Actors Theatre of Louisville

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Actors Theatre of Louisville
Main Street District, Expanded.jpg
Address 316 West Main St.
Louisville, Kentucky
United States
Coordinates 38°15′23.01″N 85°45′19.86″W / 38.2563917°N 85.7555167°W / 38.2563917; -85.7555167Coordinates: 38°15′23.01″N 85°45′19.86″W / 38.2563917°N 85.7555167°W / 38.2563917; -85.7555167
Type Regional theater
Opened 1964

Actors Theatre of Louisville is a performing arts theater located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. It was founded in 1964 by Louisville native Ewel Cornett and local producer Richard Block and was designated the "State Theater of Kentucky" in 1974. It is run as a non-profit organization. The building that became Actors Theatre was a merging of two buildings: the 1837 James H. Dakin-designed Old Bank of Louisville (which is a National Historic Landmark) and the Myers-Thompson Display Building.[1]

In May 1969, Jon Jory was appointed the theatre's new producing director. His Louisville debut was in October 1969 with Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood. 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.

Actors Theatre shows national favorites and local plays. Many Pulitzer Prize-winning plays have premiered at the theater, including works by Donald Margulies, Beth Henley and Jane Martin. The theater has received the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award, the Margo Jones Award, and a Special Tony Award for local, non-profit theaters. It hosts the Humana Festival of New American Plays every spring. This Festival of new American plays started by Jory in 1976 has been described by the Los Angeles Times as the Kentucky Derby of the American Theatre. The festival was funded by the Humana Foundation from 1979. Over 300 Humana Festival plays have been produced with over three-fourths of them now published, thus substantially adding to the catalog of American dramatic literature.

Actors Theatre presents nearly 600 performances of about 30 productions during its year-round season composed of contemporary and classical drama. It has one of the largest per capita subscription audiences in the country and an annual attendance of over 200,000.

The theatre offers an apprentice/intern training program designed to help recent college graduates make the transition from academic to professional theater.

Marc Masterson was appointed the company's new Artistic Director in the summer of 2000. He forms the foundation for a vision of the future of Actors Theatre, which he describes as "a place where artists thrive and continually enrich us, where our work elevates the role of the theater in contemporary society by redefining the way that an arts organization relates to its community, and where pluralistic values inherent in our art form become a celebration of the diversity and richness of our culture."

In 2002, Masterson 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.

In 2004 Actors Theatre acquired a production studio at 9th and Magnolia Streets in the Old Louisville neighborhood. In 2006, the theater raised $13.5 million in support of capital investments to improve the patron experience, production excellence and administrative advancement.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Putting Down Roots: The Actors Theatre of Louisville Builds a Stage to Call Home". National Endowment for the Arts. February 2, 2007. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2008. 

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