Theatre students walk out of rehearsal to protest treatment from department faculty Monday, Apr 26 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The Theatre Arts Undergraduate Student Union held an open meeting with theatre faculty on April 22 to discuss issues within the department, which have led to the formation of the union and a walkout from rehearsal of their show Hashtag on April 16.

The walkout included undergraduate performers and crew including stage management, acting, lights, costumes and scene design.

“This is a demonstration of undergraduate student impact on the U of L theatre department. We acknowledge that this is an inconvenience for many involved in this technical process, and that’s the point we’re trying to make,” the members of the union said in a flyer that was left behind in the theatre building and distributed during the walkout.

“We encourage you to go back and try to work. Who is missing? Who is needed in this space that has disappeared.”

One of the issues these students spoke out about includes the culture of burnout they claim is fostered by the department.

“Undergrad students in this department have just felt totally not supported and exploited. Everyone gets burnt out. I know people who finish their degree and never want to do theatre again,” said Loren Moody, senior theatre major.

Aiden Stivers, a senior theater major, said the issues are especially prominent during tech week.

“I think it’s important to note that specifically tech week has been literally hell week for a lot of undergraduates,” Stivers said. “Especially undergraduates in the technical departments, because we are often put in leadership roles that we don’t get a lot of training for or we don’t feel secure in and we are left to kind of scramble around and figure out how to do it.”

Students also reported a lack of communication in the department and said that was something they hoped to change.

“We’ve taken steps to start that, but this walkout is really intended to remind them that we haven’t forgotten about the issues and problems that we’ve had in the past that many students have suffered through and also to remind them of the weight we hold in this department, so that they take us seriously and they know that fixing our issues is of utmost importance,” Colton Bachinkski, a sophomore theatre major said.

Other issues mentioned on the student union’s list of grievances include a lack of acting opportunities for undergraduates, a history of faculty misgendering transgender students, lack of response to sexual assault and sexual harassment claims, and a lack of preparing students for their professional careers.

Nefertiti Burton, chair of the Department of Theater Arts, said she supported the students decision to form a student union but was confused by the decision to walk out after a time had already been set to meet and talk about these concerns.

“The students had immediately accepted and confirmed the meeting,  so I was totally confused as to why they would take this action after scheduling the meeting,” Burton said. “This was especially troubling since this predominantly white group of students chose to walk out of the tech process on an African American Theatre Program production that was developed by students to address the anti-black and social justice movements dominating our nation’s attention at this moment.”

Miranda Cisneros, the technical production manager for the department, said she fully supports the students’ decision to form a union, but disagreed with the timing of the walkout for the same reasons. She also added the play centers around racial injustice and policing so she believed that the show deserved everyone’s full attention.

“The majority of the undergraduate student union is comprised of white students and I think that was a big oversight for them to walk out,” she said.

According to Burton, at the meeting on April 22, students apologized for walking out during an AATP production and clarified their intentions.

“They explained that it was meant to illustrate how important undergrads are to the department, and they apologized for taking that action on an AATP show,” she said.

“They stated that they had not considered what kind of message the walkout of a predominantly white group of students might send and the impact it could have on many in the department. The students also stated several times that many of their grievances were related to circumstances that are in the past and they have already seen progress. They expressed appreciation for the faculty and staff and our efforts to make change.”

Following the meeting, Hunter Dischley, a junior theater major, said she had mixed feelings about the response they received. “They seemed receptive to all of our goals and all that, but they also didn’t remember some of the stuff we had told them previously.”

Cisneros believes that the theatre department has been moving forward with the unions concerns in mind since the formation of the union and that they will continue to move forward. “As a recent alum of this department, I would say that the amount of change that I have seen in the department since I graduated is revolutionary,” Cisneros said.

Burton said she and the rest of the faculty and staff plan to reflect on what was discussed at the meeting and move forward to address the student’s concerns.

“I learned a great deal from the students,” she said. “And I recognize that there is a lot more that faculty can do to uplift the importance and value of undergraduate labor in our productions. The students identified issues in the curriculum and course scheduling that I will consider carefully and adjust where possible. They also spoke to issues of climate and culture in the department relative to transgender students that I will take immediate action to address.”

“I am grateful that the students are eager to collaborate with faculty and staff to make the Theatre Arts department a better place to learn and work, and I foresee positive change in 2021-2022.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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“A Season of Black Plays” continues with “Six Degrees of Separation” Saturday, Feb 29 2020 

By Delaney Hildreth —

John Guare’s play “Six Degrees of Separation” opened at the Playhouse Feb. 20 as the fifth play in the Department of Theatre Arts’ “A Season of Black Plays.”

The play follows the chain of events set off by a young man named Paul who scams people by telling them he’s the son of famous actor Sidney Poitier. It takes place in the 90s, but it still includes relevant issues such as socioeconomic differences and racial tensions.

Jordan Tudor Haggard, a graduate student pursuing her MFA in performance, plays Ouisa Kittredge while Zachary Stone, a senior theatre major, plays Haggard’s husband, Flan Kittredge.

“I think this play is important because it deals with race and class relations. The couple at the beginning of the play are oblivious to anyone that is not like them and they do not understand the struggles lower class people have. Ouisa has an epiphany halfway through the play that she is connected to everyone on the planet and that we all need to be there for one another. We are all responsible for each other, in a way, and it is good to remember that,” said Haggard.

Paul, played by second-year graduate student Tyler Tate, charms the couple with his stories during the evening, but in the morning, they figure out he has conned them. The conman’s identity only gets more confusing as Ouisa and Flan track down others who have been scammed by him.

The pacing is steady at first, but it picks up quickly as more unexpected things begin to happen. Strong performances from all the cast make this play entertaining and memorable.

Haggard was wonderful as the leading lady who took the audience through both the funniest and most thought-provoking scenes. Stone provided both reassurance and conflict to Ouisa as the story progressed.

Tate was enrapturing with his charming, goofy and intelligent portrayal of Paul and his ability to portray the complexities of his character with ease.

Even smaller parts, like senior Chasidy Moore and sophomore Thomas Simpson as Ouisa and Flan’s unpleasant children and junior graduate student Manuel Viveros’ brief but hilarious role as a hustler are fun and memorable.

“Six Degrees of Separation” is a cleverly written show and narration intersects with dialogue to make scenes flow naturally from one to the next. Through this unique writing style, the audience gains access to the thoughts of characters as they make thoughtful, witty and sometimes incredibly important observations on their situation that adds philosophical value to the play.

Photo by Delaney Hildreth // The Louisville Cardinal

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Series of Black Plays start off with Detroit ’67 Wednesday, Jan 29 2020 

By Kyla Thomas–

The University of Louisville’s African American Theater program started their third year of “Series of Black Plays” with Dominique Morisseau’s “Detroit ‘67″ Jan. 24.

The play depicts the trials of brother and sister duo, Lank, played by  MFA first year Jahi Bogard, and Chelle, played by MFA third year Mutiyat Ade-Salu.

The pair fight over what to do with their shared inheritance left by their parents. Chelle wants to continue hustling and use the money for her son’s college and Lank wants to go into business with his best friend, Sly, played by MFA first year Lamar Hardy. 

Unfortunately, their squabbling is cut short by the outbreak of the Detroit ‘67 riots, and when a mysterious woman falls into the laps of the siblings, they are tested not only as people but as family as well. 

Many audience members were unable to contain their gasps and coughs during the performance, especially sophomore Latrice Kilpatrick.

“The best types of plays are ones when you are not afraid to laugh, explain, and say amen once or twice when something is amen worthy. Typically theater feels kinda stuffy, but this one was different, I think that everyone should see at least one of these plays,” Kilpatrick said.   

Freshman Kaeleah Hampton said, “Sly made me laugh the entire night, even though the play had a serious undertone, they kept me laughing. And Bunny (Brandi Threatt) made you forget there was a riot going on, she still made everyone laugh. The both of them made the play fun still even in the sad moments.”

“Detroit ’67” will run until Feb. 2, so there is still time to catch the next showing.

The next play in the series will be “Six Degrees of Separation” by John Guare and will be held at the playhouse theater.

Graphic By Alexis Simons // The Louisville Cardinal

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Preview: “Next to Normal” reminds us we are not alone Sunday, Nov 17 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

Students at the University of Louisville always have a wealth of options when it comes to finding on-campus art and entertainment. This fall, the Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre (CAMT) is offering something different for students that is both uniquely thought-provoking and thematically complex.

The CAMT’s fall production, “Next to Normal,” is a re-imagined story that nearly any and every person will be able to relate to on some level. “Next to Normal” is a powerful depiction of mental illness and how it affects those afflicted and the people around them.

This groundbreaking production asks important questions about how we face these issues, how we can learn to live with them and how we can eventually move past them to find our own path in the universe.

“Next to Normal” is a Pulitzer-Prize winning musical that explores the age-old story of family dysfunction through a new and forward-thinking lens. The plot centers around the character of Diana Goodman, the mother of this family, whom actress Jess Harris Stiller insightfully brings to life.

By extension, the CAMT’s take on “Next to Normal” features an all-star cast and production team, comprised of talent from both the University of Louisville and across Kentucky.

Director Sarah Thomas believes “Next to Normal” is an important story that will emotionally resonate with viewers. She believes it is a story that everyone can relate to in some way.

“As I’ve argued many times, people don’t go to the theatre for escape; they go for connection. To make sense of the world around them and their own lives, to be reminded that we all go through essentially the same trials, that we are not alone,” Thomas said.

Students who are interested in seeing the CAMT’s thoughtful rendition of the contemporary musical can email UofLCAMT@gmail.com to reserve seats.

Prices are $5 for students and faculty. Your last chances to see the show are Nov. 15 and 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the George J. Howe Red Barn.

Photo Courtesy / U of L CAMT

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In episode 43, we fervently hope that spring is here to stay and… Monday, Mar 31 2014 



In episode 43, we fervently hope that spring is here to stay and that the forecast for this week is true (70s!).

If it is and you get a chance for a local adventure in the next few weeks, you can get a $1 off your Heine beverage if you bring them a ticket stub, story or photo of a local adventure. More info and recommendations here.

Apart from warmer temperatures, we’re looking forward to:

-Cyclouvia on April 13th, on Frankfort Avenue this time (also, Pope Street is where Silver Dollar and Hilltop Tavern are. We weren’t sure while recording).

-Theatre 502 presenting The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn in its entirety on April 2nd, 4th, 19th and 21st.

-the first Bats’ regular season home game vs. Columbus on April 10th

-Thunder Over Louisville on April 12th

-the Mayor’s Give a Day week (or eight days – April 12-20)

-Kentucky Shakespeare’s Hamlet tour through Louisville parks, April 6-May 18th

-Mates of State at Headliners, April 18th

This episode, the Bullseye interview with RuPaul and Terry Crews melted Linda’s butter (here are all of Crews’ Old Spice commercials in one YouTube video). Melissa had her first rolf massage, but it won’t be her last.  

As always, thanks for listening, and let us know what you’re looking forward to on Twitter at @LouNotKY or on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review in iTunes.