Robert Barry Fleming | Photo by Daniel Winters

After a nationwide search that began in 2017, Actors Theatre of Louisville has found its new artistic director — Robert Barry Fleming, a Kentucky native who was previously working as associate artistic director of the Cleveland Play House.

Fleming will replace Les Waters, who announced his departure from the organization after leading it for seven years.

Before his stint in Cleveland, Fleming served as director of artistic programming at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and has an extensive portfolio that includes work as an artistic leader, producer, director, choreographer, performer, teacher and coach. He’ll begin his role at Actors on June 1.

“To come home and lead this singular organization with its distinguished legacy of artistic excellence is humbling and simply mind-blowing,” said Fleming in a news release. “I look forward to being a part of the collaborative, radically humanizing and inclusive artistic work at Actors Theatre.”

Fleming’s extensive resumé includes serving as associate producer for the Off-Broadway premiere of “The Two-Character Play” by Tennessee Williams; director of “Next to Normal” (Tantrum Theater), “The Royale” (Cleveland Play House) and “Destiny of Desire” (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), among many others; and acting roles on Broadway (“Ragtime”), Off-Broadway (“Holding History”), television (“Adventures in Wonderland,” “Family Matters,” “The George Carlin Show”) and film (“L.A. Confidential” and “Twilight of The Golds”).

“I’m thrilled that Robert will be joining the talented and dedicated team at Actors Theatre,” said Actors’ Managing Director Kevin E. Moore in the release. “He brings such robust and multifaceted artistic experience as well as a deep belief in theatre as a space for all. I’m personally inspired by his vision for organizational collaboration that allows for transparency and transformation in equal measure.”

Fleming will be Actors’ fifth artistic director and will lead the company’s 56th season, which starts in September with “Dracula” and includes productions of “Hype Man,” “Measure for Measure,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Santaland Diaries,” “The Wolves,” “Jubilee” and, of course, next year’s Humana Festival of New American Plays. (This year’s Humana Fest is now taking place.)

Insider hopes to talk with Fleming in the near future to find out more about him, his goals for the company and what he envisions for the Louisville theater scene.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."