Jane Bishop had a vision for what a theater company should look like. She wanted to see a company that reflected the world, its people and different cultures.
Ms. Bishop got the chance to see such a thing when she helped Kenny Leon establish True Colors Theater Company in 2002. She felt different perspectives and experiences would add to the theater experience.
“From my standpoint, the more diverse the room of people is, the more exciting it is,” Ms. Bishop said, in a 2002 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.
Mr. Leon, artistic director of the theater company that bears his name, said Ms. Bishop was more than a co-founder of True Colors. She also “gave so much to the artistic vitality of Atlanta,” Mr. Leon wrote in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after her death.
Jane Bishop, of Asheville, N.C., died April 28 at Mission Hospital, after complications from open-heart surgery. She was 65. Her body was cremated and it was her request that no formal services be held. The Center for End of Life Transitions, Asheville, was in charge of arrangements.
An only child, born in Taylorville, Ill., Ms. Bishop earned two theater-related degrees from Illinois State University. Her first position in professional theater was that of stage manager, and she quickly worked her way through the ranks, but never to the stage.
“She really enjoyed being behind the scenes,” said Jenny Costantino, a former True Colors colleague. “Her business sense of the arts industry was untouchable.
Ms. Bishop’s work in Atlanta includes “coordinating the 1996 Olympics' Victory Ceremonies, where she hired, trained, and coordinated 21 pairs of stage managers to rehearse and produce over 300 victory ceremonies in 28 different venues in Atlanta, Savannah, and north Georgia,” according to information from True Colors. Ms. Bishop was also the general manager at the Alliance Theatre Company from 1989 to 1998.
“She was probably the most ethical person I’ve ever known,” said Edith Love, a former managing director at the Alliance. “She was so highly principled and that put her among the best of managers.”
Ms. Bishop’s expertise was shared with students across the metro area, as she taught stage management at Georgia State University and theater administration at La Grange College. She also served on the boards of 7 Stages and the Atlanta Coalition of Performing Arts, during her time on the Atlanta theater scene.
In 1999, Ms. Bishop left Atlanta to become the managing director of the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, but returned to Atlanta where she helped lay the foundation for True Colors. She stayed with True Colors for a little more than four years, before retiring from the day-to-day work, Mrs. Costantino said. A couple of years ago, Ms. Bishop and her long-time partner, Sandra Deer, decided to retire to North Carolina.
“I think it was just time, Mrs. Costantino said. “It is a lot of work to do what she did, and she and Sandra were just in a place where it was a good time for them.”
Though Ms. Bishop physically left the Atlanta area, her spirit remained at True Colors, Mr. Leon said.
“Jane was more than a colleague,” Mr. Leon wrote. "She was a very special presence on the planet but her sharing and giving spirit will be with us forever.”
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