Busy Gleason making up for late start in the theater

By Ralph Hall
The biographical sketches that appear in theater programs often describe a long personal history of each individual beginning with early life experiences in artistic work. For KNOW Theatre’s founder and artistic director, this is not the way it happened. In fact, Tim Gleason was an adult pursuing a career in electrical design when he saw his first theatrical production, which was the catalyst that changed his entire life – forever!

Tim Gleason and Sean Walsh in "Lonesome West"

Tim Gleason and Sean Walsh in "Lonesome West"

A native of Scranton, Pa., Gleason’s school and young adult years were absent of any interest in the arts. Now, two decades later, his expansive bio includes performance work in New York City and other venues in the Northeast, culminating more than 10 years ago with the creation of KNOW Theatre Company and the opening seven years ago of the Binghamton City Stage in downtown Binghamton.

Gleason’s work with Broome Community College and the Cider Mill Playhouse led him to believe that there was an unfilled niche in the area. He, with a group of fellow actors, established KNOW in the early 1990s as a company dedicated to presenting the works of America’s best playwrights. In addition to designing and producing seven seasons of cutting-edge drama and comedy plays, KNOW Theatre at Binghamton City Stage has presented eight Playwright Festivals for local writers. The venue also has become established as a performance space for other companies and artistic endeavors including world premieres of new pieces such as plays by Santino DeAngelo and Marty Murray’s translation of Lorca’s Blood Wedding.

During his early years as an actor, Gleason developed skills in several areas that he now brings to KNOW. He is often acclaimed by the audiences for his own performances as an actor and acknowledged as an excellent director. As an artistic director, he provides opportunities for other directors and actors to excel in giving Broome County audiences the best in dramatic and comedy productions.

In 2006 Gleason was asked to participate in the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. On July 5-8, 2012, the Center’s artistic director will be in Binghamton to see KNOW Theatre’s presentation of four new playwrights’ productions chosen by the Kennedy Center.

Gleason will be performing in the Irish comedy Lonesome West by Martin McDonough, which opens on this Friday (April 13) at Binghamton City Stage, 74 Carroll St., Binghamton. For tickets, call 607-724-4344 or visit BrownPaperTickets.com. Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through April 29. April 19 is KNOW’’s Pay What You Can Performance.

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