Envisioned as a laboratory for uncommon works that highlight the skills of local artists and engage community-wide audiences, the Slant Culture Theatre Festival features performances by producing companies Walden Theatre, Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble, Theatre , Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company, and Louisville Improvisors.
The Festival grows out of Walden Theatre’s Slant Culture Series of plays, named for the lab practice of tilting a test tube to maximize an area for growth. Walden created Slant Culture four years ago to develop new plays by rising writers that feature complex teen characters, in order to challenge young actors to seek inspiration from a new angle – inward. By expanding the series into a Festival, Walden Theatre invites fresh collaboration and experimentation among Louisville’s performing arts stalwarts.
“We recognized that there now seems to be a cadre of semi-professional theatre in Louisville,” said Alison Huff, Walden Theatre’s Managing Director and Slant Culture Theatre Festival Producer. “While each group has its own core audience, there’s not as much cross-pollination as you would think. But these are theatre professionals and masters of their craft who make a living in the field producing exciting, relevant, and high-quality theatre on a consistent basis.”
In this pilot year of the Festival, Walden Theatre has invited companies with close ties to the organization to participate as producing partners. In addition, the Festival will feature an opening gala, live music, food trucks, stand-up comedy, literary readings, interactive performances, and much more. As Slant Culture becomes established in the coming years, Festival organizers intend to use a juried selection process to ensure a diverse representation of viewpoints consistent with Slant Culture’s core values of experiment and growth.
“The talent and creative momentum of the Louisville theatre scene is bursting at the seams,” said Teresa Willis, Festival Director. “And Slant was born from this momentum. In the mid-80s you could name the professional companies on one hand that was missing two fingers, and the semi-professional class of theatre didn’t exist. Now, there’s so much that we can feature in bold print, with underlines and fanfare.”
The Festival will launch with an opening gala on November 8 featuring music by Cheyenne Marie Mize and Joel Henderson & the Forty-Gallon Baptists and much more. Performances run November 9-18, and the producing companies will be joined by special guests including Typecast Publishing and more to be added in the coming weeks. All events will be held at Walden Theatre, 1123 Payne Street, Louisville, Ky., 40204.
“Louisville loves a good festival,” said Huff. “Many folks already follow food trucks and live music around town – we’re hoping that wrapping things up in a fun, affordable, and accessible festival package will attract an even broader audience to take a chance on theatre.”