Executive director Paul Nicholson retires from Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Paul Nicholson

After 32 years at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, executive director Paul Nicholson is retiring, the festival has announced. Nicholson started at OSF in 1980 as general manager and then succeeded Bill Patton as executive director in 1995.

The company has hired Greg Kandel of Management Consultants for the Arts, based in Stamford, Connecticut, to begin the search for Nicholson’s replacement.

“I have been blessed to work for more than 30 years with an extraordinary group of professional artists, artisans and administrators at the Festival,” Nicholson said in the company’s press release. “Their fierce commitment to putting the best possible work on stage and to creating a company that ranks as one of the premiere theatres in the United States has been a constant inspiration to me. But it’s now time to step back and hand the reins over to someone who can forge a new partnership with Bill, the leadership team and the Company.”

Nicholson’s tenure as executive director was marked by several important events, including the opening of the New Theatre, the hiring of Bill Rauch to succeed Libby Appel as artistic director (Appel began as artistic director the same year that Nicholson began as executive director) and keeping the company moving forward during the past decade, when the economy as a whole has been hit hard. Many other large national arts groups have had to make major cuts in their programming in the past few years, and the Shakespeare festival has not.

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