There will be three memorial services next week for Kenneth H. Washington, the Guthrie Theater’s beloved director of company development who died Nov. 26. He had been diagnosed with kidney disease.
A mentor, teacher and guru, Washington influenced the careers of scores of actors across the nation. Before coming to the Guthrie 19 years ago, he taught at the University of Utah, where he earned a master of fine arts degree and headed the school’s actor training program.
Washington was instrumental in the launch of the Guthrie’s joint BFA program with the University of Minnesota. He also started the Guthrie Experience, a summer training program that annually brings a cohort of some of the best graduate students in theater to the Twin Cities for training and real-world experience.
He also instructed students at Julliard and New York University, where he directed regularly.
Washington was born in Louisiana and educated at Talladega College, Syracuse University and the University of Utah, where he earned an MFA and completed coursework on a doctorate. A quiet man with a lilting accent informed by his Southern heritage, he was known for “not speaking much but when he did, it was meaningful and important,” Guthrie artistic director Joe Dowling said last week.
The services will be held in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis and Manhattan.
On Monday, Dec. 8, the University of Utah theater department will hold its service at 4 p.m., in the Babcock Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City.
Also on Monday, a cohort of former students, mentees and colleagues in New York have organized an East Coast memorial to be held from 7-10 p.m. in New York University’s Atlas Room, 111 2nd Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York.
The following Thursday, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis holds its memorial for Washington organized by colleagues and friends Marcela Lorca, Randy Reyes and Michelle O’Neill. That event is at 3 p.m. Dec. 11 on the Wurtele Thrust Stage, 818 South 2nd St., Mpls. 612-377-2224.