a Company of Fools and its Board of Directors are proud to announce that Kate Smith has taken up the mantle of Artistic Director, with her tenure as Head Fool beginning later this month!

“I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Artistic Director of a Company of Fools,” says Kate. “I have worked with the company and watched them grow since returning to Ottawa in 2007. The work the Fools do to make art accessible in this community is so important, and I am excited to be a part of their continued evolution as an arts organization. For me, the works of Shakespeare have always been about human stories – what connects us, what moves us – and the art of being able to argue a point while listening to the other side. This is so relevant and critical more now than ever. This is an amazing opportunity to touch people’s lives through the power of art. I look forward to serving our community.”

Kate’s appointment follows the departure of Nicholas Leno, a brilliant Fool who shared his talents with the company as a jack of all trades, a production manager, and most recently its Artistic Director since his appointment in 2019. Under Nicholas’ leadership, the company evolved tremendously and was able to expand its programming beyond its summer Torchlight Shakespeare production to share the magic of live theatre with local high school students, retirement home residents, and those living in temporary housing in the downtown core, to name a few.

Kate comes to the Fools after 14 years as Artistic Director of Skeleton Key Theatre, an Ottawa-based theatre company that creates and produces immersive theatrical experiences. Their plays take place outside of a traditional theatre space and are created through collaborative creation – so Kate is no stranger to the exciting challenges that come with performing in the great outdoors. With Skeleton Key, Kate created notable productions such as Deluge, Swan River, and Burger King Lear. Kate is a graduate of Dalhousie University’s Acting Program and the University of Ottawa where she received her MFA in Directing, which took her to the Stratford Festival to shadow her mentor Jillian Keiley on Richard II.

And, this is far from Kate’s first time Fooling – a trained actor and singer, Kate appeared onstage in the Fools’ 2018 production of Twelfth Night and in 2019’s Romeo & Juliet. She has worked with the company over the years as a touring performer in shows such as Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus and Richard III in Bouffon, which toured to Eastern Canada and Montréal, and has facilitated Shakespeare workshops in school and community settings.

Kate will be directing the Fools hotly-anticipated 2024 Torchlight Shakespeare production (announcement coming soon!), and will be taking the company reins as of February 19th, 2024. Welcome, Kate!