Carolina Actors Studio Theatre

Carolina Actors Studio Theatre
Formation 1992
Type Theatre Company
Purpose a culturally diverse theatre experience
Headquarters 2424 North Davidson,
Charlotte NC 28205
Region served
Charlotte, North Carolina
Official language
Artistic Director
Michael R. Simmons

Carolina Actors Studio Theatre (CAST) was an independent non-profit theatre company located at 2424 North Davidson Street in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was founded in 1992 by Charlotte acting instructor Ed Gilweit as an actor's teaching school. In 2000 Gilweit's company partnered with a video and stage production company run by Michael Simmons called Victory Pictures, Inc., and then with the fledgling theatre group Another Roadside Performance Company run by Robert Lee Simmons, Michael Simmons's son. Through this series of mergers, Gilweit and the Simmonses became the founders of the Carolina Actors Studio Theatre. After Gilweit's death in 2002, Michael Simmons became the Managing Artistic Director.

CAST was noted for large-scale installations and elaborate sets with the goal of complete immersion of the audience in the reality of each play. CAST always sought to obliterate the emotional distance between the actor and spectator, a technique they called "experiential theatre". When attending a CAST performance, the experience of the spectator began from the moment they entered—or even approached—the theater.[1][2]


In 2006, with the help of a board of directors recruited from Charlotte’s arts community, CAST received a 501(c)(3) designation.[3][4] Since 2008, CAST has also received financial support from the Arts & Science Council.[5][6]

In the summer of 2010 CAST received a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Arts & Science Council.[7] This allowed the company to move out of the cramped quarters they had occupied for eight years on Clement Avenue into a space at 2424 North Davidson in the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte where it had all begun.[8][9] The new location at NoDa contained three theater spaces including a Thrust stage, and a Theatre in the round. For the first time in CAST history there was a spacious bar and lobby area, dressing rooms, storage rooms, a conference room, and a fully equipped scenery-building shop.[7] The new theatre was officially launched in August 2011 with a production of August: Osage County, the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Tracy Letts. It was the regional premier of that play and was a great critical success.[10][11]

On June 6, 2014 the board of directors of CAST announced that after 64 productions and eight years of operation as a non-profit theatre, the theatre would close. Reasons cited were financial pressures and dwindling attendance.[13]

On June 21, 2014, despite winning the Charlotte Theatre of the Year award for three years running, and after a 24-year history, CAST shut its doors for the last time with a final performance of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries.[14]


Creative Loafing

Creative Loafing is a publisher of newsweeklies and their associated websites focusing on local affairs, including arts and entertainment. CAST twice won Creative Loafing’s Theatre of the Year Award.[15][16] CAST garnered many other awards from Creative Loafing including Best Drama and Best Director[17] in addition to many technical awards.[18] A complete list of Creative Loafing awards which CAST has won over the years is shown below.

Metrolina Theatre Association

The Metrolina Theatre Association (MTA) is a Charlotte organization which gives awards each year to support and advocate for local theatre, and these awards are the major source of public recognition for theatres, shows, and individuals. In 2009 Cast won the MTA award for Theatre Company of the Year and CAST's artistic director Michael R. Simmons won the award for Theatre Person of the Year. In 2011 CAST won the MTA awards for best show, actor, actress, and director.[27] A complete list is shown below.

Selected reviews


  1. Charlotte Magazine, Theater experience: Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, May 2011
  2. Charlotte Magazine: Revue sits down with director of CAST's A Behanding in Spokane, February 25, 2011
  3. Blamy, page 210
  4. "Carolina Actors Studio Theatre". Hiphoods. 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  5. "Arts & Science Council: 2008-2009 Grants to Organizations" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  6. "Arts & Science Council: 2009-2010 Grants to Organizations" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  7. 1 2 Toppman, Lawrence (2011-04-22). "CAST flies happily off to NoDa, April 22, 2011". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  8. "NoDa News: Prodigal Theatre Returns to NoDa, June 29th, 2011". 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  9. The Charlotte Observer: CAST into a new dimension, by Lawrence Toppman, Aug. 27, 2011
  10. 1 2 Charlotte Observer: Oklahoma brood riveting in 'Osage County', Theatre Review by Lawrence Toppman, August 26, 2011
  11. "CAST Hits all the Right Notes in August: Osage County, Theatre Review by Perry Tannenbaum, August 25, 2011". CVNC. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  12. Blamy, page 186
  13. Janes, Théoden (June 7, 2014) “Innovative Carolina Actors Studio Theatre will shut down this month”, Charlotte Observer
  14. Carolina Actors Studio Theatre Will Close This Month, WFAE, Charlottes NPR News Source
  15. Mandel, Ladianne (2008-03-26). "Cl's 21st Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  16. Hodges, Cheris (2010-05-25). "Creative Loafing Charlotte: The 23rd Annual Charlotte Theater Awards: Company of the Year". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  17. Hodges, Cheris (2010-05-25). "Creative Loafing Charlotte: The 22nd Annual Charlotte Theater Awards: Drama Winners". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  18. Hodges, Cheris (2010-05-25). "Creative Loafing Charlotte: The 22nd Annual Charlotte Theater Awards: Tech Winners". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  19. Hodges, Cheris (2011-05-24). "CL's 23rd Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  20. Hodges, Cheris (2010-05-25). "CL's 22nd Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  21. Mandel, Ladianne (2008-03-26). "CL's 21st Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  22. Mandel, Ladianne (2007-05-02). "CL's 20th Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  23. Hodges, Cheris (2006-03-22). "CL's 19th Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  24. Hodges, Cheris (2005-03-30). "CL's 18th Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  25. Hodges, Cheris (2004-02-25). "CL's 17th Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  26. Hodges, Cheris (2002-02-15). "CL's 15th Annual Charlotte Theater Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  27. Toppman, Lawrence (2011-10-12). "Theatre Charlotte, CAST, CPCC top MTA Awards, by Lawrence Toppman, charlotte Observer, October 12, 2011". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  28. "9th Annual Metrolina Theatre Awards: 2010-2011 Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  29. "8th Annual Metrolina Theatre Awards: 2010-2011 Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  30. "7th Annual Metrolina Theatre Awards: 2009-2010 Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  31. "6th Annual Metrolina Theatre Awards: 2008-2009 Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  32. "5th Annual Metrolina Theatre Awards: 2007-2008 Awards". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  33. Tannenbaum, Perry (October 22, 2013) “Theater review: Good People: Play examines a Southie's hard life Creative Loafing Charlotte
  34. Pizzato, Mark (September 12 , 2013) “Review of Recent Tragic Events by Craig Wright, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, ARTS à la Mode
  35. Toppman, Lawrence (August 30, 2013) “‘Elemeno Pea’ attacks the self-absorbed rich and the gullible poor in equal measure”, Charlotte Observer
  36. Tannenbaum, Perry (July 03, 2013) “Theater review: The Wrong Stuff: Sondheim's Gallery of American Antiheroes Creative Loafing Charlotte
  37. "Freeman Whalen, Meg (May 10, 201) CAST Creates Elegant ''Proof''". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  38. Mandel, Ladianne (2013-04-04). "Tannenbaum, Perry (April 04, 2013) "A buffet of afterlives in Miss Witherspoon"". Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  39. Toppman, Lawrence (February 26, 2013) “CAST pins 'Chad Deity' to the mat”, Charlotte Observer
  40. Toppman, Lawrence (January 07, 2013) “Plenty of heat in CAST's 'Frost/Nixon'”, Charlotte Observer
  41. Toppman, Lawrence (November 27, 2012) “'33 Variations' on an especially memorable theme”, Charlotte Observer
  42. Tannenbaum, Perry (October 18, 2012) “Theater review: CAST's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  43. Toppman, Lawrence (August 30, 2012) “CAST kicks off season with intense ‘Lombardi’”, Charlotte Observer
  44. Toppman, Lawrence (May 24, 2012) “One-woman show is way out on the 'Edge'”, Charlotte Observer
  45. Toppman, Lawrence (April 16, 2012) “Musical 'Floyd Collins' a hole new ballgame”, Charlotte Observer
  46. Tannenbaum, Perry (January 17, 2012) “Theater review: CAST's Jack Goes Boating”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  47. Tannenbaum, Perry (October 18, 2011) “Classic horror yarn Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde reverts to its literary roots”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  48. Tannenbaum, Perry (June 21, 2011) “Theater review: CAST's Neon Psalms”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  49. Bell, Julie Reed (April 26, 2011) “Well-done drama explores beliefs in conflict”, Charlotte Observer
  50. Toppman, Lawrence (March 09, 2011) “What's the sound of one hand clapping?”, Charlotte Observer
  51. Toppman, Lawrence (January 14, 2011) “'Red Ryder' comes back hard”, Charlotte Observer
  52. Tannenbaum, Perry (December 14, 2010) “Theater review: The Day They Shot John Lennon”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  53. Tannenbaum, Perry (November 02, 2010) “The Elephant Man fit for a princess”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  54. Tannenbaum, Perry (September 21, 2010) “Theater review: CAST's Steambath”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  55. Toppman, Lawrence (July 17, 2010) “Curves goes unswervingly to the heart”, Charlotte Observer
  56. Tannenbaum, Perry (June 08, 2010) “Theater review: Ice Fishing on Europa”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  57. Bell, Julie Reed (May 07, 2010) “CAST's 'Monkey House' is vivid Vonnegut”, Charlotte Observer
  58. Tannenbaum, Perry (March 09, 2010) “Review of Evie's Waltz and Charlotte Symphony's Variations”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  59. Tannenbaum, Perry (January 12, 2010) “Last stop for forgiveness: Our Lady of 121st Street”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  60. Tannenbaum, Perry (October 27, 2009) “Marat/Sade aims for the jugular”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  61. Tannenbaum, Perry (September 15, 2009) “Experiential flair on view in CAST's Master Class”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  62. Tannenbaum, Perry (June 09, 2009) “Metamorphoses makes a splash”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  63. Tannenbaum, Perry (April 14, 2009) “CAST's No Exit is suitably claustrophobic”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  64. Tannenbaum, Perry (January 13, 2009) “A review of Someone Who'll Watch Over Me”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  65. Toppman, Lawrence (December 13, 2008) “A frantic, fun evening of savaged youth”, Charlotte Observer
  66. Tannenbaum, Perry (November 04, 2008) “CAST's Monster madness”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  67. Tannenbaum, Perry (September 16, 2008) “Revelation redefined - Plus, savoring Foxfire”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  68. Pizzato, Mark (July 10, 2008) “Review of Limbo by Glenn Hutchinson, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre”, ARTS à la Mode
  69. Pizzato, Mark (March 27, 2008) “Review of Dark Play, or Stories for Boys by Carlos Murillo, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre”, ARTS à la Mode
  70. Pizzato, Mark (January 24, 2008) “Review of Edmond by David Mamet, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre”, ARTS à la Mode
  71. Leonard, Rita (November 28, 2007) “Review of A Tuna Christmas by Jason Williams, Joe Sears, Ed Howard, The McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square”, ARTS à la Mode
  72. Pizzato, Mark (October 18, 2007) “Review of Dracula, Adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre”, ARTS à la Mode
  73. Pizzato, Mark (September 14, 2007) “Review of Omnium Gatherum by Theresa Rebeck & Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre, Duke Power Theatre, Spirit Square”, ARTS à la Mode
  74. Pizzato, Mark (August 10, 2007) “Review of Autobahn by Neil LaBute, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre”, ARTS à la Mode
  75. Pizzato, Mark (February 22, 2007) “The Pavilion - A Dance with Time”, ARTS à la Mode
  76. Tannenbaum, Perry (June 14, 2006) “Scott Strikes Rijn Gold”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  77. Tannenbaum, Perry (February 16, 2006). "Review: On the Verge".
  78. Tannenbaum, Perry (February 1, 2006). "Review: The Late Henry Moss".
  79. Tannenbaum, Perry (November 30, 2005) “Dickens Plays Defense - Two shows put the screws on Scrooge”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  80. Tannenbaum, Perry (September 21, 2005) “Military misconduct revisited”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  81. Tannenbaum, Perry (September 15, 2004) “High School Apocalypse”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  82. Tannenbaum, Perry (June 23, 2004) “Kosher Profanity - Lenny Bruce almightily pissed at CAST”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  83. Tannenbaum, Perry (May 19, 2004) “Snuggling Up to Guilt & Shame - Comedy motivates White Men Dancing”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  84. Tannenbaum, Perry (January 28, 2004) “A hot production of Glengarry”, Creative Loafing Charlotte
  85. Trenning, Lynn (March 22, 2002) “Terra Nova reviewed”,

External links

Coordinates: 35°14′29.4″N 80°48′44.6394″W / 35.241500°N 80.812399833°W / 35.241500; -80.812399833

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