Humana Festival Keynotes and Panel Conversation Archive

 Anne Bogart: A Call to Action


Anne Bogart, one of American theatre’s most innovative and influential artists, returned to Actors Theatre and took the stage. With the nation—and the field—at a crossroads, Bogart presented this thought-provoking and dialectic address about where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.

The Kilroys in Conversation


Founded in 2013, The Kilroys are a Los Angeles-based gang of playwrights and producers who are taking action on gender parity in American theatre. Members of this trailblazing collective Joy Meads, Kelly Miller, Meg Miroshnik and Zakiyyah Alexander joined Actors Theatre for a lively panel discussion about their advocacy for female and transgender writers, their strategies for using informal power to make change, and the work that lies ahead.

 Lessons From Inclusive Theatre: Making Work Accessible to the Disability Community


Patrons gathered to learn from local community members with disabilities about what’s going on in Louisville’s inclusive theatre scene. How might an understanding of how Louisville-based artists with disabilities do their own inclusive work inform the work we do as regional theatre professionals? How can open, honest conversations with artists from the disability community encourage us to make our own practices more accessible to audiences, staff members, and collaborating artists with disabilities?

42nd Humana Festival College Days Hot Topics Session: Issues Shaping American Theatre


Attendees joined Actors Theatre for a group of TED-style talks exploring hot topics in the American Theatre. This workshop provided new insight into the world of professional theatre and what’s happening across the field.

42nd Humana Festival College Days Panel: Assisting: Learning by Supporting


Many of the roles available to new graduates are as assistants (to directors, designers, stage managers), but what makes a good assistant and a good assistantship? How do you grow and learn through supporting, but not leading, the process? Join us as members of the artistic and production staff discuss how to make the most of assisting.

42nd Humana Festival College Days Keynote Address: Loving What you Hate When It Hates You, Too.

With A. Rey Pamatmat


Playwright and Humana Festival alum A. Rey Pamatmat presents a queer artist of color’s totally serious, life-or-death tips on how to survive in a world that hates and fears you—without having to be part of The X-Men. #liveyourtruth #soultherapy #Speedsicle4life Pamatmat is the award-winning author of Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (2011 Humana Festival, Steinberg/ATCA New Play Citation), after all the terrible things I do, House Rules, and many other plays. He is co-director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and teaches at Primary Stages ESPA and SUNY Purchase.

Finding the Players: Casting Directors and New Work


This discussion, co-sponsored by Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Casting Society of America (CSA), explores the crucial behind-the-scenes work of casting professionals as they collaborate with playwrights, directors, and producers to match artists with new plays. CSA is the premier organization for casting directors in film, television, theatre and new media.

41st Humana Festival Artist’s Insight: Taylor Mac


“Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming every one of them,” says the NEW YORK TIMES of the astonishing artist whose epic durational concert, A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC, stirred awe and admiration this season. The award-winning Mac—a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer—joined the Humana Festival for a lively talk.

41st Humana Festival College Days Hot Topics Session: Issues Shaping American Theatre


Attendees joined Actors Theatre for a group of TED-style talks exploring hot topics in the American Theatre. This workshop provided new insight into the world of professional theatre and what’s happening across the field.

41st Humana Festival College Days Keynote Address: Naomi Iizuka


Renowned playwright (and five-time Humana Festival alumna) Naomi Iizuka shared wisdom with the next generation of theatre artists in this College Days Weekend keynote speech. Iizuka heads the graduate playwriting program at the University of California San Diego, and she’s the acclaimed author of numerous plays, including Polaroid Stories, 36 Views, Language of Angels, Skin, Anon(ymous), At the Vanishing Point, Good Kids, and many others.

Rajiv Joseph: Benefits of Self-Loathing


a Keynote Address at the 40th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville

The Path to Production


In this lively exchange, directors discuss their position’s distinct role in the formation of new plays. Participants pulled back the curtain on the challenges and opportunities a director faces while bringing a world premiere production to life, and how they can advocate for their contributions to the process. This panel was presented with support from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. Introduction by Megan E. Carter, Director, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation and moderated by Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center.

Artists and Scientists: Great Minds Think Alike


Moderated by Steve Cosson, Artistic Director, The Civilians. Panelists: Joe Waechter, Jessica Segall, Ivo Peters, Cynthia Hopkins and Ruth West.
A panel comprised of artists and scientists examines the similarities in thought and process between their seemingly disparate fields. Through inventive new partnerships, interdisciplinary groups of these like-minded thinkers are exploring new ideas and methods of collaborative discovery, working outside the box and embracing risk as a path to innovation.This discussion is part of the Louisville Arts and Cultural Attractions Council’s Year of the Environment and Sustainability, the YES! Fest. This Panel featured Steve Cosson, a director and writer and the Artistic Director of The Civilians, Joe Waechter, a playwright and theatre-maker living in Minneapolis, Jessica Segall, a multidisciplinary artist living in New York City, Ivo Peters, an experimental physicist working at the University of Chicago, where he is investigating the dynamic behavior of granular suspensions, Cynthia Hopkins, an internationally acclaimed musical performance artist, and Ruth West, an artist-scientist.

The Role of Storytelling in the 21st Century with Anne Bogart


A lively keynote and call and response with seminal American Theatre maker, Anne Bogart.

The Art of Collective Invention


There are many ways to make a new play (or to make an old play new again), and the work of ensemble-driven companies has redefined the American theatrical landscape over the last several decades. In this conversation, members of trailblazing collectives from around the nation discuss the ethos of the ensemble, reimagining the classics, and creating new work. Participants include: The Civilians, New York City, NY, The Hypocrites, Chicago, IL, The Moving Company, Minneapolis, MN, SITI Company, New York City, NY.

Perspectives in Theatre Criticism—A Keynote by Lauren Gunderson


Part of American Theatre Critics Association Annual Conference, this livestreaming event from Louisville, will be a keynote address delivered by Lauren Gunderson, a Steinberg/ATCA New Play award finalist, intended to sound deep themes on the nature of theatre criticism as a craft, and on the relationship between the critic, theatre artists and the public. This event is underwritten by the Foundation of the American Theatre Critics Association.

A Conversation with Anne Bogart


Les Waters interviews the visionary director, professor, author and Artistic Director of SITI Company, Anne Bogart. With SITI Company celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year—and with Bogart’s fifth book, What’s the Story, coming off the presses in 2014—Actors Theatre of Louisville hands the microphone to one of the American theatre’s great artist-philosophers.

50 Years: An Abridged History of Actors Theatre of Louisville


How did Actors Theatre get started? Where did the idea come from to create the Humana Festival? Why Louisville, Kentucky? Through a collection of anecdotes, memories, tall tales and wild rumors, some of Actors’ best storytellers guide you down memory lane, sharing how Actors Theatre of Louisville became a leading institution in the American theatre. Part of College Days Weekend, a three-day immersion into the world-renowned Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Looking Back, Moving Forward: New Work


New approaches and new ideas for the American theater are increasingly in demand. But where do we look for inspiration? And what steps do we take once the spark ignites? Through performance, writing exercises and personal reflection, Idris Goodwin (poet, performer and Remix 38 playwright) offers a few considerations about how the past can be fertile ground for inspiration—and how we might reconsider our own role in bringing our stories to life.

Charting the Course: New Play Directors in Conversation


The work of a theater director is strange stuff: equal parts interpretation, invention, and forward-looking strategy. For the director of a new play working to bring a playwright’s vision to three-dimensional life for the first time, the demands of the role can be especially idiosyncratic. Join us as this panel comprised of Humana Festival directors—moderated by playwright and director Kwame Kwei-Armah (Artistic Director, CENTERSTAGE)—engages in a frank discussion about the process of staging new work.

The Playwright as Teacher and Student


Featuring writers who have taught at or have recently attended some of the country’s most innovative graduate programs in playwriting, this discussion examines the art of teaching—and learning—a creative habit and craft. Participants in this conversation, which was facilitated by Adam Rapp, included:
i. Jeff Augustin
ii. Mallery Avidon
iii. Sarah Ruhl
iv. Deborah Stein
v. Paula Vogel

Critiquing Criticism: (re)imagining the future


As meaningful coverage of the performing arts dwindles in newspapers across the country, industry experts come together to envision new possibilities for the future of arts criticism. Part idea slam, part dialogue, this forum attempts to get out ahead of current trends and imagine what could be. Hear the panelists’ manifestos and engage in a dynamic conversation about where we ought to be heading, and how to get there. Moderated by Polly Carl, Editor of and joined by: Sasha Anawalt (Publisher,, Ilana M. Brownstein (Founding Dramaturg, Playwrights’ Commons), Gordon Cox (Variety), Thomas Graves (Co-Producing Artistic Director, Rude Mechs), William F. Hirschman (Chair, New Plays Committee, American Theatre Critics Association), Deborah Stein (Playwright), and Diep Tran (American Theatre Magazine).

The Scribes Speak: A Playwrights’ Forum


Featuring members of Actors Theatre’s National Playwright Advisory Team including: Molly Smith Metzler, Allison Moore, Adam Rapp, and Steven Sapp.

There is Another Way! How Artistic Thinking Inspires New Ideas


A discussion on the power of creative thinking in innovation and the role of the artist on stage and beyond. The panel featured: Lisa Kron, Playwright of The Veri**on Play, Jae Rhim Lee, Artist-in-Residence at MIT, and Rick Johnson, from Kentucky Science and Technology Corp.

The Good Groupthink: How Communities Solve Problems


Kris Kimel, founder of Louisville’s IdeaFestival, facilitated a panel discussion exploring how communities have banded together to generate solutions to current issues. The panel featured a cross-section of artists, educators and entrepreneurs who shared their insights on the problem-solving power of “crowd” intelligence. The panel included: Louisville-based Filmmaker and Entrepreneur, Gill Holland; Russel Hulsey, Artist; Nat Irvin, University of Louisville Business School; Will McAdams, Theater artist specializing in community-devised work, and Dr. Ted Smith, Director of the newly-formed Office of Economic Growth and Innovation.

Actors Theater of Louisville
316 West Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Box Office: 502.584.1205
502.371.0956 TDD

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