Actors Theatre has become the cornerstone of the revitalization of Louisville’s Main Street. As the centerpiece of the city’s urban cultural district, Actors Theatre has significant economic impact on a vital downtown life.
The theatre offers an apprentice/intern training program designed to help recent college graduates make the transition from academic to professional theatre. This competitive program results in excellent employment placement for its talented participants.
Four active volunteer support groups assist the theatre—Actors Associates, a service-oriented organization founded in 1966; the Generation One Board, a league of young professionals, established in 1991, which works primarily to build a new generation of audiences; the Teacher Advisory Council, a group of active and retired teachers; and a large usher corps, that assists with patron services at performances. In all, over 900 individuals provide volunteer service for the theatre.
After 30 years and 1,300 productions, producing director Jon Jory retired from Actors Theatre in September 2000 to assume a teaching position in the School of Drama at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Poised to lead Actors Theatre into a new era of artistic achievement, 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 theatre 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 a variety of public outreach programs including classroom workshops, artists in the schools, increased weekday student matinees, backstage tours and professional development for teachers and community center leaders.
In 2005, a $13.5 million capital campaign was launched to raise funds to purchase a larger production studio, make necessary capital improvements including updated lighting, as well as increasing the theatre’s endowment. The theatre acquires a new 45,000 square foot production studio, greatly expanding space available for set design and construction as well as storage for scenery and properties.
In 2006, Jennifer Bielstein joined the Actors Theatre leadership team as Managing Director, replacing the retired Executive Director Alexander Speer, who served the theatre for 40 years.
Acclaimed for its artistic programming and business acumen, Actors Theatre presents over 500 performances of about 20 productions during its year-round season composed of a diverse array of contemporary and classical fare. It boasts one of the largest per capita season ticket holder audiences in the country and logs an annual attendance of over 200,000.
The theatre’s other community outreach offerings include free apprentice showcase productions; public seminars and workshops; pre-and post-performance discussions; facility tours; discounted season tickets plans for students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and educators; audio described performances for low vision patrons and performances interpreted in American Sign Language. Works by distinguished local and regional visual artists are showcased during the season in a free gallery located throughout the theatre’s lobbies.
Located on the lower level of the theatre complex, Intermezzo Café serves dinner before performances, drinks at intermission and dessert following the show.