Beyond the stage: How TPAC provides Topeka with more than just entertainment


Many people know the Topeka Performaning Arts Center as a place to watch plays or musicals, but people who work there say it’s much more than that. 

In addition to bringing popular entertainment acts to Topeka for people to enjoy, TPAC also serves thousands of kids each year through their arts education programs.

Brail Watson grew up loving music.

That passion led him to opportunities most musicians dream of — a recording contract and a chance to tour. 

However, he gave it up to help grow the arts among young people in his hometown.

“I’m not special, but I am an exception in some ways,” sais Watson. “So, I’m like if I want other people to be able to have the opportunities that I had, I need to be here to help build that platform for others.”

For Watson, part of that is getting involved with TPAC.

Through their five youth education programs, they serve thousands of kids each year.

Aidan Miller is one of them. He’s particpated in their programs and performed multiple times on their stage.

“I would not be standing here in front of you all, being in broadway shows with people, I would not be there without this venue today,” said Miller.

When you buy a ticket to a TPAC show, it goes towards bringing in performers and maintaining their youth programs.

“If there’s any money that was netted, any profits, they’re reinvested back into the not-for-profit, so that more programming can happen,” said TPAC Executive Director Larry Gawronski. “That means the more successful the programs are, the more successful next year’s program will be for those children.”

Watson believes that through those programs, doors will be open for many more kids across Topeka.

“What TPAC provides is an accessible way for the community to both learn about, perform and share the arts, and that is unbelievably important,” said Watson.

Gawronski said while donations are exrtemely helpful, they’re always looking volunteers.

Volunteer positions include:

  • Greeter
  • Usher
  • Ticket taker
  • Guest services
  • VIP host
  • Clerical renovation
  • Restoration

To find out more about how you can get involved, click HERE

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