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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama

Kentuckians in Theater

Director William Caise
West Lafayette, IN

Who William Caise is from Nicholasville, KY. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa. Before he entered graduate school, much of Caise’s experience as an actor and director came from working with Message Theater, a company he established with four colleagues in Lexington. Since 2002, he has been an artist-in-residence at the Purdue University Black Cultural Center, where he writes and directs plays for the New Directional Players and teaches theater.

What “The director is much like the captain of a ship—responsible for the direction a production takes. As a director, my primary responsibility is to the text. I am responsible for reading, interpreting, and communicating what I feel are the salient ideas or themes in a piece and then bringing together a team of other artists to create it. This translates to meetings with designers, technicians, and administrators and, ultimately, to auditions, where the actors are brought into the process.”

When “My hours vary. If I am working on a professional show, the hours can be 8:00 to 5:00 for a period of three or four weeks. If I am working in an educational or amateur environment, the hours tend to be somewhere between 6:00 or 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, five to six days a week for five or six weeks.”

Where “My work typically takes place in a rehearsal hall or theater, though some of the places may have more than one function depending on the type of work you are doing.”

How “I work with actors, administrators, technicians, and designers. Theater is very much a collaborative art, and these other professionals bring their own artistry and expertise to the table. A director must be able to communicate, to research and motivate. The greatest challenge is that, as director, all of the decisions concerning the show fall at your feet. That’s where the research pays off.”

Why “I am very much enamored with the process. Yes, I do like getting to the end of the rehearsal process and seeing the product, but getting there is pretty amazing. To go from sitting at a table explaining ideas and concepts to seeing those concepts made concrete in both flesh and steel is pretty amazing. The creativity and ingenuity of some folk is simply amazing. My personal goals include establishing a multimedia production company, as well as continuing to teach, act, and direct.”

Getting There “Get your education, know what you want, and hold on to your dreams.”

About the photos: The “headshot,” a professionally produced photo of an artist’s face, introduces that person to casting directors, agents, and others looking for performers or collaborators. On the back of Caise’s is a list of some of his credits and professional accomplishments.


600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951