Our Team

/Our Team
Our Team2016-11-07T12:39:40+00:00

Susan Palmer

Principal. Susan is the former Executive Director of The Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA, where she led the board/staff team to produce and present programs, raise funds, do long-range planning, and lay the groundwork for a $21,456,002 restoration of the 100-year-old, architecturally-significant historic Colonial Theatre, dark for over half a century, and the 30,000 square foot adjacent annex building. The capital campaign included $6,265,322 in New Market and Historic Tax Credits.

Susan began her tenure with the Colonial in 1998 as a founding board member. She was a co-founder of Barrington Stage Company – a producing theatre company that recently won two Tony awards for The Putnam County Spelling Bee; managing director of The Berkshire Theatre Festival; Information Systems Manager at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; Director of Major Gifts at WGBY Public Television; and General Manager of CompuWorks, a systems integration firm in the Berkshires.

Susan has been on the faculty of Association for Performing Arts Presenters, a national service organization for presenting theaters, and has been a program presenter at the League of Historic American Theaters at their national conferences in Boston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, and New York City.

Sarah Sperber

Sarah_SperberThe arts have been always been the focal point of Sarah’s life. She was literally raised in a theatre. Her passion for the arts manifested in the study of many disciplines, and in 2009 she received a BFA from Maine College of Art. Since graduating with a degree in Metalsmithing and Jewelry, Sarah has created a clothing line and consulted with a prominent lingerie company to design a novelty connoisseur line. She also maintains a studio practice in ceramics and pottery and is a founding member of a successful aerial circus group, allowing her to bring to Palmer Westport Group perspective from both sides of the curtain.

With her undergrad thesis work greatly steeped in the concept of ritual, and the study of why people gather, it is no wonder she has found herself working to re-animate these architecturally and historically significant vessels that have provided communities for many generations the ability to come together. In her position as a Palmer Westport consultant, Sarah has presented at the LHAT National Conference in NYC (2014), and worked with many organizations nationwide to inspire transformational community impact. Projects she has worked on in this capacity include The Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville, PA, The Roxian Theatre, McKees Rocks, PA, Jacksonville Center for the Arts, Jacksonville, IL, The Columbia Theatre, Paducah, KY, The Princess Theatre, Decatur, AL, and 8 historic opera houses statewide in Iowa.

Juliet Sweeney

Julie_SweeneyAssociate Consultant. Born and raised in Conneticut, Juliet attended the University of Connecticut. She was immersed in the arts all of her life as both her parents graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. Throughout her school years, Juliet was very active in athletics and in particular training and showing American Saddlebred horses.

Most of Juliet’s business career has been in the banking industry, where she managed branch teller departments. But her love was for the Human Resource departments where she used her skills to help all level of positions learn how to sell products and interface with the public comfortably. With her husband, she owned and operated a successful restaurant in the business district of Portland, Maine for several years.

She currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband, Jack. They are ardent theater-goers, growing up with summer theater in New England, and attending theater productions in wonderfully restored theaters in the various cities they have lived in. As a couple they have enjoyed participating in many art and cultural activities all over the country and now have been blessed to be able to experience all that Santa Fe has to offer.

Surale Phillips

surale_phillipsSince 2002, our team has conducted research to help more than 100 non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. The company is led by Surale Phillips, who, before starting her own business, spent 13 years with a national consulting firm.  Her experience and innovative practice bring a fresh perspective to the arts and cultural field.  Her personalized approach to each project brings the best people and skills together to collect, analyze, and interpret data that helps clients thrive. The results have been stronger communities, more knowledgeable and better funded clients, and more sustainable programs and organizations.
Clients have included national, state, regional, and local cultural agencies; educational nonprofits; historic and heritage organizations; service organizations; performing arts presenters and facilities; museums and art centers; theater, opera, and dance companies; and a several foundations and special projects.


Simon Shaw

simon shawSimon Shaw, President, Shaw Entertainment – With 20 years of experience on both sides of the Atlantic as a booking agent, promoter, producer and director of programming, Shaw has a rare insight into the world of presenting live performing arts.

Growing up in London, Shaw’s eyes were opened to the commercial aspects of the business in 1994 as a tour manager traveling the UK and Europe for rock n’ roll bands. His work in booking and promoting artists followed soon after, taking him across the pond from a booking agency in London to New York and LA.

As an artist representative, Shaw has worked with:
• Derek Block Artists Agency, based in London.
• The Booking Group, a Broadway booking agency, based in New York.
• APA, a Los Angeles-based booking agency.
• Shaw Entertainment Group, for which he is the founder and president, opened in 2008.

As a programmer, Shaw works with a variety of venues as a consultant, including:
• The Colonial Theatre in Western Massachusetts
• Queens Theatre in Flushing, NY
• The Zorlu Center in Istanbul

Shaw also serves on the board and executive committee of International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) and is active in presenting and touring networks.
Shaw and his wife Emily live in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts along with their two daughters.
My favorite aspect of representing artists and working with presenters is finding the right fit. I thoroughly enjoy connecting the needs and opportunities within a venue with an artist who I know will be its ideal match. – Simon Shaw | www.shawentertainment.com

Kevin Sprague

KevinSprague112513.014BW 219pxsqKevin Sprague is the creative director and owner of Studio Two – a design, branding and marketing firm that helps organizations and businesses grow and thrive. He is particularly experienced at marketing and development strategies for non-profit organizations .

Studio Two has developed award-winning brands for regional economic development organizations including NorthWest Connecticut, The Berkshires, Massachusetts, and New England Foundation for the Arts. He has directed the marketing for Shakespeare & Company, Barrington Stage Company, Hancock Shaker Village, and many others.

His work with Palmer Westport Group includes consulting on the Roxian Theater in Pennsylvania, Barrington Stage Company and The Colonial Theater in Massachusetts, the Iowa Mainstreet Program and the Jacksonville, IL Center for the Arts.

Kevin is particularly interested in the impact that the arts has on communities and is a past chair and co-founder of the groundbreaking economic development organization Berkshire Creative.