Kitchen Dog Theater Company (KDT) was founded in 1990 by five graduates of the MFA Theater Program at Southern Methodist University (SMU). The co-founders' decision to remain in Dallas and form an ensemble theater company represented their commitment to enhancing and broadening the artistic canvas of the community. An extension of the common vocabulary and vision of artistic integrity forged while at SMU, Kitchen Dog Theater dedicated itself to creating theater which asks difficult questions and challenges the beliefs and assumptions of the artist and the audience. For KDT, exploring the limits of the actors' physical, mental, and spiritual development was, and is, indelibly linked to stretching and transforming the individual and worldview of the audience.
In the attic of a downtown coffeehouse, KDT debuted in 1991 with a critically acclaimed, sold-out run of Maria Irene Fornes' MUD. Undaunted by shoestring budgets and a lack of rehearsal and performance space, KDT avidly pursued its mission to create a theater integral to the Dallas community and its artists. In the fall of 1994, KDT moved into the the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (The MAC), and remained there through the 2014-2015 Season. KDT moved to The Green Zone temporarily for the 2015-2016 season, and has recently relocated to Trinity River Arts Center (TRAC) at 2600 North Stemmons Freeway, Suite #180, Dallas, TX 75207.
Today, KDT continues to celebrate local talent and create significant artistic opportunities for Dallas actors, designers and technicians. In its 25 year history, KDT has staged 121 productions, and received almost 300 awards from various publications, including several "Best Theater Company" nods. In an effort to nurture the rich talent pool in Dallas, Kitchen Dog maintains a resident company of 40 area artists, including actors, directors, designers, stage managers and playwrights.
KDT impacts the development of new works both locally and nationally. Kitchen Dog is a founding member of the National New Play Network (NNPN), an alliance of 29 professional theaters nationally recognized for championing new work and creating leading-edge new play programs, and remains the region's sole NNPN member theater.
Kitchen Dog demonstrates its commitment to new work through the Company's unique New Works Festival. Every year, Kitchen Dog launches an international call for submissions of new, full-length plays. A selection committee reads 400+ submitted scripts and votes on the top plays. The six premiere staged readings are the culmination of that year-long contest. Often, the mainstage production of NWF was a staged reading in a previous Festival.
The first KDT New Works Festival (NWF) in the spring of 1999 featured the world premiere of SMU graduate David Schulner's ISAAC and seven staged readings by playwrights from across the nation. Now in its 16th year, KDT's New Works Festival has presented over 100 staged readings, generated six company-developed pieces and has been a part of the NNPN's flagship program, the Continued Life of New Plays Fund, six times. Many of the NWF playwrights have gone onto to become winners and/or nominees of the Pulitzer Prize, Tony Awards and MacArthur Genius Grants.
Alongside Junior Players, a Dallas arts education organization, KDT created Playwrights Under Progress (PUP) Fest, a totally free, creative, educational outreach program dedicated to the cultivation of youth playwrights. PUP Fest includes master classes in selected DISD high schools, free citywide workshops for students at Dallas and Mesquite Public Libraries, and two standing-room only performances of five selected student plays as part of KDT's New Works Festival.