Everett school gives students place to chase theater dreams

In some ways, Scott Randall’s story reads like that of any starving actor:

Moved to L.A. Got a couple of good gigs working with Seth Rogen, Ed Asner and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Returned home to take the Northwest by storm with a plumped-up actor’s resume but wound up in management at Starbucks.

The plot could have ended there. But cue in fate.

In February, Randall was laid off.

“I spent 14 hours moping but then realized the decision was made for me,” Randall said.

It was time for Randall to raise the curtain on his dream.

Since 2001, Randall has wanted to start an art school in Snohomish County. This art school would cater to visual and performance artists. The school would also be affordable, with prices pegged for low- income students.

In June, Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts was created as a Washington state nonprofit. Red Curtain is based at Historic Everett Theatre, though Randall hopes the school will one day be in its own building.

“Part of the Red Curtain mission is to make art and art education more accessible to everyone,” said Randall, president of the six-person Red Curtain board. “Art schools are so expensive it’s prohibitive, and so often the kind of students we are talking about are younger people who come from lower-income families and art becomes their outlet.”

At Historic Everett Theatre, Randall teaches acting and makeup classes to eight students who range in age from 14 to 47. The students come in all skill levels from veteran actors to one student who has always worked behind the scenes but is trying to overcome stage fright.

These students help to form the backbone of Red Curtain Productions, the theater arm of Red Curtain Foundation. Red Curtain Productions has already put on its first full-blown show at Historic Everett, “Steel Magnolias.”

Actress and Red Curtain student L. Sam Samano, who played Truvy Jones in “Steel Magnolias,” said an art school in Snohomish County will provide those who don’t have a lot of money a place to pursue their passions.

“This gives them that light at the end of the tunnel,” Samano said.

Also, with Red Curtain Productions filling seats at Historic Everett, that gives the financially strapped theater one more reason to keep its doors open.

“I want people to go ‘Oh, what’s happening at the Historic Everett?’ ” said Mike Olson, vice chairman of the theater’s board of directors. “I want people to think of us as a viable option.”

Randall, an Everett native, has been in theater for 22 years with experience as an actor, makeup artist, lighting designer, stage manager and director. He’s done the bright lights of Los Angeles where he also taught makeup classes to at-risk youths and gang members. And he’s done lots of community theater.

Randall believes theater is just a natural part of teaching, and Red Curtain Foundation gives him that vehicle to teach and another chapter in his life story.

“I want to help create a community of artists” with the art school, Randall said. “We can be one big voice and really institute some positive change for the arts in Snohomish County.”

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424, goffredo@heraldnet.com.

Red Curtain

For more information about Red Curtain Foundation visit the Web site at www.redcurtainfoundation.org or call 425-501-7604.

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