About the Fools
Company of Fools was born out of a belief in the unique rewards that can only be achieved by a company of theatre artists sharing a common artistic point of view, a specific approach to the creative process and a shared attitude toward life. This belief is at the core of Company of Fools’ mission and is embodied by the symbol of the Fool.
The Company’s notion of the Fool comes from a little-known essay by the late English painter, Cecil Collins, who wrote: “The Fool is the essential poetic integrity of life itself, clear and naked, overflowing in cosmic fun; not the product of intellectual achievement, but a creation of the culture of the heart.”
Company of Fools began in Richmond, Virginia in May 1992 with a series of discussions between then-artistic director Rusty Wilson and original Company members Vicki Bodin, John Glenn, Denise Simone, Robert Throckmorton and Joel Vilinsky. Rusty initiated these discussions to articulate and clarify his vision of a living theatre vital to the needs of its community. As a result of these talks, Rusty secured a loan, converted his garage into a studio, and on August 23, 1992, the Company’s training process began. As the Company evolved, a common vocabulary and approach to the art and craft of acting was developed.
The Company’s first project, Something Unspoken: Two Evenings of Tennessee Williams One-Acts, was presented at Hanover Tavern in Hanover, Virginia. The production was a huge success, and the run finished with a long waiting list. Next came Williams’ masterpiece The Glass Menagerie, co-produced with Richmond’s Barksdale Theatre. A grant from Partners in the Arts allowed Company of Fools to perform at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in the summers of 1995 and 1996. The Company’s final production in Virginia was John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, performed in June 1996.
In the fall of 1996, Rusty Wilson and founding member Denise Simone relocated to Hailey, Idaho intent on continuing the Company’s work. Since that time, Company of Fools has contributed to the rich cultural life of the Wood River Valley and greater Idaho in innumerable ways. In 2009 the Company was awarded Arts Advocate of the Year by the Sun Valley/Ketchum and Hailey Chambers of Commerce. In 2004, Company of Fools was honored as a recipient of the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In December 2000, the Company became the first theatre in Idaho’s history to receive Constituent Theatre status from Theatre Communication Group, the national organization for the professional, nonprofit American theatre.
In January 2013 Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Company of Fools finalized an agreement to become one organization, ensuring the presence of professional theatre and becoming Idaho’s largest arts organization. Company of Fools moved under the umbrella of The Center retaining its name and identity as a professional non-profit theatre company and is continuing to base its operations out of the Liberty Theater in Hailey. While Company of Fools will continue to produce inspiring main stage productions, there will be additional programs offered that coincide with the Center’s multidisciplinary ideas.
Company of Fools is a theatre company driven by the power of the theatrical experience to connect artist and audience. Whether through performing or teaching, we seek to engage, inspire, entertain and transform.
Company of Fools direct line is 208.788.6520