Arts and Culture

Actors Theatre of Louisville is the recipient of a $1.2 million grant to support its Apprentice/Intern Company, the theatre announced Tuesday.

The Apprentice/Intern Company each year trains about 20 performers and 20 interns, who work in all areas of production and administration. Each participant currently receives a grant to help cover their living expenses, and the award from the Roy Cockrum Foundation will help Actors Theatre increase those yearly grants for the next 10 years, as well as supporting the two full-time employees who lead the program.

Actors Theatre Managing Director Jennifer Bielstein said she hopes the grant will help attract a more diverse range of candidates from around the country.

“Right now, if someone is not able to either fund their own living expenses or have them subsidized by family or go into debt, then it makes it more difficult for them to participate in our program. So this will enable people who have more limited financial resources to participate,” Bielstein said.

This is the third grant made by the Roy Cockrum Foundation, which supports not-for-profit American theatres. Founder Roy Cockrum won $115 million in the Powerball lottery in 2014, and used his winnings to start the foundation. The other two grant recipients are the Goodman Theatre and the Steppenwolf Theatre, both based in Chicago.

Funding applications to the Roy Cockrum Foundation are by invitation only. Cockrum attended the Humana Festival of New American Plays this spring, met with Actors Theatre staff and the Apprentice/Intern company, then invited Actors Theatre to apply.

The larger grants will take effect immediately for the incoming class of apprentices and interns.

Tara Anderson is the host and producer of Five Things, a podcast about the objects that tell our stories.