Arts Education Artist Page

Kathi E. B. Ellis


Louisville, Ky.
Kathi is committed to creating theatrical experiences on stage and in the classroom that fully engage participants and audience alike, in which the collective elements create a shared aesthetic in service to the production, with the director/teacher’s vision driving the engagement and aesthetic. She believes in creating an environment in which each artist/student is able to perform to the best of his or her individual ability. Kathi is committed to creating theatre that tells stories that must be told, frequently ones that have been lost or hidden over time. Kathi brings this commitment to classroom settings, community-based and social issue-driven projects, to traditional theatres, and to projects with large budgets and with no budgets.

Kathi believes that as central as the rehearsal process is to creating the theatrical experience, if artists do not reach out to and work with and in our communities, that experience only stays in the rehearsal room; if artists do not introduce youth to the best that theatre can be, then we have no future artists, audiences, advocates or funders; if the community is not engaged then there is no widespread support for telling our stories – “The play is the thing…”

Potential Residency Project

Kathi offers residencies at the elementary, middle and high school levels within the framework of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS) and the National Standards for Arts Education.

Elementary School
Typically focusing on either traditional Native American or West African myths, Kathi's residencies incorporate creative dramatics, mime and improvisation to explore performance elements. Technical elements are included through hands-on activities that focus on costumes (including masks) and props. Literary elements are addressed through exploring and adapting novels, such as "Number the Stars," "Johnny Tremaine" (Academic Challenge), etc. Kathi has also developed a Colonial theatre unit.

Middle School
At the sixth grade level Kathi has developed a Bunraku unit. At the seventh grade level, Kathi's residencies have focused on the Medieval Period and Classical Greece, both of which are studied in the Social Studies curriculum at 7th grade. Activities include technical elements and literary elements (integrated into the ELA Common Core). At the eighth grade level, Kathi focuses on performance elements through student-generated scripts that explore periods of American History, e.g. Revolutionary Way, Westward Expansion, Civil War, etc.; she also focuses on 19th century theatre practices.

High School
Kathi's residencies connect directly to the content of the periods, styles and cultures laid out for these grade levels. Residencies can include text analysis, character development, technical elements and performance elements – each applied to a script or playwright, within the appropriate historical context, identified in the KCAS.

Any of Kathi's residencies can be adapted to various lengths of time; the optimum residency length is 10 days. Kathi will custom-design residencies to meet the needs of individual classroom teachers. Kathi also conducts residencies in partnership with other roster artists. Kathi is a member of the VSA Kentucky Artist Roster of teaching artists, and of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. In addition to classroom residencies, Kathi also conducts professional development sessions independently and through StageLab.