Palace Theatre’s mission to serve Georgetown
Mary Ellen Butler’s foray into theater began with a crash. Literally.
In 1987, she was a United States Army captain stationed in Germany. One evening as she was driving home from a farewell celebration for a comrade, her seven years in the army came to an abrupt halt, courtesy of a drunk driver, a blind curve, and a year of rehab.
Since then, Mary Ellen has taken the management skills she learned in the army and scripted a life for herself in theater. Georgetown View talked with her to learn about her work as the Palace Theatre’s artistic director and about how the Palace benefits Georgetown.
Describe your work as artistic director.
I am the person who is supposed to be the visionary for the future. As the demographic of individuals living in Williamson County grows and changes, I find ways to develop and grow our theatrical offerings. Every spring I research and select our shows, and schedule the placement of shows for the upcoming year. I also hire the other directors and supervise each show that is performed in the theater.
How many shows does the Palace Theatre offer yearly?
We put on shows for five weeks and then are off between shows for two weeks. That totals eight shows on our main stage. Also, our education program puts on additional performances. All in all, if you count the kids’ shows, we’re putting on almost 40 shows per year.
“Offering the community options to participate in quality community theater” is part of your mission statement. How does Palace Theatre live that out?
Through our education program, we have classes for children and adults. We also have an “Acting with Autism” class that is doing quite well. And every second Tuesday, we have a “Dancing with Parkinson’s” class that we do with Scott and White. People with Parkinson’s are given a therapy session through dance; it’s wonderful.
What would you like to be sure that Georgetown residents know about the Palace?
People may not be aware that we have an induction hearing loop. If someone has a hearing aid, they can sit in the body of our theater, flip the switch on their hearing aid, and hear the show with that special device on our soundboard. Also, the first Saturday of every performance, we put on a special show for individuals who are blind or sight-impaired.
For more information, including Palace Theatre’s season calendar and education opportunities, visit georgetownpalace.com.
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