StoryWorks KC

KCPT recently partnered with The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and Kansas City's The Living Room Theatre to present "StoryWorks KC: Justice in the Embers," an exploration of the 1988 explosion in south Kansas City that caused the tragic deaths of six Kansas City firefighters.

The production, written by local playwright Michelle T. Johnson, was inspired in part by the reporting of KCPT's Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mike McGraw, who has written about the case since 2007 with The Kansas City Star. 

Directed by StoryWorks' Jennifer Welch, "Justice in the Embers" ran February 4-20, 2016, as a community airing and theatrical exploration of the issues—local and universal, touching on justice, equality and belief—that arise from this tragic Kansas City story.

Over its run, the play brought community members together with those involved in the actual events. Each night, the stage play was immediately followed by a "Talk Back" event, where the often sold-out audiences could speak to investigators, family members, lawyers and other interested parties.

Using a Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for re-sentencing hearings for minors with life sentences, a U.S. District judge ruled In March, 2017, that Bryan Sheppard, a central figure in the case and play, was to be released for time served. Follow those and other stories through the links below or at Flatland, KCPT's digital magazine.

KCPT

Storyworks: Justice in the Embers | Arts Upload

"StoryWorks gets to the emotional truth of investigative journalism. Based on facts and allowing for artistic exploration, we delve into the personal stories behind the headlines and create dialogue through theater.” —Jennifer Welch, Director of StoryWorks

The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) | @CIRonline
The Living Room Theater | @thelivingroomkc

'I Can't Let It Go' | Part I

EDITOR'S NOTE: This first-person account of one journalist's attempts to shed light on potential problems in the U.S. justice system is part of a larger effort by KCPT and The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) to explore the meaning of justice in the context of the 1988 explosion in south Kansas City that killed six Kansas City firefighters.

'I Can't Let It Go' | Part II

EDITOR'S NOTE: This first-person account of one journalist's attempts to shed light on potential problems in the U.S. justice system is part of a larger effort by KCPT and The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) to explore the meaning of justice in the context of the 1988 explosion in south Kansas City that killed six Kansas City firefighters.

Timeline of Events