Palco Specialties, Inc.
Phillip May and Allan Ross are the founding "PALs" of "PAL"-co. The original business, started in '97, began with friends who had a mutual interest in restoration of turn-of-the-century houses, refinishing and collecting antique furniture and a tie with theatre. The business would be a great way to put together a lot of cool woodworking tools, help out a couple of friends who couldn't find anyone to build their UIL sets, and get out of the house for a while on the weekends. A couple of friends needing sets, turned into many friends of friends, and suddenly there was a need for a bigger shop, more equipment and more part time help.
After meeting with people at TETA and working with people at UIL, it became obvious that there was a need for a full time business that specialized in making UIL Set pieces, that could offer a consistently top quality product with good turn around time; one that could accept purchase orders and give 30 day pay. So PALCO grew. Another bigger shop, still more equipment and full time employees made it possible to get the product out quicker, easier; and we were able to lower prices on several of the more time consuming products.
Combining Phillip's early background in manufacturing and experience gained in 20 plus years with a paint and structural coatings manufacturer with Allan's training and experience in theatrical design and 30 plus years in educational, professional and community theatre (he was, until 2007, Director of Theatre, San Antonio College) has produced a nice balance of creativity and practical business. Phillip's school days interest in community theatre was set aside to raise a family and build a career, but was never far away, as he was called in on a regular basis to design and build sets, props and even make costumes for his wife's dance school and his daughters' different dance and theatre projects over the years.
In 2000 we grew again and became a corporation, with Phillip and Allan as president and vice president. Jo May was added as secretary of the corporation, doing pretty much the same job as she had for years. Working in the theatre department at San Antonio College for ten years, first as student then as employee and later as volunteer gives a new meaning to the title "assistant to the director", when the director is the Director of the Theatre Department of a college of over 22,000 students. It means assistant to everybody. From janitor to secretary; from costumes and props to rehearsals and choreography; from proctor to authoring teacher training aids and expert paint brush cleaner, Assistant to the Department is mostly doing whatever is needed and being "gopher". Pretty much the same job as wife, which is the title she has held for over 30 years as Mrs. Phillip May. "Gopher" for PALCO means getting to meet lots of really interesting people, and sometimes even means driving the delivery truck, if the real truck driver already has a load going somewhere else.
With our new facilities and staff, we are able to offer the same quality we have strived for all along, with the fastest turn around time and best customer service in the business. See references.
Beginning Fall 2001, we started publication of Spotlight on Theatre Arts, a newsletter intended to be a place for Theatre Arts teacher and Administrators to share their experience and ask for expert advise on Educational Theatre issues and interests. Our resident columnists Allan S. Ross and Jim Mammarella can answer almost any question on theatre in general or UIL OAP in particular. If we don't know we'll try to find out for you. The newsletter is in its infancy now, but will grow as educators bring their issues and concerns to the front, and experienced teachers begin to share their wisdom with new teachers and those who like to try new ideas to keep their programs fresh. Guest writers from the theatre community will address topics of interest that you ask for. Spotlight has been out of print for several months, because our readers have been to busy to be contributors. We are trying to get up and going again, with your help and contributions of advice and information. The newsletter is on hiatus right now, but Jim and Allan are still answering your questions, and making suggestions.
PALCO became the authorized dealer for Theatre Arts Video Library, in 2002 and our customers are offered a 10% discount when they order through PALCO. See some of the most popular videos here on our site or go to http://www.theatreartsvideo.com for the complete catalog.
In 2007 we added a second smaller shop just west of San Antonio to handle the over-flow and to keep up with orders.
Under the direction of Allan S. Ross, PALCO Specialties is hosting Theatre Workshops for teachers and for students. Contact Allan S. Ross for information about organizing a workshop for your area, or participating in an upcoming seminar.
When Allan came to San Antonio College as a speech and theatre instructor, scenic designer and technical director he planned to stay three years and move on to a large university. But he fell in love with San Antonio and with the theatre department. Forty years of teaching college theatre students later (28 of them as Director of Theatre at San Antonio College) finds Allan right in the middle of theatre scene, still right here in San Antonio.
One of the founders and the artistic director of the Summer Repertory Company, Allan is currently on the board of directors of San Pedro Playhouse, San Antonio Theatre Coalition, Alamo Theatre Arts Council as well as PALCO Specialties, Inc.
Alan started his theatre education at Marshall University in West Virginia (BA), then on to Louisiana State University (MA). Somehow with teaching, directing and community theatre involvement, he did 37 hours of post graduate study in theatre, continuing his education at Southern Methodist University, and Texas Tech. University as well as the Lessac Institute and graduate study in London. Back here in Texas he continued his theatre study at Texas Tech University, Directing Colloquium, Trinity University and Texas State University.
Allan Ross began acting professionally in 1960 working in outdoor theatre in West Virginia, playing 6 small roles that first season. Later, he returned to play the lead. Several years later Allan was asked to originate the role of Randall McCoy in The Hatfields and McCoys at the same theatre.
Mr. Ross continues to act in San Antonio, as a guest artist with The Firelight Players, The University of the Incarnate Word and is a well known name in the Theatre Community of South Texas, having appeared in scores of productions, with many of them earning recognition by his fellow actors, directors and local theatre patrons. His 16 Globe Awards, to date, are spread among his work as an actor, as a director and as a scenic designer.
The ATAC Council was originated in 1990 for the purpose of administering an award process and presentation to recognize, honor and celebrate excellence and achievement in live theater. That means many of his more than 100 productions directed, more than 150 productions designed, and 100 productions as an actor, were before these presentations began.
Allan has been resident director of the Plaza Dinner Theatre and La Hacienda Dinner Theatre and was the director of the Childrenís Opera Series for the San Antonio Symphony. He has kept pretty busy in a leadership role in our theatre world. He has held the position of President of the San Antonio Theatre Coalition (two terms) President of the Alamo Theatre Arts Council (two terms) He has, in the past, served on the Board of Directors for Firelight Theatre, Music Theatre Inc., and Texas Educational Theatre Association (three terms). He has been Chair of the TETA Committee for Academic and Production Standards, Chair of the Community College Section of TETA and Chair of the College and University Section of TETA.
Mr. Ross has been honored by The Texas Educational Theatre Association by being selected as Educator of the Year for Community Colleges, and was also given the TETAís highest award, The Founderís Award. In 1991, he was selected to represent San Antonio College as the Minnie Piper Stevens nominee, and was given The NISOD award for teaching excellence. Allan is especially proud to have been honored with The Alamo Theatre Arts Councilís highest award, The Jasmina Wellinghoff Award for outstanding contributions and dedication to theatre in San Antonio. Allan also received a second NISOD award and the Yellow Rose of Texas Award for teaching excellence.
Allan still feels his biggest honor was winning the hand of his lovely and talented actress wife, Terri Pena Ross, and his biggest success, with a little bit of help from Terri, their two wonderful daughters Amy and Meghann. Now Allan gets to add another title and play a new role, that of proud grandfather. Congratulations, Allan.
Jim Mammarella has been an educator for the past 34 years, 32 of them with San Antonio College. He was recently the chair for the UIL Adjudicator's Organization and has been judging one act play contests for over 20 years. He has been selected several times to judge the UIL State Contest, and will be judging state again in 2008. Jim was awarded the Educator of the Year Award by TETA in 1999 and also received the Educator of the Year Award from the Texas Intercollegiate Forensics Association. He has received national recognition (The Service Award) from Phi Rho Pi.
Mr. Mammarella has conducted numerous workshops and seminars at state and national conventions, and has been a guest presenter in theatre workshops for UIL, TETA, TSCA, TJTCA, and in many communication workshops.
Jim has directed numerous productions at San Antonio College (including children's theatre), but is also a free lance director in the San Antonio community. He has received eight Globe Awards for Best Director and Best Production. His productions have been recognized as "Best Productions of the Year" by the San Antonio Express for 9 out of the past 10 years.
Jim is happily married to his wife Leigh, and they have raised three children whom have all graduated from college! He has a little time to compete in Master's swimming and track, in which he has won local, state and national awards.
Although Jim is not officially affiliated with PALCO Specialties, we depend on his advise, his expertise, and value his friendship. He volunteers his time to help our customers and theatre friends, and keeps us up to date on UIL rules and changes. Thank you Jim for sharing your love of the craft with so many, for no personal benefit. "What he does for love."