Argo Thompson Joins Theatre Bay Area

by Jacob Coakley

 

Argo Thompson, new director of advancement and communications at Theatre Bay Area. Photo: Milton Woolley
Argo Thompson, new director of advancement and communications at Theatre Bay Area. Photo: Milton Woolley

Argo Thompson has been named the new director of advancement and communications at Theatre Bay Area. Thompson replaces Sam Read, who had to return to Seattle shortly after joining TBA in March. Thompson was previously the director of development Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville and also served as development director for Lamplighters Music Theatre and Mill Valley’s 142 Throckmorton Theatre. As executive director of the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rose he raised $1.3 million for a new venue for the company.

Theatre Bay Area Announces Arrival of Argo Thompson, New Director of Advancement and Communications

July 1, 2013 (San Francisco): Theatre Bay Area, the San Francisco Bay Area’s service organization for theatre and dance individuals and companies, announced today the appointment of Argo Thompson as its new director of advancement and communications. Thompson replaces Sam Read, who took over from outgoing communications director Clayton Lord in March but had to return to Seattle unexpectedly shortly after joining the Theatre Bay Area staff.

Thompson comes to Theatre Bay Area from a stint as director of development at Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater in Yountville. He also recently served as development director for Lamplighters Music Theatre and Mill Valley’s 142 Throckmorton Theatre. From 2009 to 2011 he was the executive director of the Marin Arts Council, where he attracted more than a million people to events in Marin by creating an online social arts network.

For eight years Thompson was artistic director of Santa Rosa’s Actors Theatre, awarded “best theatre troupe” by the North Bay Bohemian. When that company merged with Santa Rosa Players to become 6th Street Playhouse, he became executive director of the newly formed theatre, raising $1.3 million and leading the renovation project of an historic warehouse into a state-of-the-art venue. Before that he was art director of Market Live, where he converted Fortune 500 magazines into e-commerce websites now generating over $2 million in annual sales.

A resident of Santa Rosa, Thompson was named as one of the Top Five Arts Makers by the Press Democrat (2004) and as Arts Maker of the Year by the North Bay Bohemian (2003). He earned a BFA in theatre arts from the North Carolina School of the Arts in 1993.

“We are delighted to have Argo joining us as our new director of advancement and communications,” said Theatre Bay Area executive director Brad Erickson. “I have worked with Argo over the years in his role as artistic director of the 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa and as executive director of the Marin Arts Council, and I have always been impressed with his passion for theatre and the arts, and his commitment to the larger community. I look forward to working closely with Argo in advancing theatre all around the Bay Area.”

Thompson officially starts work at Theatre Bay Area August 12, shortly after the organization moves its offices to the ACT Costume Shop building at 1119 Market Street on August 1.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Brad Erickson and the amazing team he’s assembled at Theatre Bay Area,” says Thompson. “Ten years ago, while I was the artistic/executive director of 6th Street Playhouse, I served on the theatre services committee and first met Brad. His dynamic leadership and the dedicated team made an impression on me. Since then I have looked for ways to work with TBA in moving the arts sector forward. I’m overjoyed the timing is right.”

About Theatre Bay Area Theatre Bay Area’s mission is to unite, strengthen, promote and advance the theatre community in the San Francisco Bay Area, working on behalf of our conviction that the performing arts are an essential public good, critical to a truly prosperous and democratic society and invaluable as a source of personal enrichment and growth. Now entering our fourth decade, Theatre Bay Area serves theatre companies, theatremakers and theatregoers as:

• A professional association for theatre and dance companies. Our membership includes more than 350 companies ranging from large flagship institutions to small grassroots community groups located throughout the nine-county Bay Area.

• A service organization providing support, career development and community for theatre artists.

• An information clearing-house for the arts offering a broad array of print and online publications as well as informational convenings, forums and conferences.

• A hub for theatregoers building audiences for the arts by connecting theatregoers with arts offerings.

• A significant arts funder providing approximately $100,000 in grants to artists and theatre and dance companies each year through our granting programs.

• A champion for the arts working to shape public policy and build consensus around the idea that the performing arts are critical to a healthy society through advocacy with key government leaders, funders, media outlets and the business community and engagement of our membership to advocate on their own behalf.

www.theatrebayarea.org