About KELT

We are a community and student theater, based at KIMEP University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Our theater consists of people who speak English or seek to improve their language skills through theater. We are international: with participants from Kazakhstan and other corners of the world, of various ages, occupations and backgrounds. KELT stages all its productions in English. We perform, on average, two mainstage productions per year, usually in December and April. We have also performed a total of four summer tours around Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Sometimes we do smaller projects throughout the year and offer theater clubs at KIMEP University. Our slogan is “Once in KELT, forever in KELT” meaning that once a person participates in a play, whether as an actor, backstage hand or audience member, they want to come back. Being a part of KELT means you become a part of our family, finding friends that last a lifetime. Welcome!

Group photo of KELT members
KELT's sign

History of KELT

KELT began in the summer of 2001 as a student-led effort when a couple of KIMEP University students approached Dr. Richard Fallaice (then dean of student affairs) about their desire to perform plays in English.

Dr. Fallaice in turn approached Nathan Fleming, knowing that Nathan had an interest in combining English-language learning with the craft of theater. The students met with Nathan and Kazakhstan’s first all English-language theater program was born! KELT’s first season produced a series of ten-minute play festivals in the KIMEP Fun Club and continued to produce full-length productions performed in KIMEP’s Great Hall. To kick off KELT’s 5th anniversary season, KELT produced its first-ever theater tour throughout Kazakhstan. Two special guest actors from America joined with the KELT/KIMEP actors and traveled to Baku, Aktau, Atyrau and Astana. In the fall of 2007, KELT celebrated another first with the arrival of its second full-time director, Jessica Lewis, to direct shows for KELT in Nathan’s absence. Nathan moved to Atyrau where he began KELT’s first sister branch, KELT Atyrau. In 2015, KELT received a grant from the US Consulate General in Almaty, sponsoring KELT to do a month-long tour throughout Central Asia to promote and encourage English language theater. In 2016, the USCG once again sponsored KELT to tour around Kazakhstan to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the friendship between Kazakhstan and the United States. KELT continues at KIMEP University, usually performing two mainstage plays per year. KELT is a student organization on the campus, but operates as a community theater, always holding open casting for each play. KELT prides itself on its close-knit community and its ability to craft amateurs into skilled actors with integrity and a strong work ethic.

Our vision, mission & values

Our vision is to be a community theater that touches people’s lives in Kazakhstan through quality productions, where needs for identity, purpose, acceptance and love are addressed.

Our mission is to promote the arts, develop character, create community and improve English-proficiency through theater.

Our values are met through full-length productions, small productions, projects, community service projects, get-togethers, trainings, workshops and discussions.

Image of KELT members while performing
We value
the community

We believe every individual must contribute his or her part to the greater community that defines KELT. We desire that each person helps create a safe environment where every-day masks can be removed and where vulnerability with one another is the standard.

the individual

We believe in the uniqueness of every individual and desire to foster and expand each member’s unique personalities, gifts and talents.

our society

We believe that KELT productions should reflect the reality of the human condition, society and world. We believe that injustice, abuse, oppression, loneliness, corruption and lies fill the world we live in, but so does goodness, beauty, acceptance, love, hope and truth.

Artistic Team

Jessica Lewis,

Artistic Director

Jessica Lewis has been living in Kazakhstan since 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from Temple University and a master’s degree in acting from the University of Iowa. The first time she came to Kazakhstan was to participate in a KELT summer tour in 2006, led by Nathan Fleming. It was the most significant summer of her life and is when she fell in love with Kazakhstan and its people. The next year, Nathan asked Jessica to return to Kazakhstan to direct for KELT while he went back to America. When Nathan returned to Kazakhstan, he announced that he was going to move to Atyrau and asked Jessica to take his place as the second director of KELT. She has been with KELT ever since and couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of this unique theater family.

Laura Pacini,

Technical Director

Laura Pacini received her B.A. in theater education from the University of Northern Colorado and has worked with numerous theater companies in her home state. At age 16 she began working for a TV production company, creating broadcast entertainment shows, commercials and promotional videos. She came to Kazakhstan in 2011 to teach at an international school and began working with KELT. Laura directed Wait Until Dark in 2012 and The Suicide in 2014. Last fall, Laura directed Cinderella, the musical. She now calls Kazakhstan her second home and plans to continue working here in theater and film.

Galina Kiryan,

Community Relations

Galina Kiryan received her bachelor’s degree in social sciences and master’s degree in international relations from Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics & Strategic Research, where she met Nathan Fleming, KELT’s founder and other fellow actors. Galina’s involvement in KELT started with the Freshly Squeezed production in Spring 2002 and to date she has been a part of 17 KELT projects (as an actor in 9 plays, 2 broadway musical reviews, a director and singer in 3 Christmas concerts, the musical director of Grease and a co-director of a few other stage projects.) Galina sings at different events and occasions. As a KIMEP alumni, she continues to participate in KELT and actively supports its artistic and organizational life.

Nathan Fleming,

Founder and First KELT Director

Nathan Fleming is the founder of KELT in Almaty and KELT in Atyrau. Born in North Carolina and raised in Virginia, Nathan has degrees from King University in Bristol, Tennessee, and Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He directed many KELT short and full-length plays, musical reviews in Almaty and Atyrau from 2001 till 2011 and launched the KELT’s first Summer Tour in 2006. Nate loves the life of the expat, having spent the last sixteen years living in Kazakhstan and China. He is also an educator and has taught and directed theater productions in some pretty far-out international situations. Nate is the author of Thimblerig’s Ark novel. He currently resides in Shenzhen, China and is the proud papa of three brilliant and beautiful children and the husband of the lovely Koolyash.

Madi Saken,

Legal Advisor

Madi Saken is currently studying law at KIMEP University. May 2017 marked his first onstage KELT debut as a dancer in Cinderella. He also participated in KELT’s 2017 winter show, Journey to Home.

Aidos Atagullayev,

Business Development Manager

Aidos Atagullayev showcased his talent in May 2017 during KELT’s production of Cinderella. He has continued to support and help KELT in many ways. In the past he has worked as an event manager.

Current Happenings