Ron Himes is the Founder and Producing Director of the Saint Louis Black Repertory Company, which has developed a national reputation for staging quality productions from an African-American perspective. He founded the company in 1976 while still a student at Washington University, where he graduated with a a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The Black Rep began touring to other college campuses and, in 1981, found a home in the former sanctuary of the Greely Presbyterian Church in north St. Louis City, which the company converted and renamed the 23rd Street Theatre. In 1991, after a multi-million dollar renovation, the company moved into the former First Congregation Church building, located in the heart of the Grand Center arts and education district in midtown, renaming it the Grandel Square Theatre.
He has produced and directed more than 100 plays at The Black Rep, including August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, the Black Rep’s own I Remember Harlem II. His acting credits include starring roles in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil, Sty of the Blind Pig, The Meeting, When The Chickens Came Home to Roost, Boesman and Lena, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and I’m Not Rappaport. Other acting credits include the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, several productions with the St. Louis’ Theatre Project Company and the MUNY. In 1993, Himes appeared as Clarence Thomas in Unquestioned Integrity: The Hill/Thomas Hearings. In 1994, The Black Rep’s production of The Meeting moved to Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Himes national theatrical credits include work for the University of South Carolina; the Delaware Theatre Company; the Goldenrod Showboat, the Indiana Rep; the Studio Theatre in Washington D.C., the University of Illinois at Champaign; the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska; and the Old Creamery Theatre in Garrison, Iowa, the People’s Light and Theatre Company in Malvern, Pennsylvania; and the Missouri Repertory Theatre in Kansas City.
In 2003, Himes was appointed the first Henry E. Hampton, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Washington University, a joint appointment of the Performing Arts and African American studies departments. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the St. Louis 2004 Heroes Pierre Laclede Award in 2004; The Arts & Education Council’s: Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001; The Better Family Life’s Creative Artist Award in 1997; the St. Louis Black Repertory Company’s Woodie Award for Best Direction from 1994-1997; and Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1993, and from Washington University in 1997; and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Life and Legacy Award from the National Pan-Hellenic Alumni council. In. 1993, the Ron Himes Scholarship Fund was established at Webster University in St. Louis.
Himes has served on boards, panels, and advisory councils for a number of arts organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts; the John F. Kennedy Center; the Arts and Humanities Commission, the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education; the Missouri Arts Council; the Regional Arts Commission; the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis; the Regional Commerce and Growth Association; the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Foundation; and the Midwest African-American Arts Alliance.