About the Fools
In May 1992, Company of Fools was founded in response to an essay titled “The Vision of the Fool” by visual artist Cecil Collins. In Collins’ essay, the fool embodies truth, joy, creativity and a childlike wonder of all that is magical and mysterious. A series of discussions initiated by the Company’s founder, Rusty Wilson, and original Company members Vicki Bodin, John Glenn, Denise Simone, Robert Throckmorton and Joel Vilinsky, articulated a vision of a theatre company that embodied the qualities of the fool and was vital to its community. Rusty’s unheated garage in Richmond, Virginia, served as the Company’s first acting studio. It was there that the Company realized four years of training and launched three productions—two evenings of Tennessee Williams’ one-acts at the Historic Hanover Tavern, a full production of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie in partnership with Barksdale Theatre and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by John Patrick Shanley. In November 2012, the Company merged with the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, becoming part of what is now the largest arts institution in the state of Idaho.
In the fall of 1996, Rusty and founding member Denise Simone relocated to Hailey, Idaho, intent on continuing the Company’s work. For its inaugural Idaho presentation, the Company adapted Nikolai Gogol’s Diary of a Madman on a shoestring budget and performed it for 30 people over two nights at $5 a ticket. Over twenty years later, Company of Fools has evolved into an award-winning theatre that produces a full season of plays while providing substantial arts education programming for its community.
Company of Fools has been recognized numerous times for its significant contributions to the arts. Founding members Denise Simone and John Glenn are both recipients of the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts—Simone in 2014 and Glenn in 2016. 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.
Company of Fools produces four mainstage productions per year as well as a play reading series while also providing theatre arts education programming for the community.
In 2017, the historic Liberty Theatre in Hailey was gifted to The Center by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis and will remain the Company of Fools’ permanent residence.
Company of Fools direct line is 208-788-6520