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Naomi McDougall Jones to Guide Liberty Theatre Company’s Upcoming Season
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Thursday, February 23, 2023
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Naomi McDougall Jones has been appointed to the role of interim artistic director for The Liberty Theatre Company.

She will oversee the 2023-24 while spearheading a local and national search to find a long-term artistic director for the company.

McDougall Jones has a rich background with Hollywood, storytelling and making theatrical magic. She and her husband Stephen McDougall Graham, now Blaine County clerk, fell in love with the Wood River Valley community a few years ago while McDougall Jones served as the inaugural resident at the Ernest Hemingway House.

While there she saw one of the last performances Company of Fools staged before disbanding and that convinced her that she could move from New York City—her home of 13 years--to a small town where she could be involved in making great art.

“It is an honor to step into the legacy of (Company of Fools’) tradition and to have the chance to lead forward from all of the tremendous groundwork that The Liberty Theatre Company has laid for itself,” said McDougall Jones. “I look forward to collaborating with this incredible and talented group of artists and administrators to bring world-class theatrical productions to Hailey.”

McDougall Jones is a 15-time award-winning filmmaker, as well as writer, actress, and producer. He most recent project “Shayda” just which won the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before selling to Sony Picture Classics. The feature film depicts the resiliency of an Iranian woman who demands a life on her own terms away from her abusive husband and the patriarchal norms that suffocate her.

McDougall Jones served as an executive producer on the film, alongside Cate Blanchett.

McDougall Jones is a longtime advocate and thought leader for bringing gender parity to cinema. Her writing on gender equality has appeared in The Atlantic, Ms. Magazine and Salon.com. Her TEDTalk, What it’s Like to Be a Woman in Hollywood has now been viewed over 1 million times.

Her book on the subject The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood, debuted as a #1 Amazon bestseller.

McDougall Jones got her start in the theater and spent most of her 20s writing, acting in, and producing theater in New York City. She served from 2011-2016 as the artistic director of Theater Masters, a New York City and Aspen-based company dedicated to nurturing, developing, and producing the work of the next generation of American playwrights on a national scale.

In that capacity, she oversaw the growth of The National MFA Playwrights Festival, which each year debuted the work of the top 10 playwrights out of the top national MFA playwriting programs. This festival jumpstarted the early careers of writers who have gone on to win Obie’s, Tony’s, Emmy’s and a Pulitzer Prize.

“I look forward to tapping into my network from my long career in New York, both to bring in artists to work with our company and to find the perfect person to lead TLTC into the future,” McDougall Jones said.

The Liberty Theatre Company’s manager Tess Makena said that McDougall Jones’ creativity, professionalism and well of knowledge guarantee any project or company she is involved with is successful.

“Words can't express how thrilled I am, how thrilled we all are, to welcome her positive guidance to The Liberty Theatre Company. With Naomi, we'll thrive,” she said.

TLTC’s Board President, Claudia McCain concurred: “As TLTC is refining its focus on the company and our next steps, we feel very fortunate to have Naomi join the team.  Her experience and depth of knowledge in the theatre and film world will take the company to the next level, and we could not be more pleased.”

TLTC’s Executive Director, JD McDonnell will step down at the end of March, although he will continue to work with the company on an ongoing basis.

The Liberty Theatre Company is staging John Logan’s “Red,” about abstract expressionist painter artist Mark Rothko March 9-19 at the Sun Valley Community School Theatre. The company plans to announce the productions for its 2023-2024 season this coming May and tickets will go on sale shortly thereafter.


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