Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Company of Fools Brings on Award Winning Director
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Scott Palmer, 49, pioneered new forms of performances through classic play adaptations, in addition to using cutting edge play adaptations to address social and political issues.
 
Sunday, November 18, 2018
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

The founding artistic director of a nationally known professional theatre company in Hillsboro, Ore., has been tabbed to lead Company of Fools as the award-winning professional theater company heads into its 24th season.

Scott Palmer, founding director of Bag&Baggage, will serve as the new producing artistic director of the Hailey-based professional theatre company. He will serve on the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ executive leadership team, reporting to The Center’s Executive Director  Christine Davis-Jeffers.

Palmer will work part-time for the next several months while fulfilling commitments in Oregon. He will begin working full time with Company of Fools in early March 2019. In the meantime, he will collaborate with the Fools’ Season Producer R.L. Rowsey, Production Manager K.O. Ogilvie and Company Manager Kris Olenick to develop the Company’s upcoming season.

Scott said he was honored to have been selected as the next artistic leader of The Fools:

“Company of Fools has a national reputation for excellence, and I am eager to get to work supporting the staff, board and patrons to continue that great legacy of quality with a focus on the community. Already, I have felt welcomed by the people I have met from the valley and I can’t wait to start this exciting new position.”

Palmer helped found Bag&Baggage productions in Hillsboro in 2004. The nonprofit theatre company  presented four productions a year in the Venetian Theatre, a 370-seat venue in downtown Hillsboro.

When that theater was closed to the public in 2016, B&B collaborated with the City of Hillsboro to purchase a former Wells Fargo bank building, raising $1.6 million to refurbish it into a state-of-the-art studio theatre now known as The Vault Theater.

It collaborates with a variety of other nonprofit arts groups there to provide film and cinema events, educational programming and workshops and events dealing with diversity, equity and social justice.

Some of the events being produced there in the next month include a “Before the Flood” film showing, “Bell, Book and Candle” and “It’s a Tony Starlight Christmas.”

Bag&Baggage started out as a traveling troupe that traveled the state of Oregon performing classical theater for communities like Hood River, Corvallis, Astoria and Beaverton, which didn’t have residential professional theaters.

They named the group after the idea that they showed up with everything they needed to put on a show in their bag and baggage--a name that comes from Shakespeare’s comedy “As You Like It.”

During his 14 years with Bag&Baggage, Palmer took the organization from a small touring company to one of the greatest recent theatre success stories in Oregon. The organization was honored with a National Theatre Company award by the American Theatre Wing, which is the organization that manages the Tony Awards.

And Palmer—a Hillsboro native--was described by Oregon Arts Watch as “one of Oregon’s, if not the nation’s, most ambitious directors.”

Palmer himself was named to the prestigious National Theatre Conference in 2017 in recognition of his work with classical theater and his commitment to making quality performing arts accessible to all.

He also is involved with the Theatre Communications Group, the national association of professional theatres. His focus with that organization is on advancing theatre in rural and suburban areas.

Davis-Jeffers said that Palmer’s artistic vision and values are aligned with those of Company of Fools and The Center.

“He shared with us that he looks forward to developing the BIG IDEA prrojects with the group and welcomes the wonderful opportunity to lead Company of Fools,” she said. “Not only is he a highly talented director and artistic director but he also has a great sense of humor. We are lucky to have him join us and lead us in the next chapter of Company of Fools history.”

Scott replaces Kent Thompson who has served in an interim producing director role since the June 2017 death of founding company artist John Glenn. Thompson helped the Center identify the kind of leader that would best serve the Fools’ future.

 

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