South Carolina Arts Commission

Arts Directory

Dr. Kat



Certified Teaching Artist



  • Theatre

Geographical Availability

  • Upstate
  • Midlands
  • PeeDee
  • Low Country


Kathryn Ballou Ph.D. came to South Carolina from New York City where she was the founding artistic director of the Neighborhood Group Theatre (TNGT). Kathryn studied acting with Sanford Meisner and in another life appeared in a variety of films, commercials and stage productions. In 1984 TNGT was New York City’s only resident theatre company producing new plays and was nominated for an Obie as the best new production company in NYC. Kat likes to say she earned her Ph.D. during those years of struggle and fun on the city’s Theatre Row, but the actual Ph.D. and Masters came much later at Clemson University in 2000.In 1980 at Florida Atlantic University Kat received a BS in the biological bases of behavior and in 1982 graduated from The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre.Kathryn was blessed to be taught and directed by Sir Ian McKellen and the late great Sanford Meisner.While at Clemson University Kathryn joined Chi Sigma Iota, Kappa Delta Pi and Teacher’s Who’s Who in America.Working with Clemson Dr. Ballou created a program called Drama-for-Life where students use theater as rehearsal for life.Using the performing arts to enrich the experience of life, is a mission that drives much of Kathryn’s work.Dr. Kat taught drama at Greenville County’s Fine Arts Center (ARMES) for 26 years.During her tenure teaching Kathryn wrote and/or directed almost a hundred productions, and a few toured the world.’Shakespeare: Just Da Good Stuff’ was performed at many Greenville County Schools and received rave reviews at the FRINGE Festival in Edinburgh Scotland and at Clemson’s Shakespeare Festival.’The Tempest: Shakespeare for Kids’ was spectacularly performed at the Grand Bahama’s Children’s Home, Carnival’s ship the Fascination and was filmed by PBS, featuring a 7th grade Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black).’Shakespeare Boy Genius’, a look at Shakespeare’s youth and his lost years, was well received at the International Thespian Festival in Gainesville Florida. ‘So, You Think You Can Act’ a piece where the audience solves a murder which occurred on stage, was much applauded at the International Thespian Festival in Alabama. ‘Our Time: A reaction to 911’, was performed Spring 2002 for NYC students who from their school windows had watched the Trade Towers fall. Together New York City’s and South Carolina’s children shared art, broke bread, cried and laughed. ‘Voices from the Holocaust’ is a film based on testimonies from the children the Holocaust, victimized but not killed. Their painful stories were not told until the children who suffered were old and dying.These survivors’ words were given to young drama students with profound results. Most recently excerpts from ‘Shakespeare: More Good Stuff’ were performed in a workshop at the Folger Theatre.Retired, but ready to play Dr. Kat lives on a ranch in Pickens with her husband of 42 years.When not at the theatre Kathryn is working on her book entitled, ‘Searching for Character, Finding Self’, and shopping her newest play, ‘When Stars Collide’.