Actors Theatre of Louisville Announces Lineup for a Virtual 2020-2021

The 2020-2021 Brown-Forman Series will be presented through ‘Actors Theatre Direct.’
Next up: free, virtual event Fix It, Black Girl by Hannah L. Drake.

LOUISVILLE, KY – Actors Theatre of Louisville and Executive Artistic Director Robert Barry Fleming proudly announce the lineup of 2020–2021 virtual programming, presented through Actors Theatre Direct, the company’s multi- channel, transmedia approach to storytelling. Fleming shares,

In envisioning a new season of work at this time in our community, we seek to rigorously reimagine how a 21st century theatre can be shared and of service to our Louisville and Kentuckiana family who are continuing to process the tragic murder of Breonna Taylor and a weekend of protests and violence, during the ongoing disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 12, we will present Fix It, Black Girl, an original curation of spoken word poetry, essay and song by Hannah L. Drake, a Louisville-based and nationally-recognized poet, author and blogger, and a group of black female Louisville artists. This will be a free, virtual event to celebrate resilience and the power generated by a collective meditation on black women’s role in civic and social action.

By investing in a multimedia, multiplatform strategy to share our storyworlds, be it audio, video, or animation, Actors Theatre’s innovative new digital programming seeks to broaden access to our work while forging new pathways for imaginative interaction.

Robert Barry Fleming describes Actors Theatre’s approach to virtual programming:

Actors Theatre is meeting this turbulent moment of global uncertainty and national unrest with a season of stories that meditate on historical legacy, the transformative nature of courage, conviction and hope.

When informed by an inclusive spirit of adventure, great disruption can lead to prodigious periods of innovation and inspired strides in the development of new media have led to some extraordinary intersections with storytelling that have (r)evolutionized new and emerging technologies and, most importantly, their impact on deepening human connections.

We are fully embracing this opportunity to indulge in hyper-theatricality through a transmedia approach where our story universes unfold on different platforms and give diverse audiences interactive and one-of-a-kind artistic experiences.

I invite audiences to join us in this unprecedented moment of exploration: tell us what intrigues you, spread the word and join us as we iterate, innovate, entertain and envision the future of the American theatre.

Fleming previously announced Actors Theatre’s commitment to virtual programming. Learn more here.

Chief External Relations Officer Patrick Owen shares what audiences can expect this year:

In addition to experiencing a full menu of artistic offerings, we invite the Actors Theatre family to participate in conversation with weekly Facebook Live series ‘Actors Theatre Unscripted,’ a new podcast, ‘Borrowed Wisdom with Robert Barry Fleming,’ and new supplemental artistic content, resources and experiential activities like shared watch parties and talkbacks that we are designing to enhance audience engagement with the work.

Next month, we will roll out flexible tiered subscription packages for on-demand access to the season’s projects. For each announced title, virtual single tickets will come on sale on a rolling schedule and will feature pay-what-you-can pricing levels and opportunities to engage with supplemental artistic content throughout the season.

By engaging in this new work as subscribers and ticket buyers, sharing it with others, and providing us feedback, audiences play a critical role in supporting the team of artists and staff at Actors Theatre. We are excited to go on this journey with you.

Actors Theatre will once again celebrate the holidays with Louisville’s favorite traditions, presented this year as brand-new radio plays. Fifth Third Bank’s Dracula: A Radio Play and Fifth Third Bank’s A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play are all-new adaptations and immersive listening experiences created by Actors Theatre’s creative team, in collaboration with award-winning radio professionals.

The 2020-2021 Brown-Forman Series

The following projects will comprise the 2020-2021 Brown-Forman Series. Onsale and streaming dates will be available soon.

Actors Theatre plans to kick off the 2020-2021 Brown-Forman Series with The Keep Going Song, an intimate evening of storytelling and song with indie-folk duo The Bengsons (last seen in Where the Mountain Meets the Sea, part of the 44th Humana Festival of New American Plays). Lean into the small glow of your phones and computers as Abigail and Shaun Bengson explore living fully even in moments of fear, choosing to love fiercely, and cultivating joy as a form of personal activism.

COVID-Classics: a collection of one-act plays for the age of quarantine will be presented next. This lively, mixed-media collection of short plays reaches into the past—to the work of trailblazing writers like Chekhov, Pirandello, Strindberg and Apollinaire—to find surprising echoes in the present.

Playwright Brian Quijada’s tribute to his roots, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, is a riveting, beat-driven one-person show about the experience of growing up in an immigrant family, searching for a place in American history and finding identity in making art.

The year continues with Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End. Louisville-based performer Jessica Wortham stars as iconic humorist Erma Bombeck, who aimed to define herself beyond the roles of wife and mother—while still embracing how these “ordinary” things can bring extraordinary joy.

In 2021, the Bingham Signature Shakespeare Series returns with Romeo and Juliet, directed by Robert Barry Fleming, featuring a cast that reflects the cultural multiplicity of our contemporary world, where young non-binary, racially and ethnically diverse inhabitants live and love in a head-on collision with the social politics of a fractured society at war with itself.

The new year will also bring the 45th Humana Festival of New American Plays. The lineup features an impactful play with deep local roots by acclaimed playwright, poet and Humana Festival alum Idris Goodwin. Ali Summit explores a defining moment in the story of Muhammed Ali, a Louisville icon, and his conscientious objection to serving in the Vietnam War. This work is supported by a Building Demand for the Arts grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The Humana Festival is a world-renowned event, and an opportunity to experience groundbreaking, brand-new work by the American theatre's most talented artists. The Festival is underwritten by the Humana Foundation, thr philanthropic arm of Humana, Inc. The full lineup for the 45th Humana Festival of New American Plays will be announced at a later date.

The 2020–2021 Lineup is generously supported by Brown-Forman, the official season sponsor, with additional support from Fund for the Arts, the Kentucky Arts Council and Yum! Brands, which supports the expansion of virtual student programming.