examples of Program Success Joyce recently attended a performance of HIR. Joyce had been attending Unicorn Theatreshows for a long time. Because of her financial reality, Pay What U Can made her consistent attendance practical. On the day that she was to attend HIR, Joyce called Unicorn Theatre and asked how she could make a donation when she arrived that evening. When she arrived that night, she handed our box office a check for $2,000.00. Life events had made it such that Joyce had some extra money and the capacity to give some of it away. Joyce made it clear that she was grateful for the Pay What U Can program, and the flexibility and inclusion it had afforded to her, and wanted to make a gift to support the program for future theatregoers.
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Levin
Term Start Jan 1979
CEO Total Compensation N/A
Experience Cynthia has been directing, designing and producing at the Unicorn since 1979. She is a founding board member of the National New Play Network, a member of Actors Equity Association, served on the Missouri Arts Council advisory panel, and is the recipient of a Missouri Arts Award, an Ingrams Magazine Local Heroes award, GLAAD leadership award, the Actors' Equity Association Kathryn V. Lamkey award, an honorary doctorate from Park University and Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Co-CEO Experience
Senior Staff
Title Associate Artistic Director
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 5
Paid Part-Time Staff 4
Paid Contractors 120
Volunteers 167
Retention Rate 50%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 5
Male 4
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Collaborations

The Unicorn has formal a collaborative agreement with UMKC Department of Theatre (since 2009) to co-produce or collaborate on at least one play at the Unicorn each season.   

Unicorn Theatre's upcoming prodution of AMERICAN SON will be a collaborative effort with Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City.
Affiliations
AffiliationYear
Theatre Communications Groups - Constituent Theatre1990
National New Play Network - Constituent Theatre1998
Actor's Equity Association1984
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Best of Kansas City--Best TheatreThe Ptich Weekly2007
Best Theatre 2006KC Independent Magazine2006
Best of Kansas City Arts & EntertainmentPitch Weekly2005
Top Rated Equity Show tick tick BoomKC Stage2006
2006 Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the ArtsJohnson County Library Foundation2006
Best Live TheatreKC Magazine2007
Best Performances of 2014: GroundedKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: Bad JewsKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: Hands on a HardbodyKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: I'll Eat You LastKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad ZooKansas City Star2014
Best of Kansas City: Critics Choice Clybourne ParkThe Pitch Weekly2014
Best of Kansas City: Critics Choice Robert Gibby Brand in SeminarThe Pitch Weekly2014
Best of Kansas City: Critics Choice Tosin Morohunfola in By the way Meet Vera StarkThe Pitch Weekly2014
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Benjamin Mann
Company Affiliation Husch Blackwell
Term July 2018 to June 2019
Board Co-Chair
Board Co-Chair Ms. Anne Lawrence-Cherry
Company Affiliation Hallmark
Term July 2018 to June 2019
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Ms. Lydia ButlerHilary's Eat Well
Ms. Winnie Dunn Ph.D.KU Medical Center
Mr. Kevin GabrielDanhov
Ms. Carol GeeUniversity of Missouri
Ms. Heather HamiltonRed Fuse
Ms. Anne Lawrence-CherryHallmark Cards, Inc.
Dr Cynthia LevinUnicorn Theatre
Mr. Benjamin MannHusch Blackwell LLP
Ms. Melissa McCrayFreelance Marketing Consultant
Ms. Kirsty MelvilleAndrews McMeel
Mr. Paul MilakovichSt. Luke's Foundation
Mr. David MooreHallmark
Ms. Yve RojasCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Kimberly Winter SternFreelance Writer
Ms. Annie SwartzCreative Courseware
Ms. Amy WrightEncompass
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 4
Female 12
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Executive
Marketing
Finance
CEO Comments
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2020
Projected Revenue $1,019,589
Projected Expenses $1,019,589
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2018, 2017, 2016: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.  
  • Foundations/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
 
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201820172016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$565,862$467,673$527,002
Government Contributions$25,112$30,437$26,300
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified$25,112$30,437$26,300
Individual Contributions------
----$0
$391,283$482,852$434,412
Investment Income, Net of Losses$44$22$44
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events$49,632$44,759$10,008
Revenue In-Kind----$0
Other$39,815$52,581$47,961
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201820172016
Program Expense$846,952$839,979$874,743
Administration Expense$137,313$203,912$168,634
Fundraising Expense$66,003$72,265$68,740
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.020.970.94
Program Expense/Total Expenses81%75%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201820172016
Total Assets$2,153,656$2,175,610$2,212,229
Current Assets$447,327$420,466$384,675
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$158,868$201,968$199,657
Total Net Assets$1,994,788$1,973,642$2,012,572
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.822.081.93
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201820172016
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose We are currently working to replenish our building maintenance fund established in 2014.        
Goal $100,000.00
Dates May 2019 to June 2020
Amount Raised to Date $20,000.00 as of Sept 2019
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Other Documents
Season Brochure2020View
Season Brochure2019View
Season Brochure2018View
Organization Name Unicorn Theatre
Address 3828 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 641111915
Primary Phone (816) 531-7529
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Levin
Board Chair Mr. Benjamin Mann
Board Chair Company Affiliation Husch Blackwell
Year of Incorporation 1974
Former Names
Theatre Workshop