Kate Loftus of Lostine is the long-time director (and creator) of the MidValley Theatre Company, located in Lostine. She has lived in the county since July 1994 –– and put on a production that first year. Now, after more than 20 years of success, and various theater locations provided by the generosity of the community, she and her merry band are planning to begin a fundraising campaign that will eventually lead to a permanent home.
How did you come to Wallowa County?
“I was born and raised in Portland and I didn’t think there was any place else I wanted to live until I came over here with my late husband Larry. On the way home I said, “you know, I could live here,” and I think Larry nearly drove off the road he was so happy. Now, I wouldn’t go to Portland at all if my daughter wasn’t there.”
What was the impetus for starting a theatre company here?
“Theatre has always been an interest. I’d been working with children all my life, I babysat for 19 years and had 21 foster kids for 10 years in Gresham and then became a youth pastor for 28 kids. I’m very organized. I finally went back to school at Mt. Hood and Portland State in 1986 and finished up at Eastern Oregon University in 2008 to get my theatre degree. I married Larry in 1987 and by Christmas of ‘94, we put on our first play in Wallowa County.
What has Wallowa County taught you?
“Community! It’s such a giving place. Everybody is a neighbor. We have a very diverse group of people but everyone gives everything they have. Larry and I said, ever since we came over the first time, “We’ve died and gone to heaven.” The synergy you get from all these people is just amazing. I’ve seen 28 people on the stage who have taken each other into their lives – all because of theatre.”