Whitman alumnus Chris Reid joins prestigious acting company

Clara Bartlett

Every year, nearly 2,000 young and optimistic artists flock to Louisville, Kent. to audition for a coveted spot in the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Acting Apprentice Company. The company, renowned as one of the oldest surviving pre-professional companies in the nation, accepts only 22 artists, most of whom are recent college graduates looking to transition their passion for theatre into a professional career. Whitman alumnus Chris Reid was among those 2000 hopefuls, but unlike the 1,978 turned away after auditions, Reid was awarded a position in the highly competitive program.

Speaking through email, Reid outlined his journey. He transferred from Walla Walla Community College to Whitman with a preeminent motivation to play soccer, and had only a “slight interest in acting.” However, Reid underwent a change of heart.

“I’d say my time at Whitman caused me to choose acting as a career, and I actually ended up not playing soccer for my senior year : sorry coach,” said Reid. Today, with his recent admittance into the Acting Apprentice Company, Reid affirmed, “Can’t see myself doing anything else. I think that’s why I’m here at ATL.”

As a final piece of advice to other actors, Reid emphasized, “Make sure you love it.”

For the next nine months, Reid will participate in an extremely competitive and intensive training program dedicated to the cultivation of practical acting skill as well as an introduction to the professional world of theatre.

“It’s pretty daunting now, to be at one of the country’s leading regional theatres,” said Reid. “I’m working with kids my age who have been acting for the majority of their lives but looking at my time at Whitman, I’m glad with what I got in only two years. Whitman’s theatre program didn’t just help my acting grow, it made sure to give me a perspective of the production and technical side of theatre. Since coming to Actors Theatre, I’ve noticed that the faculty in Whitman’s theatre department are great about keeping the program up to date within an industry that’s constantly evolving. My acting career is so young right now but I feel that it started in the right light at Whitman.”

Famous for the Humana Festival of New American Plays : an annual presentation of new theatrical works produced by over 200 participating playwrights : Actors Theatre of Louisville serves as a launching pad for young and beginning actors, playwrights and other artists. The Acting Apprentice Company performs its own five-show season; meanwhile, the Actors Theatre produces more than 500 performances per season, reaching nearly 200,000 people annually. The Actors Theatre of Louisville has received many prestigious awards, including a special Tony Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays.

“I think it is an excellent opportunity to work with a high-quality professional organization,” said Whitman’s Chair of Theatre, Chris Petit. “[Reid] will be put in an environment where he can meet and work with some of the leading professionals in the country. For someone interested in pursuing a career in the theatre, this is an excellent program. We are very proud of Chris and can’t wait to see where his career might take him.”