From its inception in May, 2002, Firebelly Productions has focused on the talents of young artists.  Artistic director Kathi Gollwitzer has successfully trained actors for stage, auditions, and performance-based productions. Her teaching method, which is based on the method created by Stanislavski, creates confident and honest performances with disciplined actors. They are trained in scene study and monologue work using techniques such as sense memory exercises, improvisation, and action / motivation / object method.

Firebelly was the direct result of a collaboration between Kathi Gollwitzer and producer, Barbara Walthall. The two first joined forces on Postmortem, during Kathi’s 6-year tenure at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she challenged her students to rise above the “just another school play” standard to “professional quality productions.” Her work on productions like  My Fair Lady, West Side Story, An Ideal Husband, and Singin’ in the Rain attracted the attention of locals who became loyal followers and resulted in sold out houses. Sharing a commitment to the training of serious students, Kathi and Barbara founded Firebelly as an opportunity for students to work alongside a group of talented, dedicated, and creative individuals. Drawing from a variety of experiences in many areas of theatre, they provide guidance, support, and expertise.

the name

To say that the name Firebelly came from a high art concept would be a lie. Rather than inventing a clever or esoteric name, founders Kathi Gollwitzer and Barbara Walthall looked around for the tangible.  Scanning their menageries, their eyes fell upon an unassuming aquarium of toads. Firebelly toads. A beautiful, voracious breed.

Not unlike an actor with a passion. In a single amphibian moment, everything fell neatly into place. “It’s something I say all the time!” Kathi exclaimed. “Acting is like a fire that burns in your belly! And actors are always hungry for work… they NEED to work!” Thus, a good name was born.