Chris J. Handley is a finalist for this year’s Spark Award for Artist of the Year, an award that honors an individual artist in any discipline for their achievements during the previous year.

Chris has worked in theaters across the country for over 20 years as an actor, teacher, director, and producer. He currently serves as the associate artistic director of Buffalo’s Alleyway Theatre, where he founded the Theatre School of Western New York, and he will assume executive leadership this summer. He is also the vice president of the Theatre District Association, a 2019 Cullen Foundation Fellow, a member of the Actors’ Equity Liaison Committee, and faculty at SUNY Fredonia.

As an actor, Chris has performed locally on many of our region’s stages, including Alleyway Theatre, MusicalFare, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, 710 Main, Jewish Repertory Theatre, the Lancaster Opera House, and others. Just this season, he played roles as varied as Buddy (Elf the Musical), Bruce (Fun Home), Trinculo (The Tempest), and Matt (Talley’s Folly). He also recently staged the world premiere of the musical The King’s Legacy at Bristol Valley Theatre, and spent over two years as a Mississippi Riverboat entertainer.

As an independent teaching artist, he has developed various workshops on the craft, taught privately, and spent three years teaching acting and voice/speech to BFA and BA theater students. Chris holds an MFA in Acting from Indiana University and a BFA in Musical Theatre from SUNY Fredonia.

Chris and the other finalists will be honored at ASI’s 7th Annual Sparks Award on Monday, November 16. For more information, visit the Spark page of our website.