Flint, MI—Flint Beat is partnering with long-time Flint theatre reviewer Kathleen Kirby and her website, Flint Area Theatres, to expand its Arts and Entertainment coverage of the city and highlight the city’s theatre community. 

According to Kirby, who spent 25 years writing theatre reviews for The Flint Journal, the city’s theatre scene is a unique one. At one point having seven local theatres in the area, Kirby said the city has a long history of talent that has unfortunately gone unnoticed.

“I’ve always been very impressed by the Flint theatre scene because it’s been very diverse and extensive…We’re not considered a highly cultural town for whatever reason, but we at one point had almost 7 or 8 amateur theatres, more than anyone else I can think of at that time,” Kirby said.

Although that number has dropped over the years, Kirby pointed out the Flint area is still home to groups like the UM-Flint Theatre Department, The Flint Community Players, The Rep, and The McCree Theatre, as well as neighboring theatre groups like Fenton’s Village Players and Clio Cast and Crew. 

Kirby also mentioned that on top of having a robust theatre community, Flint’s plays have historically always been well attended. The city has always had an interest in theatre, she said. 

“Sometimes the shows are absolutely packed,” she said. “They’re just starting to open up again after the pandemic and they’re having to cut back on how many people can attend…I think they make a huge contribution to the community.”

Scott Atkinson, Flint Beat’s managing editor said he is excited for this new partnership. Though Flint Beat has always put an emphasis on covering local art and artists, Atkinson said it’s time to expand coverage even more. 

“I wrote about art and theatre in this community for years, and like Kathleen I recognize that without exposure, the public isn’t aware of what is in their own back yard,” Atkinson said.

As theatres begin to reopen and Flintstones start looking for something to do, Atkinson said it’s important to continue covering the arts and there is no better way to do that than by partnering with Kathleen and her team of reviewers. 

“One of my goals since coming on board a year ago has been to have consistent art coverage, and the opportunity for theatre reviews from a veteran like Kathleen and her team of writers expands that even further,” Atkinson said. 

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...