Arts and Culture

Actors Theatre of Louisville has revealed the full lineup of its 45th Humana Festival of New American Plays.

According to a news release, this year’s festival is entirely virtual and includes a video game, an immersive work tailored for health care workers, and a new virtual reality play inspired by the pushback Muhammad Ali faced when he protested against military service during the Vietnam War. 

Courtesy Actors Theatre

The banner for the 45th Humana Festival.

“The Humana Festival of New American Plays has always been about bringing together inventive artists and expanding the possibilities of form and content,” the release said. “And in that spirit, this year Actors Theatre of Louisville is transforming its annual celebration of world premieres into a virtual exhibition of new work and emergent technologies.”

The festival actually began earlier this month, with a show called “Block Association Project,” written by Michael Yates Crowley, a co-founder of the tech company Wolf 359. It’s about neighbors discovering what it truly means to be neighborly, and streams online through May 1.

Through May 31, Actors Theatre streams short works developed by the Professional Training Company, as part of the festival. 

Streaming dates have yet to be released for a number of other festival productions.

Courtesy Actors Theatre

That includes a commissioned virtual reality play from Idris Goodwin, who takes us back to 1967 when Louisville’s own Muhammad Ali refused his call to join the U.S. Army and fight in the Vietnam War. It’s called “Ali Summit.” 

Also on the lineup is “Louisville Sessions: Full Jam,” a digital series showcasing local musicians and bands; a video game called “Plague Doctor: Contagion 430 BCE–2020 AD”; another VR experience in which you help a young Blues singer navigate her career and connect with her music; and an immersive show to help health care workers cope with compassion fatigue, a collaboration with Denver-based The Clinic

You can find the full lineup here.

The festival is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and underwritten by the Humana Foundation.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.