The Playhouse

UofL’s Theatre Arts Department has announced its 2015-16 season, which offers performances from August Wilson’s iconic “The Piano Lesson” to Harold Pinter’s provoking “Betrayal,” along with two never-performed-before pieces by UofL faculty.

“This season is about collaboration,” said Nefertiti Burton, who chairs the program. “We have two new, exciting pieces that highlight the collaborative process, including my work with Pan-African Studies Professor John Chenault on his play “Bloodline Rumba” as well as Erin Leigh Crites’ improv piece, which showcases the kind of immediate, transparent collaboration that unfolds in the devising process.”

The season kicks off with “Polaroid Stories,” a powerful adaptation of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” set in contemporary New York, where the characters are street kids based on interviews with prostitutes and runaways. Their personal histories are re-imagined, crafted into personal mythologies that explore the nature of truth.

“The Piano Lesson,” written by Wilson and directed by Baron Kelly, director of UofL’s African American Theatre Program, follows Berniece and her brother, Boy Willie, in depression-era Pittsburgh as they argue about the family piano and its tumultuous history. “The Piano Lesson” is a consideration of family, history, survival and what it means to honor heritage.

Chenault’s “Bloodline Rumba” was written following a study-abroad trip to Cuba with the Theatre Department and has Afro-Cuban influences. It will be directed by Burton, whose research interests focus on the experiences of people in the African Diaspora.

“Betrayal,” critically regarded as Pinter’s masterpiece and directed by Russell Vandenbroucke, explores love and relationships. It follows the lives of Jerry and Emma, as they reminisce about times past. After a seven-year affair, their final meeting brings to light the destructiveness of their betrayal and how a single moment in time would change the lives of everyone around them.

Finally, adding levity to the season, is an improv piece from guest artist Crites, whose work focuses on stand-up, sketch comedy, clown, vaudeville, Commedia Dell’ Arte, ensemble creation/playmaking and physical storytelling, with emphasis on visual presentation. She recently led theatre students to study abroad with the famed Dario Fo Project, an international storytelling consortium in Italy.

UofL Theatre Arts’ 2015-16 Season

  • Naomi Iizuka’s “Polaroid Stories,” directed by Laura Early, Oct. 21-25, Thrust Theatre
  • August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” directed by Baron Kelly, Nov. 18-22, The Playhouse
  • John Chenault’s “Bloodline Rumba” directed by Nefertiti Burton, Feb. 3-7, Thrust Theatre
  • Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” directed by Russell Vandenbroucke, March 2-6, Thrust Theatre
  • Improv from Guest Artist Erin Leigh Crites, April 13-17, Thrust Theatre

Thrust Theatre is at 2314 South Floyd St., Louisville, 40292. The Playhouse is at 1911 South Third St., 40208. All plays start at 8 p.m. with 3 p.m. Saturday or Sunday matinees.

Season tickets are $50. Tickets for individual performances also are available. To order tickets or for more information, call 502-852-6814 or visit

Additional events including workshops occur throughout the year. For the most up-to-date scheduling see or call 502-852-6814 or email

Niki King
Niki King Jones is positive she has the best job at the University of Louisville, serving the communication needs of the departments of fine arts and theatre, the School of Music, University Libraries and Alumni – all the fun, creative stuff. Before coming to UofL in 2015, Niki held communication positions in both private and nonprofit sectors in Louisville, Ky., including at Heaven Hill Distilleries and the Jewish Community of Louisville. For 10 years prior, she was a reporter at various newspapers across the country, most recently The Courier-Journal. Niki graduated from the University of Memphis with a BA in journalism and has a masters degree in community and leadership development from the University of Kentucky.