MARION — Following 22 years of service, including a decade as Executive Director, Bev Ford will retire from the Marion Palace Theatre this November.
What began as a part-time job selling tickets in the box office back in 1998 turned into a career of service to the arts.
Over time, Ford advanced from one position to another before taking the helm in 2011. A lot has happened over the last 10 years at the theatre, both on stage and off.
When it comes to programming, opportunities for local performers increased — including productions specifically for area youth. Sensory-friendly movie showings brought big-screen entertainment to new audiences. The Academy of the Arts returned with classes for a variety of artistic disciplines. Different styles of shows also came to life in the smaller space of the May Pavilion.
During this time, Ford continually tackled capital projects critical to the future of the nearly century-old theatre such as the facade and marquee project (completed in 2016) and the roof replacement (currently in progress).
“I’m grateful for opportunities to help the theatre fill an important role in making Marion a great place to live, work and play,” says Ford.
Her efforts to increase community connection haven’t gone unnoticed, as evidenced by growth in both membership and sponsorship of the theatre’s program, a news release states.
This, combined with the work of applying for grants and state funding, helped the Palace gain (and maintain) firm financial footing while bringing big-name national entertainment to the stage. Fortunately, the theatre remains on solid ground even through the numerous challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Palace’s Board of Directors have begun the search for the historic theatre’s next executive director.