Grand Theatre Announces Appointment of Evan Klassen as Executive Director
June 16, 2022 – London ON – The Board of Directors of London’s Grand Theatre is pleased to announce that after an extensive, nation-wide search process, Evan Klassen has been appointed as the Theatre’s Executive Director. Klassen, an experienced and driven arts leader, will assume his new position effective August 29, 2022.
“Over the past year, our search committee undertook and completed a broad review of many qualified applicants through an intentional, comprehensive, and collaborative approach,’ says Anita Shah, President of the Grand Theatre Board of Directors. “Amongst several strong candidates, Evan clearly stood out as a strong and inclusive leader, who is dedicated to the arts, has keen financial insight, and holds remarkable vision to enhance the already-excellent reputation of the Grand – both within our community and beyond.”
Originally from Winnipeg, Klassen has held a variety of leadership roles in the arts and culture sector, including most recently as the Managing Director at Western Canada Theatre. Prior to this, he was the Director of Artistic Operations and Production at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. A steadfast advocate for the arts and volunteerism, he also holds senior roles on numerous boards and foundations, including: British Columbia Arts Council (Council Director), Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (Treasurer), Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society (Board Director), and the BC Interior Community Foundation (Board Director).
“Within theatre communities across the country, the Grand is highly respected for its quality work, excellent facility, and outstanding artistic and administrative leadership,” remarks Klassen. “I am thrilled to be joining the Theatre at this pivotal time in its history, and look forward to building upon the strengths, successes, and the strong foundation laid down by the Grand’s current executive and artistic directors.”
In June 2021, after over 22 years of exceptional leadership with the Grand Theatre, Executive Director, Deb Harvey, announced her retirement from the Theatre.
Shah reflects: “Through her remarkable business acumen, dedication to the arts, and incredible foresight, Deb continuously challenged the status quo at the Grand – never satisfied with anything less than extraordinary. She has left an indelible mark on our Theatre, and the Board is deeply grateful for the legacy she has left us. It is a legacy that we are confident that Evan Klassen will honour and grow.”
About the Grand Theatre – World Curious. London Proud.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Dennis Garnhum and Executive Director
Deb Harvey, the Grand is a leading cultural hub located in the heart of downtown London, Ontario. The Grand offers diverse, relevant, and original stories from around the globe through collaborations with national and international performing arts organizations and is committed to developing, producing, and premiering original stories through its COMPASS New Play Development program. The Grand supports educational programming through initiatives like the High School Project and Subsidized Student Matinees. The Grand completed a $9.5 million renovation to its lobby spaces and backstage areas in Fall 2021. After the cancellation of its 2020-21 Season in June 2020 due to the global pandemic, the Grand officially reopened its doors in November 2021.