by Robert Barry Fleming, Executive Artistic DirectorActors on March 14, 2022
Actors Theatre of Louisville remains dedicated to the development and production of new stories and continues to be a home for the cultivation of emerging artists. Though there will not be a Festival of New American Plays in 2022, we are unwavering in our commitment to broadening, deepening, and diversifying the American Theatre canon in form and content. The transformation of how we support and share new work is part of the larger evolution in our strategic vision. While the pivot is independent from our long-term partner, the Humana Foundation, and its new focus on health equity, in fact the missions and strategic goals of the two organizations complement each other more than ever.
In order to uplift, celebrate, and expand the tremendous legacy of the Festival, it is necessary to re-imagine a 21st-century model that is sustainable, equitable, and radically accessible, in alignment with our mission and values as an arts and culture organization as social enterprise. Over the past two years, during which our traditional operating models have proven ineffective and unsafe, we have explored new ways of connecting artists and audiences, as evidenced by the 2021 Humana Festival Virtual Exhibition of New Work and Emergent Technologies.
Our learnings from these platforms will carry forward as we expand our definitions of new work development. Still Ready, written and performed by Christina Acosta Robinson and Ken Robinson, premieres in-person in the Bingham Theater in May, 2022. This joyful performance blending original music, poetry, visual art, and a story of Black artistry, spirituality, and family was originally conceived as a streaming docuseries in the Humana Foundation- supported 2021 Exhibition of New Work and Emergent Technologies. Additionally, in the tradition of Actors Theatre’s New Voices initiative, THREADS OF OUR HISTORY: Where We Intertwine, written by students engaged in the Justice Now program of Jefferson County Public Schools addressing the social justice past and present of Louisville, premieres in the Bingham Theater March 25-27. Outside the confines of our theatrical space, Actors Theatre of Louisville is engaged at the intersection of arts and healing in two innovative collaborations: one with nurse and dancer Tara Rynders on The Clinic, a series of immersive artistic resiliency workshops for nurses, and another with the University of Kentucky College of Nursing to produce youth suicide prevention training materials for school nurses in our region.
Through transmedia, multi-platform storytelling including in-person productions, mixed-reality performances, live virtual events, digital streaming productions, animated shorts, radio plays, virtual reality experiences, a video game, a podcast, a series featuring Kentucky musicians, and lively forums for community dialogue, we are proud that Actors Theatre has focused our energies and resources on artistic practice that centers the health, wellness, and full flourishing of our communities here in Louisville and beyond.