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Actors Theatre of Louisville is a non-profit
performing arts The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are Art#Forms, genres, media, and styles, art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, s ...
theater Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art The performing arts are arts such as music, dance, and drama which are performed for an audience. It is different from visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as pain ...

theater
located in
downtown ''Downtown'' is a term primarily used in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up t ...

downtown
Louisville, Kentucky Louisville ( , , ) is the largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can ...
. Actors Theatre was founded in 1964 following the merging of two local companies, Actors, Inc. and Theatre Louisville, operated by Louisville natives Ewel Cornett and Richard Block. Designated as the "State Theater of Kentucky" in 1974, the theatre has been called one of America's most consistently innovative professional theatre companies, with an annual attendance of 150,000. The theatre presents almost 400 performances annually, including classics and contemporary work through the Brown-Forman Series, holiday plays, a series of free theatrical events produced by the Professional Training Company, and the
Humana Festival of New American Plays Humana Festival of New American Plays is an internationally renowned festival that celebrates the contemporary American playwright. Produced annually in Louisville, Kentucky by Actors Theatre of Louisville, this festival showcases new theatrical ...
. In addition, the theatre provides arts experiences to students across the region through its education department and supports a pre-professional resident training program, the Professional Training Company. The theatre has been the recipient of a Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays. The theater has toured to 29 cities and 15 countries. Currently, there are more than 50 published books of plays and criticism from the theater in circulation—including anthologies of Humana Festival plays, volumes of ten-minute plays and monologues, and essays, scripts and lectures from the Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival. Numerous plays first produced at the theatre have also been published as individual acting editions.


Humana Festival of New American Plays

The Humana Festival has introduced nearly 450 plays into the American and international theatre's general repertoire, including three Pulitzer Prize winners—''The Gin Game'' by D. L. Coburn, ''Crimes of the Heart'' by Beth Henley and ''Dinner with Friends'' by Donald Margulies—as well as Marsha Norman's ''Getting Out'', John Pielmeier's ''Agnes of God'', Charles Mee's ''Big Love'', Naomi Iizuka's ''Polaroid Stories'' and ''At the Vanishing Point'', Jane Martin's ''Anton in Show Business'', Rinne Groff's ''The Ruby Sunrise'', Theresa Rebeck's ''The Scene'', Gina Gionfriddo's ''After Ashley'' and ''Becky Shaw'', UNIVERSES' ''Ameriville'', Rude Mechs' ''The Method Gun'', Jordan Harrison's ''Maple and Vine'', Will Eno's ''Gnit'', Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' ''Appropriate'', and Lucas Hnath's ''Death Tax'' and ''The Christians''. More than 380 Humana Festival plays have been published in anthologies and individual acting editions. The Humana Festival draws theater lovers, journalists, and film and stage producers from around the world. About 36,000 patrons attend the five weeks of plays and associated events, which includes a dedicated weekend for college students, which annually attracts students from more than 40 colleges and universities. The Festival culminates in two Industry Weekends which bring together a collection of amazing new plays with one-of-a-kind panels, cocktail parties, discussions and networking events.


Leadership

In May 1969,
Jon Jory Jon Jory is a theatrical director instrumental in the development of Actors Theatre of Louisville; he is also widely rumored to be the writer behind the pseudonym Jane Martin. Childhood Jory is a child of cinema of the United States, Hollywood char ...
, the son of stage and screen star
Victor Jory Victor Jory (November 23, 1902 – February 12, 1982) was a Canadian-American actor An actor is a person who portrays a character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Du ...
was appointed the theater's new producing director. During this three decades in Louisville he produced more than 1,300 plays, increased Actors Theatre's budget from $244,000 to $8.3 million. His Louisville debut was in October 1969 with
Dylan Thomas Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh people, Welsh poet and writer whose works include the poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion"; the "play for voices" ''Und ...
' ''
Under Milk Wood ''Under Milk Wood'' is a 1954 radio drama Radio drama (or audio drama, audio play, radio play, radio theatre, or audio theatre) is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance A performance is an act of staging or presenting a play, conc ...
''. Former Executive Director, Alexander Speer, whose tenure of forty years began in 1965, became Jory's partner and led the theater's administration and operations until his retirement in the spring of 2006. Marc Masterson was appointed the company's new Artistic Director in 2000. He had previously served as producing director of City Theatre in Pittsburgh. During his tenure at Actors Theatre, Masterson produced more than 200 plays and expanded and established an Education Department consisting of public outreach programs including classroom workshops, artists in the schools, increased weekday student matinées, backstage tours and professional development for teachers and community center leaders. Masterson left Actors Theatre in 2011 to become artistic director at
South Coast Repertory South Coast Repertory (SCR) is a professional theatre company located in Costa Mesa, California. Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Direc ...
in California. Following a national search, Obie Award-winning director
Les Waters Les Waters (born in Cleethorpes, England) is a British people, British theatre director. Waters was the Artistic Director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville. He has directed plays Off-Broadway and also at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Actors ...
was named artistic director on November 29, 2011, and assumed full-time duties at the theater in January 2012. A strong proponent of contemporary work and imaginative adaptations of classic materials, Waters is widely regarded as one of the most influential directors working in America today. In November 2017, Waters announced that the season would be his last. He left Louisville in summer 2018 to pursue his freelance directing career.


Buildings

The original home of Actors Theatre was an open loft—the former Egyptian Tea Room—above the Taylor Trunk Company on Fourth Street in downtown Louisville. In 1965, the theater relocated to the former site of the Illinois Central Railway Station on Seventh Street and River Road. The space was transformed by Architect Jasper Ward into a 350-seat theatre. In the fall of 1969, the city announced that the train station was to be demolished to make way for a connector highway. In October 1972, the theater relocated to the newly renovated Old Bank of Louisville building on Main Street, where it remains to this day. The building that became Actors Theatre was a merging of two buildings: the 1837 James H. Dakin-designed
Old Bank of Louisville The Old Bank of Louisville, also known historically as the Southern National Bank building, is a historic commercial building at 316 West Main Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky Louisville (, , ) is the List of cities in Kentucky, larg ...
(which is a
National Historic Landmark A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. governme ...
) and the Myers-Thompson Display Building. In 2004 the theatre acquired a production studio at 9th and Magnolia Streets in the
Old Louisville Old Louisville is a Historic districts in the United States, historic district and neighborhood in central Louisville, Kentucky, Louisville, Kentucky, United States. It is the third largest such district in the United States, and the largest histo ...

Old Louisville
neighborhood.


See also

*
List of attractions and events in the Louisville metropolitan area This is a list of visitor attractions and annual events in the Louisville, Kentucky, Louisville Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area, metropolitan area. Annual festivals and other events Spring * Abbey Road on the ...
*
Performing arts in Louisville, Kentucky The performing arts community in Louisville, Kentucky is undergoing a renaissance. The Kentucky Center, dedicated in 1983, located in the downtown hotel and entertainment district, is a premiere performing arts center. It features a variety of p ...


References


Further reading

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External links


Actors Theatre official website
* {{authority control Theatre companies in Kentucky 1964 establishments in Kentucky Arts venues in Louisville, Kentucky League of Resident Theatres Theatres in Kentucky Tony Award winners Regional theatre in the United States