Familiar face takes leading role at Fortune

New Fortune Theatre general manager Nicholas McBryde and artistic director Lara Macgregor at a...
New Fortune Theatre general manager Nicholas McBryde and artistic director Lara Macgregor at a rehearsal of Calendar Girls which opens at the Fortune tomorrow. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Former Otago Festival of the Arts director Nicholas McBryde has been appointed general manager of the Fortune Theatre.

He replaces Jeremy Smith, who resigned last month to take over as manager of Olveston.

"I've worked in the performing arts most of my career and I've been in the Dunedin performing arts since 1988, so it is a serendipity thing, really," Mr McBryde said yesterday.

"I've seen the theatre fluctuate and this a very exciting time, as it's on a wave. This theatre has moved forward exponentially in the last two years, through putting in place a strong artistic structure.

"There's a very passionate and committed team here and it's exciting to be part of that. I'm just going to look and listen. But I will be hitting the ground running, as I've worked in every department of a professional theatre and have empathy and sympathy for every part.

"There's a great culture here and my previous experience should be a huge advantage. I'm hoping it will be a seamless transition. he said.

"It's very exciting. We should celebrate being the world's most southern professional theatre and having such an enthusiastic and supportive catchment."

Mr McBryde (55) was born in Mosgiel, but grew up in the Cook Islands after his family moved there when he was an infant.

After training in performance violin at the University of Canterbury, he managed the Canterbury Opera Company in 1985 and 1986 and the Dunedin Sinfonia from 1987 to 1992. He has also sung opera, danced with the Southern Ballet Company, was the Court Theatre marketing manager and even performed on the Fortune stage, during the 1984 production Footrot Flats - The Stage Musical.

He is probably best known for his long-serving role as founding director of the Otago Festival of the Arts, during which time it never lost money.

Fortune artistic director Lara Macgregor said it was an exciting appointment for the theatre.

"There's no doubt Nicholas is very passionate about the arts and has a strong relationship with funders and sponsors through his role with the arts festival," she said yesterday.

"We're thrilled to have him aboard and very excited about the upcoming season."

Mr McBryde starts on Monday.

The Fortune releases its 2013 season on December 3.





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