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Theater not off radar for AD as he retires in Mexico; the children's theater company is looking for its next leader

COURTESY PHOTO: REBEKAH JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY - Stan Foote retires as Oregon Children's Theatre artistic director this weekend, but not before the city fetes him with 'Stan Foote Day' on Thursday, Aug. 29.Retirement has gone according to plan for Stan Foote, the outgoing artistic director at Oregon Children's Theatre.

His last day is Aug. 31. He is moving to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Sept. 8. But he'll be close — literally — to the arts scene in his new town.

There is a small theater located in Foote's condominium complex.

"The condo that I've leased with my friend is two bedroom, two bath and you enter through an art gallery," Foote said.

"There's a pottery studio inside the building and a 45-seat undeveloped theater space. It's a room with seats. ... I believe I'm going to be directing a play in Puerto Vallarta next year," he said. But he wants to build up "some cred" first.

Perhaps by directing a play in the condo complex's theater? "We'll talk," he said. "I'm looking to go retire.

"Theater has been a part of my life forever, and I will at least be an audience member" in Puerto Vallarta theater, and "it does leave me the option of directing plays in the U.S., working on new projects or new scripts," including potentially with OCT.

Foote began working in Portland theater shortly after moving here in 1978. He joined OCT in 1991 and became its first-ever artistic director in 2001. He directed about 50 plays, helped stage some 150, and led OCT as it developed about 20 original works.

The company will be searching nationwide for Foote's replacement. And, who knows? The company might not have to look very far. Marcella Crowson serves as interim artistic director, and "she is an award-winning associate AD and is an excellent human being and a kick-ass director," Foote said. The 2019-20 season is already completed, and OCT and Crowson have been working on the following season.

It's an exciting time for Foote in many ways. The city of Portland is proclaiming Thursday, Aug. 29, as "Stan Foote Day" in a ceremony at 2 p.m. at City Hall. That's also his 67th birthday. Four days later, it's his last day at Oregon Children's Theater, and next week there'll be a large gathering of associates, friends, union crew, actors and directors to send Foote out in style.

"I'm excited for the company, and for myself," said Foote, who's originally from Shingletown, California. "It's the right time to go for the company and me. ... I feel like the company is in great shape."

Stan Penkin, OCT's board president, met Foote eight years ago. "I was immediately captured by his wonderful soul, his obvious caring for children, and his dedication to helping transform lives. His exceptional character, tireless spirit and unquestionable integrity are deeply embedded in an organization that will miss his presence," Penkin said.

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