Artist Spotlight

Kyle Sturdivant

I was born an only child in a small southern town in Arkansas where I was forced to entertain myself frequently.  My imagination soared while in real life I was quiet, timid, shy and full of self-doubt. As with many closeted youth, I quickly became the star of my own variety show and soap opera in my own head and would fully act them out in the privacy of my room.  I grew up home schooled in the comedy arts by the television and imitated my idols Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Bea Arthur, Robin Williams, and the entire cast of The Facts of Life.   It wasn’t until high school that I began to explore entertaining others as a way to make friends. I was also cast in my first role as Harry the Horse in the musical, Guys and Dolls, at the Hurd Playhouse, a small community theatre that quickly became a second home to me.

In 1991, I moved to Houston to attend the University of Houston School of Theatre and obtained a BA in Theatre after only 8 years.  While at UofH I worked on my craft with teachers like Carolyn Houston Boone, Sidney Berger, Deborah Kinghorn, and Jose Quintero.  In 1998 I moved to New York to become famous and left after six months of temp work and freezing temperatures. The small town boy went one step too far.

In 1999, I was cast sight-unseen as a favor to a friend in the third installment of the Tamalalia series by Tamarie Cooper.  When I showed up for my first rehearsal, choreography of a drag queen number danced to I Will Survive, I knew I had found a place where I belonged.  What was to be a tiny role in Tamalalia 3 kept growing after other cast members dropped out and soon I was scattered all over that production as drag queen, dancing bear, dancing tree, dancing cowboy.  This was the start of a long and successful run as part of the Tamarie Cooper shows that has lasted until this day and is probably what I am best known for in Houston. It was also the start of a much loved and special friendship with the lady herself, Tamarie Cooper.

Jason Nodler took notice cast me as the waiter in my first “serious” role with Infernal Bridegroom Productions in The Danube. During the first rehearsal, I asked Jason where he wanted me to stand. He quickly asked me where did I want to stand.  It was in that moment that I learned that I had up until that moment made choices as an actor to please others and now it was time to dig inward and find out what I could bring to the table. I have to say, once Jason Nodler believes in you, you really start to believe in yourself. I can’t say that I don’t continue to try to please him when I am onstage but not as an actor but as a friend.  I spent the next nine years working exclusively for IBP in many memorable productions including Speeding Motorcycle and Rhinoceros (a role for which the Houston Press wrote was “one of the best reasons to go to the theater this year.”

After the closing of IBP, I became one of the founding members of The Catastrophic Theatre in 2008.  During the past eight years, I have continued to grow as an actor, comedian, clown, and now director having been at the helm of two recent productions, Middletown and Everything Will Be Different.

I consider myself very lucky. Being an actor in Houston is tough stuff.  Most do not make money at it. Most do not find work frequently. I have been part of over 50 productions in the past 17 years.  More importantly, I have been able to be a part of great work. I think I have continued to grow as an artist. I have been part of something magical only few can imagine, working with a company of people for YEARS at a time, working with my best friends at making our way through this thing called life on this planet.  This small town, closeted only child found a family through theatre.


I haven’t quite made my own variety show a reality quite yet but you can check out some of my videos on my Facebook page or Youtube page where I do still continue the art of entertaining myself.