C of I theatre professor receives Boise City grant

For nearly 20 years, Professor Joe Golden has helped grow and strengthen The College of Idaho theatre department, using his stage experience and collaborating with Professor Mike Hartwell to help students create professional productions while earning respect and acclaim in the Treasure Valley and beyond.

In the upcoming year, Golden will put his talents to use producing an original play, Ladies First, thanks to a $7,500 Boise City Department of Arts and History Grant. Golden was one of 24 grant recipients for fiscal year 2016, and he is excited for the opportunity to create original theatre.

“The grant process was extremely helpful in focusing my project and making me hammer out a timeline and budget from which to start,” Golden said.

Golden won the grant with advice and help of Tim Otter—C of I’s director of foundation and corporate relations—as well as Hartwell, who received a similar grant last year. The funds will go toward research, script development and performance of his show, including a public reading next year in Boise.

Ladies First is a solo play in which Golden will portray many of the First Ladies of the United States of America as well as a young museum curator who has an interest in the presidential wives. In addition to the public reading, Golden hopes to put on a stage performance that will travel around the Treasure Valley, including shows on the C of I campus.

“It was an idea that came to me when I was co-writing and performing my last sabbatical project, The Krumblin Foundation, with my Fool Squad partner, Tom Willmorth, in 2010,” Golden said.  

In addition to his popularity with C of I theatre students, Golden is a well-known presence on the Idaho theatre scene. He often acts in or directs local commercials, plays and short films, where he gets to “practice what he preaches” in the classroom. Golden enjoys connecting C of I students and alumni with acting opportunities and, until this past summer, he and Willmorth enjoyed a 22-year run performing in the “Greenshow” opening act at the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. But for now, his focus is on developing Ladies First—which won’t be the first time he’s portrayed a woman in front of the audience.

“The Shakespeare Festival gave me some experience wearing a dress,” Golden said. “I’m pretty good at walking in pumps.”

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit