Steve Moulds & Diana Grisanti at the October 28 Theatre  Fundraiser/Jeopardy watch party. Photo: Kate Marie
The Changes Begin With New Leadership
By Keith Waits
Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
When Theatre  launched in 2010, it was a personal project from a Louisville Theatre power trio, Amy Attaway, Gil Reyes, and Mike Brooks. All three brought strong experience and sound reputations for working with actors and designers. Their vision for the company was to produce contemporary plays that would be new to Louisville, “…filling a gap in what small theatre companies were doing here at the time” according to Ms. Attaway. All three were directors and the first seasons tended to take a three-point stance, each one in charge of one production.
Now, one by one they have fallen away to pursue other opportunities. First Brooks to a career outside of the theatre, then last year Reyes relocated to Washington D.C. and a return to the staff of Congressman Jon Yarmuth. All the while Amy Attaway has simultaneously served as the Associate Artistic Director for Kentucky Shakespeare, pulled in two directions by concurrent management positions with both companies.
Now, as Attaway steps aside, Theatre  is being taken over by Diana Grisanti and Steve Moulds, successful playwrights who have been a part of Theatre  almost since the beginning. “Gil, Mike, and myself were very intentional in crafting a mission statement that would survive us,” explains Attaway, “and an essential part of that was to always make it about the artists we would draw into the productions, actors, designers, technicians. Bringing in Steve and Diana to write The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn (2013) was a part of that.”
Grisanti and Moulds, who happen to be married, have spent some time away from Louisville, and it was while they were living in Nashville that they were asked if they would be interested in being the co-Artistic Directors of Theatre .
The pairs’ first, highly individual fundraiser for the company was an October 28 watch party for Mould’s first appearance on Jeopardy –FLASH! – He won big and will be on again tonight (Oct. 29) at 7:30 pm.
In remarks at that event, Grisanti declared that “of course we wanted to take over Theatre , of course, we wanted to make theatre better in Louisville and keep this company alive and thriving!”
“Diana and I are writers and we want to keep bringing new things into the world,” explains Moulds. “So we will keep the  brand of producing new plays, but we also want to develop new plays by Louisville writers, staged by Louisville artists and sometimes ABOUT Louisville.”
The first show they are producing seems to be a fair example. MINE by Laura Marks, “…a Kentucky premiere by a Kentucky native…a very spooky show for the Halloween season,” is opening this Friday at The Barons Theatre.
Moulds also announced that Theatre  would be switching from the traditional three-show season to a project-to-project model. “It’s an ethos that looks to what’s next? What’s on tap for the future? Always with an eye to how things develop and inviting the audience to come to see new works at different phases of the process.”
After MINE, the next project will be Gasping Whiteness, a play originally developed at Northampton College that toured in Massachusetts and Vermont. The  production will be the first iteration of the show outside of the original Northampton team. Grisanti described the play as, “…about White supremacy, hegemonic Whiteness and how White families can raise their kids to believe in racial equity. It’s a very important play.”
Another long-term project will be with the University of Louisville Department of Theatre Arts Professor Dr. Janna Segal. Grisanti and Moulds will be in residency working with her Cumulative Undergraduate Experience class to develop a piece with young artists that will result in a reading at the end of the semester, but then the following spring Theatre  will produce the show with the original students having the first rights of refusal in working on the play.
Attaway was present at the fundraiser, but stayed more on the sidelines. “Theatre  is such an important part of who I am that NOT doing it anymore is a big deal!” Does she see herself playing a role in the future of the company, perhaps directing? “No. I will be involved in this first year of transition, but seeing Diana and Steve become the new leadership feels right and natural, they are wonderful artists and I am excited to see what they will do.”
Theatre  presents MINE by Laura Marks
November 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 & 9 @ 7:30 PM
November 3 @ 2:00 PM
The Baron’s Theatre
131 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, where he is Managing Editor of their Artebella blog, and host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX-FM 97.1/ ARTxFM.com. But spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.