We are Acting Against Cancer.

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, we are a nonprofit theatre company that strives to encourage the arts as an approach to pediatric cancer treatment by producing dynamic theatre in the Louisville community. By staging a theatrical season of three shows, we raise awareness as well as funds in support of our ongoing $100,000 pledge to the art therapy program of the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center at Kosair Children’s Hospital. 100% of profits from all shows go toward fulfilling this pledge, and because we fully believe in the positive effects of art therapy, we couldn’t be more thrilled to be using theatre to aid in its funding and sustaining.

Our Story

Jaclyn and Whitten Montgomery founded Kids Acting Against Cancer in 1999 in honor of their mother, Sandy Montgomery, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1996.
Moved by their mother’s diagnosis, the girls wanted so badly to help that they transformed one of their most beloved hobbies, theatre, into an entity that could fight cancer. After getting their footing, the sisters soon learned more about this ubiquitous disease and the prevalence of it even in children. Thus, the organization Kids Acting Against Cancer that targeted specifically pediatric cancer was born. The realization of the Montgomery girls’ dream began in the basement of their Indian Hills home with a ragtag production of Annie and a cast of fifteen children aged seven to twelve. This Annie performance, which would be the first of five stretching through 2004, raised a humble $200, all of which was donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
From 2001 to 2004, Kids Acting Against Cancer produced four productions of Annie at various locations around Louisville.
During these productions, they incorporated silent auctions into the events as more robust ways of fundraising. The four productions of Annie together, along with other fundraising efforts, raised over $85,000. In 2005, the sisters switched the show from the standard Annie to the equally renowned musical Grease, which would be performed twice: once in 2005 and again in 2006. With these shows also came the introduction of the Kids Acting Against Cancer Producers’ Reception. This event would precede the performance and feature drinks and hors d’oeuvres in addition to the silent auction. Ticket sales for the reception as well as the proceeds from the auction soon began to elevate the organization's fundraising to new heights.
In 2005, the organization branched out in two new philanthropic directions.
The year saw the first “KAACpack” delivery to inpatients in the oncology unit of Kosair Children’s Hospital. Participants distributed KAACpacks (backpacks filled with fun goodies) to inpatients in Kosair Children’s Hospital oncology unit. Additionally in 2005, Kids Acting Against Cancer reached out to the national organization of Gilda’s Club, which had been planning to open a branch in Louisville, and officially pledged to sponsor the Game Room at Gilda’s Club with a $100,000 donation. The first major step toward this goal was the 2007 production of the United States premiere of A Little Princess, which was the first show to be produced in The Kentucky Center for the Arts by Kids Acting Against Cancer. Following that show, Jennifer Cobb, recipient of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year Award, chose Kids Acting Against Cancer as her beneficiary and donated $30,000 to the nonprofit.
The organization proceeded with its one-night-only formula for the next several years.
Kids Acting Against Cancer continued to perform various musicals as fundraising events from 2007 through 2012, including Into the Woods, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, High School Musical and Cinderella. Cinderella, which was performed in the Bomhard Theatre of The Kentucky Center for the Arts, received significant media attention and yielded sufficient funds in ticket sales and donations to pay off the $100,000 pledge to Gilda’s Club Louisville.
The next show, however, saw a major change for the organization.
In October 2012, after watching a production of Dracula at Actors Theatre Louisville, executives Whitten Montgomery and Remy Sisk suddenly began to toy with the idea of performing a straight play instead of the usual and expensive musical. Thus, in January of 2013, Kids Acting Against Cancer chose to stage the murder mystery And Then There Were None in the more intimate MeX Theatre of The Kentucky Center for the Arts over multiple nights as opposed to the standard one night only. Many were trepidatious of the organization’s change; however, fears were assuaged as the show was a massive success and marked the group’s first sold out show. With lower expenses than ever, And Then There Were None proved to be the most successful show to date in quality and in fundraising. Those who were apprehensive of the transition realized how much money the organization was saving by producing a lower-scale show and subsequently applauded the group for more aptly managing funds.
Kids Acting Against Cancer continued to produce straight plays through 2013 before performing another musical.
The year also saw the organization earning its first review, a positive Arts Louisville piece that covered the September production of Rabbit Hole. To boost ticket sales and invest profits from previous shows, the organization returned to its musical roots in January 2014 with the Louisville premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening. The show brought the organization more public attention than ever, which resulted in a sold out six show run. Reception and profits were both overwhelmingly positive, which prompted the group to perform another edgy musical, RENT, in June 2014. The show was similarly successful and was performed experimentally in the gritty venue of The Tim Faulkner Gallery. Working with Charlie Meredith, who had become more involved in organization leadership during pre-production for Spring Awakening, Montgomery and Sisk decided that a mix of musicals and straight plays is what fit the group best and accordingly planned the 2014-2015 season.
The 2014-2015 season will consist of three shows: two musicals and one comedy, and it will also be the first show under the new name Acting Against Cancer.
In March of 2014, the name change was decided as those running the organization were no longer kids but still acting against cancer. Currently run equally by Whitten Montgomery, Remy Sisk and Charlie Meredith, the company is working on fulfilling a pledge made to Kosair Children’s Hospital in July 2014 to fund and sustain the art therapy program of The Addison Jo Blair Cancer Center. Motivated by this streamlined goal and singular recipient of profits, the three co-executives are more energized than ever to support this expressive form of pediatric cancer treatment.

Getting Involved

We are always looking for volunteers! We take pride in producing excellent theatre for a meaningful cause, and we can't do it without your help. If you want to act, take tickets, run lights, help create AACpacks for the hospital or get involved in any other way, we'd love to have you! Keep an eye on our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with auditions and events, or click on one of the sections below to learn more about getting involved with our shows.

Interested in performing in an Acting Against Cancer show?

We can’t act against cancer without actors! Being in our shows is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. Acting Against Cancer was started out of a love for theatre and helping others via the arts; therefore, we strive to maintain a positive, friendly and communal environment during the rehearsal process. We love to have a good time, and in order to do so, a certain amount of respect and professionalism is absolutely necessary. We also ask that all participants remember why we put on shows. We’re not just acting; we’re acting against cancer, and keeping the mission and cause in mind during the entire process is paramount. We have a lot of fun and put on some awesome theatre, so if all of this sounds good, we hope to have you in the show!

How Auditions Work

  • Individuals sign up for auditions a certain time in advance
  • At auditions, the music director teaches a short song and then has auditionees perform it individually
  • The director selects a cold reading, usually a monologue, and has auditionees perform it
  • If called back, auditionees will be asked to prepare a song sung by the character for which he or she is being considered
  • At callbacks, auditionees will perform their prepared song and more cold readings
  • A movement audition will also be taught, if applicable
Auditions are held roughly three months prior to every show. Shows are cast on an individual basis, as we do not hold season auditions. Auditions are announced via Facebook, Twitter and our website. We hold two days of preliminary auditions consisting of time slots made up of small groups, and advance sign up is required. During musical preliminaries, our music director teaches the group a short harmony and then has individuals perform. Following the music portion, the director selects a cold reading, usually a monologue, and has auditionees perform it. In this way, our auditions are unique in that you need not prepare anything; everything is taught in the audition room. While intimidating, we believe this levels the playing field and helps ensure that everyone has a fair shot. Following preliminaries, we hold callbacks that include more readings, a requested prepared song and a movement audition, if applicable. Casting decisions are then made based on several different factors. In addition to talent, we also take into account availability, attitude, ability to learn and past theatre involvement. Finally, we want to reiterate, no shows are precast; everyone who walks into the room has an equal chance.
Contrary to popular belief, just as much action transpires backstage as onstage, if not more! There are countless positions that need filling for every show that include light/sound board operator, prop master, stagehand and others. Positions vary based on every unique venue, but we do indeed always need a good amount of tech volunteers. Involvement fluctuates based on each position but commitment usually begins two weeks prior to opening and remains fairly consistent through closing. Availability for every technical rehearsal and show date is critical, and we unfortunately cannot work around any conflicts in this regard. If you are interested in coming onboard as a tech volunteer for our next show, please email us at info@actingagainstcancer.com.
Are you a seasoned theatre professional interested in working with us? We would certainly love to talk to you! Please send a resume and any additional information to info@actingagainstcancer.com.