Nonprofit News

Actors Theatre’s Community Ticket Grant Program Returns

Actors Theatre of Louisville is delighted to announce the return of their successful Community Ticket Grant program for the 2018-2019 season, sponsored in part by Brown-Forman and Hogan Lovells. This city-wide initiative extends the opportunity to experience Actors Theatre’s vibrant programming to any members of Louisville and Southern Indiana’s community groups and 501(c)(3) charities, who for various reasons, may not have the resources to attend a performance on their own.

In its third season, the Community Ticket Grant program served 60 area charities, which granted the opportunity for a theatrical experience to 1,400 local residents. “We are thrilled to provide this opportunity once again for our Louisville and Southern Indiana community to enjoy our upcoming season,” said Carrie Syberg, director of community partnerships. “We’re building on the positive response from the past few years and continuously seeking ways to anticipate and remove barriers to artistic programing, especially for our local neighbors. We’ll keep striving to welcome an audience that is reflective of our dynamic and diverse community.”

Qualifying community groups and 501(c)(3) charities serving individuals in the greater Louisville and Southern Indiana area are welcome to apply to receive complimentary tickets to a performance of Actors Theatre’s 2018-2019 Season Brown-Forman series, holiday shows and 43rd Humana Festival of New American Plays productions. Each group may apply for up to three productions a year with ticket quantities ranging from a minimum of 10 tickets up to a maximum of 75 tickets.

The selected groups will be awarded tickets to one of their three production choices for the 2018-2019 Season. Groups will work with the Actors Theatre Marketing Department and Box Office to coordinate attendance details and seating selection for their group members.

As part of their grant applications, groups may request tickets to the following productions in Actors Theatre’s 2018-2019 Season:

Fifth Third Bank’s Dracula

Originally dramatized by John L. Balderston and Hamilton Deane

From Bram Stoker’s world-famous novel Dracula

Adapted by William McNulty

Directed by Drew Fracher

Sept. 7–Oct. 31

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

A play by Simon Stephens

Based on the novel by Mark Haddon

Directed by Meredith McDonough

Sept. 18–Oct. 10

Fifth Third Bank’s A Christmas Carol

Based on the book by Charles Dickens

Adapted by Barbara Field

Directed by Drew Fracher

Nov. 20–Dec. 23


By Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Steve H. Broadnax III

Jan. 8–Feb. 2

Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin

Lyrics and music by Irving Berlin

Book by Hershey Felder

Directed by Trevor Hay

Jan. 29–Feb. 17

The 43rd Humana Festival of
New American Plays

March 1–April 7

Applications for Community Tickets will be available in November 2018. Deadline to submit applications for the 2018-2019 Season is Aug. 3. Additional season information, program rules and restrictions and the online application form can be found at Specific questions may be directed to Melissa Hines, marketing manager, at or 502.584.1265 ext. 3140.

Center For Neighborhoods Announces The Departure Of Executive Director Tom Stephens

Center For Neighborhoods (CFN) has announced that its executive director Tom Stephens is departing in August to lead faith-based community ministry and development work in Savannah, Georgia.

To provide continuity and maintain the momentum in programming at the Center For Neighborhoods, long-term employee and director of education and training John Hawkins will serve as interim executive director. John’s deep understanding of the organization and strong connections within their community and with their partners will ensure that the important work of the center continues during this transition.

Stephens initially worked with neighborhoods in Louisville in 2002-2003 before pursuing community organizing and community development work in Philadelphia; Richmond, Virginia; and Savannah. He returned to Louisville in January 2015 to serve as Center For Neighborhoods’ executive director. During his tenure as executive director, he has expanded the center’s programming and outreach and strengthened its capacity to fulfill its mission of building great neighborhoods through engaged, informed and committed neighbors.

He helped to refine the Center For Neighborhoods’ more than 30-year-old Neighborhood Institute, relaunched the city-wide Neighborhood Summit, developed the Better Block–Louisville tactical urbanism program, increased involvement in local neighborhood planning and expanded its outreach by instituting Neighborhood Liaisons that connect and support neighborhoods across the 26 Metro Council Districts, all while growing Center For Neighborhoods’ other long-running, education, planning and design initiatives.

“Thanks to Tom’s work, Center For Neighborhoods is a stronger organization – one that is better connected to our constituents, is equipped with outstanding programs and has an excellent staff. His exemplary work leaves us better positioned to continue our mission of building great neighborhoods,” says Tim Holz, Center For Neighborhoods’ board chairman.

“Over the past three and a half years, Tom has exemplified the goals, mission and values of Center For Neighborhoods, for which we are very grateful. We congratulate him on the new opportunities that await him in Savannah. We know he will be a tremendous success there,” said Holz.

The nationwide search for a new executive director will begin shortly, and Center For Neighborhoods hopes to announce a new executive director by the fall and have them in place by the end of the year.

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists Hit A High Note With Private Concert For Ozzy Osbourne

The famed Louisville Leopard Percussionists treated the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, his children Jack and Kelly and the crew of “Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour” to a private concert in Nashville, Tennessee recently. The hugely talented group of young musicians performed their cover of “Crazy Train” for the rock legend as a surprise from Ozzy’s son, Jack Osbourne.

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists are a performing ensemble comprised of more than 60 student musicians in grades two through nine, who reside in 33 different Louisville zip codes and attend 49 different schools in and around Louisville, Kentucky. The Leopards are taught to play an array of instruments from the marimba to the xylophone, vibraphone, drum set, timbales, congas, bongos and piano.

“It was such a great experience for the kids,” said Diane Downs, founder and artistic director of the Louisville Leopard Percussionists. “We not only played in front of a rock legend, but Ozzy, Jack and Kelly were so nice to the kids. The kids were so excited! It was a day they’ll never forget.”

The episode of “Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour” featuring the Louisville Leopard Percussionists aired at 9 p.m. July 25, on the A&E Network. The Leopards and their families were treated to a watch party that night at 8:30 p.m. at the Falls City Taproom in NuLu, at 901 E. Liberty.

In 2015, one of the Leopards’  YouTube videos exploded on the world music and pop culture scene when Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame shared the group’s cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” “The Ocean” and “Immigrant Song,” played on xylophones, drums and keyboards. Page shared the video on Facebook with a note saying, “Too good not to share,” and the video rapidly went viral. Within days, the Louisville Leopards’ video had millions of hits and media coverage worldwide, including the BBC, Rolling Stone, NPR, TIME Magazine, USA Today, the Today Show and more.

A few months later, a similar video of the Louisville Leopards playing “Crazy Train” caught the attention of Ozzy Osbourne, who also sent a congratulatory note and donation to the group.

When the A&E show “Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour” visited Nashville recently for an episode of the reality series, producers reached out to the Louisville Leopards and arranged for the children’s group to travel to Nashville as a surprise for Ozzy.

“I received an email from a producer at A&E asking if we wanted to do a travel show,” said Downs. “It wasn’t until about three weeks before the filming that I found out we were going to play ‘Crazy Train’ for Ozzy Osbourne. This was a slight problem because we hadn’t played it in over five years. So, we declared a Crazy Train Emergency and learned the song and had it TV-worthy in only three rehearsals. The kids worked very hard and knew how important this was.”

Elementary school teacher Diane Downs started her first percussion ensemble, The Fabulous Leopard Percussionists, in 1993 after she found some old instruments in a storage closet in the school where she taught in Louisville.

“These children not only experience the joy of music, but they also learn to improvise, compose and teach music and to care for their instruments. These skills build creativity and self-confidence and teach lifelong values of personal discipline, cooperation, leadership, responsibility and community,” Downs said.

After 10 years as artistic director of The Fabulous Leopard Percussionists, Downs began to explore how she might make the Leopard Percussionist experience available to children throughout the Metro Louisville community.

In the fall of 2003, The Louisville Leopard Percussionists launched as a freestanding community 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, committed to providing the exciting and enriching Leopard Percussionist experience to all children in the Louisville community.

The Leopards are popular performers in Louisville and were profiled by HBO for a 2008 documentary. They have performed for HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; were an opening act for My Morning Jacket; performed with Michael Jackson’s drummer, the world renowned Ndugu Chancle; and performed at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Former Louisville Leopard Percussionists who’ve “graduated” onto the world stage include Hannah Welton, who was in the late Prince’s band, and Dani Markham, who is currently on tour with Childish Gambino.

More information about the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, The Steel Leopards and Leopards Lite, can be found at