Kiss And Tell

VIDEO: ACO starts season with frothy summer selection


This evening, the Arts Center of the Ozarks' debuts its production of "Kiss Me Kate" -- the 1949 musical that features 18 of Cole Porter's most bubbly compositions -- and at the helm will be the youngest director to ever take on a production at ACO. Coleman Ray Clark, a 2015 Fayetteville High School graduate who currently attends Manhattan Marymount College in New York City, returned this summer to guide the project.

Kathleen Trotter


‘Kiss Me Kate’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. today & Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; and again July 21-23

WHERE — Arts Center of the Ozarks, 214 S. Main St. in Springdale

COST — $15-$45

INFO — 751-5441 or acozarks.org

Trotter Takes Helm To ‘Reimagine’ Future At ACO

“‘Reimagine’ is the word we’re using,” says Kathleen Trotter, who took over the reins of the Arts Center of the Ozarks from interim director Jenni Taylor Swain on July 1. “We’re trying to reimagine the future of the organization so that it’s consistent with the environment we live in, the gaps in the arts ecology in Northwest Arkansas and with our own history.”

Trotter, who previously served as a consultant and executive in organizations that included conference and retreat centers and residence camps, says she worked with the ACO Board and organization throughout the past year prior to formally taking on the title of executive director.

“While Jenni was the interim director, I was working with her and have been in on the visioning and helping to set the new mission and the organizational structure,” she says. “Our goals are to certainly build on to the wonderful 50-year history we have under the Blundells’ leadership, as well as to recognize that Springdale is a different city and wants to [foster] a revitalized downtown. We see the arts center as being integral to creating activity that complements the growth of the business district.”

Trotter says the ACO has an exciting season planned for 2017-18 that will be announced in full in August. Highlights include mainstage shows like “Sense and Sensibility” (Oct. 13-15, 20-22) and “Driving Miss Daisy” (March 9-11, 16-18), and collaborations with NWA Audio Theatre, Trike Theatre, Arts Live Theatre, the Latin Theatre Project and Providence Academy.

“We’re building on our community focus,” says Trotter. “Our intent is to provide unique arts and artists for our audiences so that they’re entertained. We educate through the arts and engage people to build a cohesive and unified community.

“We are on our way to diversifying our program — that’s what excites me. To take a new idea and give it flesh and bone and have other people experience that in new and exciting ways.”

— Lara Hightower


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