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Actors Theatre of Louisville announced the lineup for the 43rd Humana Festival of New American Plays this week. A cultural highlight for theatre lovers, artists, and producers across the country, the Humana Festival runs March 1 through April 7, 2019in Louisville Kentucky.

The upcoming lineup brings the return of two writers with important history with the company and the Humana Festival.

Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2 (8 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play) just finished a run at Actors Theatre. His other plays included Hillary and ClintonRed SpeedoThe Christians (2014 Humana Festival)A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt DisneyIsaac’s Eye and Death Tax. He has been produced on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre and Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. His plays have been produced nationally and internationally, with premieres at the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Victory Gardens Theater and South Coast Repertory. He has been a resident playwright at New Dramatists since 2011.

Kentucky born playwright Naomi Wallace’s plays―produced in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East―include One Flea Spare, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (1997 Humana Festival), Things of Dry Hours, The Fever Chart, And I and Silence, Night is a Room and Returning to Haifa (adapted with Ismail Khalidi). In 2009, One Flea Spare was incorporated into the permanent repertoire of the French National Theatre, the Comédie-Française. Only two American playwrights have been added to the Comédie’s repertoire in 300 years.

This year’s Festival program will feature five world premieres, listed in order of first performance:

  • We’ve Come to Believe by Kara Lee Corthron, Emily Feldman and Matthew Paul Olmos
  • The Corpse Washer adapted by Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace, from the novel of the same name by Sinan Antoon
  • The Thin Place by Lucas Hnath
  • How to Defend Yourself by Lily Padilla, co-world premiere with Victory Gardens Theater
  • Everybody Black by Dave Harris

For over four decades, Actors Theatre of Louisville has been a driving force in new play development, introducing more than 450 plays into the American theatre repertoire and representing the work of more than 400 playwrights and ensembles. The internationally acclaimed Humana Festival is recognized as a crucial incubator for new work and a launching pad for myriad subsequent productions around the country and the world. Plays that have recently premiered at Actors Theatre—including Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry it Out, Leah Nanako Winkler’s God Said This, Jen Silverman’s The Roommate and Colman Domingo’s Dot—have continued to be produced on stages far and wide.

Weekend packages for the 2019 Humana Festival of New American Plays are now on sale. Single tickets go on sale January 3, 2019. For more information, please visit ActorsTheatre.org or call our Box Office at 502.584.1205.

Actors Theatre celebrates the 43rd Humana Festival with underwriter the Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana, Inc. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.

Introducing the work featured in the 43rd Humana Festival of New American Plays:

Naomi Wallace

Ismail Khalidi









The Corpse Washer
adapted for the stage by Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace
from the novel of the same name by Sinan Antoon
directed by Mark Brokaw
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville

March 1 – April 7
in the Bingham Theatre

A haunting portrait of an artist’s fight to survive in war-torn Iraq, where life and death are inextricably intertwined.

The Corpse Washer was developed with support from the New York Theatre Workshop.

Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace’s commission to adapt The Corpse Washer has been generously underwritten by Jacqueline R. and Theodore S. Rosky as part of the Les Waters New Works Fund.

The Thin Place
by Lucas Hnath
directed by Les Waters
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville

March 5 – April 7
in the Victor Jory Theatre

It’s where the line between this world and another is very, very thin.

How to Defend Yourself
by Lily Padilla
directed by Marti Lyons
co-world premiere with Victory Gardens Theater

March 13 – April 7
in the Bingham Theatre

In a self-defense workshop, college students reckon with what it really means to fight back.

Everybody Black
by Dave Harris
directed by Awoye Timpo

March 19 – April 7
in the Pamela Brown Auditorium

A blisteringly funny, 100% definitive tour of The Black Experience™.

We’ve Come to Believe
by Kara Lee Corthron, Emily Feldman and Matthew Paul Olmos
directed by Will Davis
performed by the actors of the 2018-2019 Professional Training Company
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville

February 24 – April 7
in the Bingham Theatre

Welcome to the bizarre world of collective delusion—and the alarming places it can lead.