March Editorial: What is a “Professional” Actor?

Copyright © 2017 A.S. Waterman. All rights reserved.

As we are asked to vote in yet another “Best of” competition[1], I’m becoming increasingly irate at the discriminatory circle being drawn around so-called “professional” actors and theatre groups. This pseudo-distinction resulted in a distorted and bizarre array of results at a recent awards ceremony, and it threatens to do so in the future.

Look up “professional” in the dictionary and you’ll see several definitions. At least one will refer to having a permanent career, and one or more will refer to maintaining a high standard of ethics and demeanor. Unfortunately, in the recent award determinations, the definition that was selected basically disqualified all but two or three of Kentuckiana’s more than 60 theatre groups, along with literally hundreds of actors.

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[1] See “The Best of … What” [TheatreLouisville editorial, Nov. 2016]: http://theatrelouisville.org/op-eds/TLeditorial_11-2016.html.