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Jim Covault To Retire From Stage West Leadership In 2016

by Jerome Weeks 5 Oct 2015 9:55 PM

At different times since 1980, he’s been actor, director, set designer and co-producing director there. But next year, Jim Covault will be releasing the administrative reins at Stage West.

Jim Covault (left) with Garrett Storms in "New Jerusalem" at Stage West in 2012.


Jim Covault (left) with Garrett Storms in “New Jerusalem” at Stage West in 2012

Stage West announced Monday evening the theater’s co-producer and artistic director Jim Covault — who has served the theater in one capacity or another for 35 years — will retire from his administrative duties in a year. He will close out the company’s 37th season — which just opened with the area premiere of “Bad Jews” — but after September 2016, he will be an artistic associate. Which means Covault will continue to contribute as an actor or director, as he’s done since 1980, he simply won’t be in a leadership role.

A tall, dry presence onstage — he was a natural to play Jeeves, which he did successfully several times — Covault has even designed sets and costumes for the theater. After the death of Stage West founder Jerry Russell in 2013, he divided leadership duties with co-producing director Dana Schultes. The release gives no indication whether Schultes will continue as the company’s sole producing director (she is also director of development) and whether a new artistic director will be sought.

The full release:

Stage West announces the 2016 retirement of Jim Covault.
(Fort Worth, TX)

Stage West is announcing the 2016 retirement of Co-Producer and Artistic Director Jim Covault. Covault will step down from his administrative duties at the end of September, 2016, shortly after the close of the 37th season. He will continue, however, as an artistic associate for Stage West, directing and acting as needed.

Covault began his association with Stage West in the summer of 1980, directing and appearing in numerous productions over the years. He has been responsible for much of the graphic design of the organization, managed the theatre’s marketing, and has designed sets and costume for many shows. In addition to his many memorable roles, he has directed such shows as “The Explorers Club,” “Beyond Therapy,” “She Loves Me,” “The Clean House,” “The Miser,” “The 39 Steps,” “The Skin of Our Teeth” and “The Real Thing.”

Stage West Board of Directors President Bronson Davis said, “Jim Covault has been a pillar of Stage West almost since the company’s beginnings in a sandwich shop 35 years ago. He has been an artistic force, working closely with founder Jerry Russell and now Dana Schultes to bring to Fort Worth a rich variety of wonderful productions. Since the company’s return to its present location on West Vickery and Jim’s role as artistic director, Stage West’s budget has more than doubled. He has made the character Jeeves synonymous with Stage West, and played a wide variety of other singular roles such as Mark Rothko, Lyndon B. Johnson, Alan Turing, and Aunt Augusta (“Travels with My Aunt”). We are especially delighted that though retiring from his administrative roles he will still be associated artistically with the company.”