Portland, OR. Stan Foote, Artistic Director of Oregon Children’s Theatre (OCT), announced his plan to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 season. Foote began working with Oregon Children’s Theatre in 1991 and was named its first Artistic Director in 2001. Across his 28-year tenure, he directed nearly 50 plays and shepherded the creation of 20 brand- new scripts based on beloved books for children and families.

These adaptations include collaborations with award-winning children’s’ authors such as Lois Lowry (The Giver) and Louis Sachar (Holes) and became a hallmark of OCT’s rise to national prominence amongst its peers.

OCT made the announcement:

Originally hired to develop OCT’s education programs, Foote is responsible for creating and shaping the company’s acclaimed Acting Academy and Young Professionals Company, as well as programs that are delivered in schools and the community. Under his artistic direction, the company has grown to be the region’s largest provider of performing arts experiences for young people.

Stan Penkin, OCT’s board president said, “Meeting Stan some eight years ago was a special moment for me,” said Penkin. “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.”

On making his decision to retire, Foote stated, “It has been a joy and an honor to be the Artistic Director of OCT. I am grateful to the staff, board, patrons, artistic community, business partners, and my peers in the field of theatre for young audiences for embracing me, guiding me, and traveling on this creative journey with me. I am humbled by their trust and support and could not have done it without them. By the way, I see sunny beaches in my future. Salud!”

OCT’s Managing Director, Ross McKeen, expressed his admiration for Foote and his confidence in the company’s future. “Working alongside Stan as co-leaders over the past 12 years has been a gift for me. His artistic vision in this field is remarkable. More than that, he has given this company a solid foundation of guiding values and vision, particularly in his respect and care for young people and his commitment to reaching every child.”

Foote’s innumerable contributions to Oregon Children’s Theatre will be recognized at OCT’s annual evening gala on August 24, 2019, and a campaign to honor his legacy will be launched this spring. (octc.org/gala). Foote is currently directing OCT’s 20th world premiere production, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, and will continue as Artistic Director until September 2019. At that time, Associate Artistic Director Marcella Crowson will serve as Interim Artistic Director while OCT’s Board of Directors make plans for filling the role permanently.

About Oregon Children’s Theatre:

Since 1988, Oregon Children’s Theatre has been creating extraordinary theater for young audiences. We bring great stories to life on stage, with productions distinguished by their professional polish and awe- inspiring staging. For many children, attending an OCT production is their first experience with professional performing arts.

Our work is grounded in the belief that theater and storytelling can educate, inspire, empower, and entertain in remarkable ways. Each season, we reach more than 125,000 children and families through: unforgettable theater productions that delight and inspire families and school groups; Acting Academy programs that teach the craft of theater while fostering life skills; and dynamic performances, classes, workshops, and residencies in schools and in the community that use theater and storytelling to teach and inspire.

OCT was created by Sondra Pearlman as the “Theatre for Young People” under the auspices of the Portland Civic Theatre in 1988. When Portland Civic Theatre closed its doors in 1990, Pearlman formed Oregon Children’s Theatre with the goal of providing children their first exposure to theater and the performing arts through field trip performances. Since that start, we evolved by adding family performances and robust arts education programs.