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Biography: Dale King, Oxtales assistant director

Dale King was born January 27, 1975 to Gladys and Cyrus King in San Diego, California. Cyrus King was a career Navy man who had spent his childhood in Oxford, Mississippi. His parents still reside in Oxford. While stationed in San Diego, Cyrus moved his family to be with him and established a permanent home.

Dale was the youngest of four children, with an older brother and two sisters. He was comfortable being the "baby" of the family, except he found it a bit smothering to have three older siblings watching over him as well as a mother and father.

Cyrus King loved to garden and year-round grew enough produce to provide his family with more than enough squash, eggplant, lettuce, tomatoes, pole beans etc to feed them as well as their friends and neighbors. His gardens were so prolific that they kept Mrs. King busy finding creative and appetizing ways to use the produce so it would not go to waste. Fortunately, she enjoyed the challenge, as well as cooking, and passed this love to Dale. Both of these interests served Dale well when he went on to college and needed extra income.

When Dale was in the fifth grade he participated in the San Diego City Schools' program in Balboa Park. The students from all over San Diego attended school for a week in the park. Specially trained teacher aides took small groups around the park, acquainting them with flora and fauna, architecture, the museums, and the Globe Theatre. When Dale discovered the Globe Theatre, he was hooked. He became so entranced with the performing arts that he auditioned for a Junior Theatre production of "Babes in Arms" and was surprised to get a part in the chorus. He immediately applied for entrance to the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts that accepted 6th grade through high school students who were enrolled in the city schools. Luckily his elementary school was a "feeder" school to SCPA so he was able to enter without being on the long waiting list.

Dale's family was delighted with his acceptance to the school. His brother, sisters and parents were proud of his accomplishments and encouraged his participation in the many school productions although this required an adjustment of the entire family's schedule.

When it came time to apply for admission to a college or university, Dale decided to apply for entry to the University of Mississippi. He figured this would give him a chance to attend college far from home and family while he benefited from an excellent theatre arts curriculum. He had the added benefit of grandparents living close enough to dispel the concerns of his family that he was so far away.

While at University of Mississippi, Dale found part time work at the Garden Center. He kept up his interest in gardening and cooking so when he found a house with a yard he planted a vegetable garden. He supplied his friends with produce or invited them to his house for dinner when he'd cook things from his garden and guests would bring other dishes. He especially liked the challenge of growing things not easily grown in Mississippi. At Your Service Catering was impressed by his cooking skills so hired him on many occasions when he wasn't working at the theatre or the Garden Center.

Dale had a reputation as a loner. Even with his participation in many social situations, his friends knew he would silently seethe when angry or annoyed. That is, instead of confrontation, he was more apt to pout or become moody, quiet, cool and distant. Once exposed to this behavior, friends and acquaintances often kept their distance rather than confront him when they sensed he was angry. This intensified his lone wolf reputation and in turn did nothing to restore his good nature.

Dale majored in theatre arts at Ole Miss, receiving a BFA, and continued for his MFA in Stage Management. There he met Andrea Stover, and became interested in the Oxtales Theatrical Group through her participation in the group. He became increasingly interested in the staging of productions rather than performing in them so when Oxtales had an opening for an assistant director he applied for and was given the job. At first he really enjoyed the work, but as time went on and Andrea's productions became more and more blatant and sexually explicit, he found he preferred less controversial plays. He discussed this with Owen Norris, the main backer of Oxtales, but found Owen was so devoted to Andrea's work, he wouldn't authorize a change in the direction of the theatrical group. Before Andrea's arrest, it was Dale's job to take care of the details and make her vision happen. For example, he was responsible for getting permits and insurance to stage public performances, dealing with the press, kowtowing to patrons and assuring them that their funds were being put to good use despite controversy. Dale felt his own creative talents were wasted.

When Andrea was jailed for her direction of "Snopes," Owen offered the Directorship of Oxtales to Dale who accepted it eagerly. During Andrea's eighteen-month absence Dale was able to redirect the focus of the group and staged a production "Black Boy in the Closet" that brought critical success rather than just notoriety. Although Dale hoped he would retain his position when Andrea was out of jail, Owen offered the job once again to Andrea and Dale was back to his job of assistant director.

Although Dale had been involved with Snopes, he accepted the plea bargain offered him by the prosecutor and escaped with a fine of $1,000.00 and 100 hours of community service. His service was to help needy families establish community gardens and teach them to grow, harvest and use the crops to supplement their incomes. The hours spent on community service affected his income because he couldn't spend as much time at his jobs outside Oxtales.

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