Winter Memorial Planned for Sarah Nash Gates, Former UW School of Drama Executive Director

Winter Memorial Planned for Sarah Nash Gates, Former UW School of Drama Executive Director

A memorial service for Sarah Nash Gates, former Executive Director of The University of Washington School of Drama, is planned for Monday, February 1 at 6pm at Meany Hall, located on the west edge of the University of Washington campus. The service is open to the public.

Gates, 66, had been battling brain and lung cancer. She passed away on December 4 surrounded by family and close friends at her Seattle home.

Most recently, Gates had been serving as Interim Divisional Dean of the Arts, coming out of retirement to do so. But, Gates made her greatest mark as Executive Director of the UW School of Drama, serving in this role for more than twenty years while also teaching costume design and costume history to generations of UW students who will continue to benefit from two endowed funds she created in the School of Drama - The Sarah Nash Gates Endowed Graduate Student Support Fund and the Sarah Nash Gates Endowed Production Support Fund.

Beyond Seattle, Gates was nationally known as an expert in professional theatre training and a talented costume designer. In the course of her long professional career, she designed for 5th Avenue Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Opera, and Pacific Performance Project. National venues that featured her work included the Denver Center Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pennsylvania Opera Theatre, the Aspen Music Festival, and Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Gates served as president of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) from 1991-1994. She was the first woman and the first costume designer to hold that office. Gates also served three years as President of the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA). In Seattle, she was a founding board member of Theatre Puget Sound and also served on the board of the 5th Avenue Theatre.

Gates was raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree from the University of California and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Boston University. Prior to coming to the University of Washington, Gates taught at SUNY-Fredonia and Stephens College.

Gates enjoyed riding horses and sailing and spent part of every summer at her family's cabin in Maine. Gates became an avid Husky fan and, despite her abiding loyalty to the Boston Red Sox, was a Seattle Mariners season ticket holder for many years.

Gates is survived by her brother, Steven Gates (and his wife Lauren) and her sister, Ann Gates O'Toole (and her husband Thomas), as well as three nephews and one niece.

Donations in her honor may be made to the Sarah Nash Gates Endowed Graduate Student Support Fund or the Sarah Nash Gates Endowed Production Support Fund at the University of Washington. For information, go

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