by Lorie Lewis Ham
This Valley is blessed with so much talent in so many different forms. A group of some of those talented performers have come together to form the Fools Collaborative. We sat down with their creative director and “founding Fool” Haley White to learn more about them.
KRL: How would you describe the Fools Collaborative? Would you call it a theatre company, or something more?
Haley: We are a collective of visual and performing artists who produce artistic events for the express purpose of bringing awareness to, and raising funds for, an assortment of community, charitable, and social justice-orientated causes. We’ve held theatre and film-related events in the past, as well as other community-oriented activities like pub quiz. We hope to branch out and become even more interdisciplinary in the future.
KRL: When did it start and how did it come to be?
Haley: We began as a group of theatre nerds sitting around a dinner table, discussing how to get involved in the worldwide #Shakespeare400 event that was taking place in April of 2016. I sent out an email to performers and visual artists I knew at the time to see if anyone might be interested in collaborating on ideas. A few dozen artists banned together to accomplish our first project: a month’s worth of Shakespearean-themed events spread all over town and crammed into a one-month period. Events ranged from performances and readings to movie nights and pub quiz/game show competitions. We have partnered with groups like CMAC, CVCF, and Playhouse Merced, and helped promote events for other organizations like FPU Theater Department and Theatre Ventoux.
KRL: What sort of things do you hope to do with Fools?
Haley: Our website covers this, but we really just like the prospect of using art for good in our community and creating opportunities where we can work with other artists and groups we might not normally get to collaborate with.
KRL: How many people are a part of Fools? And who are they?
Haley: There is an ever-growing number of people, businesses, and organizations who have helped us with events over the years. You can find a list on our website with over 100 local artists who have contributed to our efforts in one way or another.
KRL: I understand that you became a non-profit, why did you choose to do that? How do you feel that might help with your goals?
Haley: We primarily chose to go non-profit to be eligible for grants and to force ourselves to be more fiscally responsible. We operate differently than a typical theatre group; we generally always give a minimum of $1 per ticket sale back to other non-profit groups. So, it just made sense at the rate we were growing to be completely on the up and up for people who donate to our cause, as well as to create more opportunities for ourselves.
KRL: What are your future goals?
Haley: To keep growing, keep doing cool, immersive art, to get more people involved in the planning and producing side of things, to help out more organizations and bring awareness to social causes that are important to us.
KRL: Any events coming up in the near future?
Haley: Our 2nd Annual Big Gay Cabaret is January 19 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church,
2101 N Fruit Ave. in Fresno. (Donations taken at the door.) And we’re back at Rogue with another S’Will production. This year, we’re tackling (and twisting up) Romeo and Juliet.
KRL: Where can you be found online?
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. The first 10 episodes are now up with another new one going up next week! You can check the podcast out on iTunes and Google Play, and also on podbean. Also check out our other theatre articles and reviews in our Arts and Entertainment section.