Celebration of Life: Kathi E.B. Ellis

Kathi E.B. Ellis, 59, of Ruislip, Middlesex, England, passed away July 15 as a result of complications from cancer.

Kathi was a director and theater maker for most of her life, a champion of the arts, arts education and creating theater that brings change to communities. She was also a gifted teacher, sharing her love of theater and the arts with students of all ages from elementary school to college and beyond. She was a mentor to many artists during her career and loved seeing her students, colleagues and friends succeed.

She began her career in Louisville working in the non-profit sector for the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and Louisville Public Media (then Public Radio Partnership) and also served as the executive director for Kentucky Alliance for Arts Education.

An original board member of the Pleiades Theatre Company and a co-artistic director for Looking for Lilith, she also founded Shoestring Theatre, her own theater company. And with frequent collaborator Nancy Gall-Clayton, Kathi created the Louisville annual SWAN Day Celebration (Support Women Artists Now).

She was a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, participated in the LaMaMa International Symposium for Directors and was a teaching artist for the Kentucky Arts Council.

She is survived by her daughter, Stephanie. Her parents, Jim and Mary Bayhylle, preceded her in death.

A memorial service was held on July 27 at the Wyatt Theatre at Bellarmine University. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Looking for Lilith Theatre Company, the Kentucky Foundation for Women or the Kentucky Arts Council.