Les Waters will step down as artistic director after six seasons at the helm of the Tony-winning Actors Theatre of Louisville. Waters will depart the company in summer 2018, following the close of the 2017–2018 season, to pursue personal projects.
In a statement, Waters said, “It has been a privilege to lead, along with Jennifer Bielstein and lately Kevin E. Moore, one of America’s great artistic institutions. 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. Actors Theatre is the cornerstone of new American theatre, and I look forward to returning as both a guest artist and visitor to experience its continuing artistic excellence and growth. I am incredibly proud to have been a part of Actors Theatre.”
“The Board of Directors at Actors Theatre has been honored to work with such an innovative leader as Les Waters for the past six seasons, and on behalf of all of us, I wish him the best as he pursues new artistic adventures,” added Board President Elizabeth Rounsavall. “Thanks to his efforts, we are leaders in our field and are grateful to him for his influence locally, nationally and internationally.
Waters’ artistic leadership invigorated the long-running Humana Festival of New American Plays. His decision to double Actors Theatre’s commissioning program resulted in Humana Festival-debuted plays being seen across the country, such as Lucas Hnath’s The Christians. During his time with the company, he has directed such plays as Charles Mee’s The Glory of the World and Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas’ Recent Alien Abductions, among many others.
Programming for Actors Theatre’s 2018-2019 season will be selected under Waters’ direction, with the lineup to be announced in February 2018. The search for a new artistic director will commence shortly. The theatre's current season includes Angels in America, Dominique Morisseau's Skeleton Crew, and Anne Washburn’s Little Bunny Foo Foo with original music by The Great Comet creator Dave Malloy.
Waters also directed the current Playwrights Horizons production of For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday, which officially opened September 13, marking the play’s Off-Broadway premiere after its debut at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The new play by two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony nominee Sarah Ruhl weaves a tale of grief, family, second youth, and the inevitability of growing old. The production stars Tony nominee and three-time Obie winner Kathleen Chalfant, David Chandler, Ron Crawford, Lisa Emery, Daniel Jenkins, and Keith Reddin.