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Actors Theatre Artistic Director Les Waters To Step Down

Justin Philalack

Actors Theatre of Louisville announced Wednesday that Artistic Director Les Waters will step down from his position after six years. According to a news release, Waters will depart in the summer of 2018, following the close of the theater’s 2017-18 season, to pursue personal projects.

“It has been a privilege to lead, along with Jennifer Bielstein and lately Kevin E. Morre, one of America’s great artistic institutions,” Waters said in the release.

“I am deeply grateful to the Board, staff, artists, volunteers and audiences for all their support. Together we have had considerable success and we’ve made many great shows during my tenure.” 

Waters arrived in Louisville in 2011. He was the fourth artistic director in the company’s history.

He came from California, where he had been director of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He was known for taking on new and challenging work, including the Obie Award-winning “In the Next Room (Or the Vibrator Play),” which later went on to Broadway.

During his time in Louisville, Waters brought new energy to the long-running Humana Festival of New American Plays.

His decision to double Actors’ commissioning program resulted in Humana Festival-debuted plays having runs all across the country, such as Lucas Hnath’s “The Christians,” Sarah Ruhl’s “For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday,” and Charles Mee’s “The Glory of the World.”

Programming for Actors Theatre’s 2018-19 season — to be announced in February — will be selected under Water’s direction.

Details about the search for a new artistic director will be announced soon.

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