ASHLAND, Ore. – Paul Nicholson spent nearly 33 years of his life molding the Oregon Shakespeare Festival into what it is today. He plans to pass on his duties to a Missouri woman and hands her a firm foundation to start on after a successful season.
“When I first arrived here, the company was about 350 and now we about 600,” Nicholson says. “Our budget was 2.4 million when I first arrived, and this year it’s over 30 million, and attendance has double during that time.”
Now another change: a new leader. The current executive director plans to resign.
“There comes a time in life when you decide it’s time to retire and step back and hand over the organization to someone new,” says Nicholson.
Officials hired Cynthia Ryder from Kansas City to take over the reigns.
“Her big challenges will be just simply coming into a company that’s 4 times larger than what she’s used to and more complex,” states the current executive director, “but she’s very smart articulate and she’ll do a great job when she arrives.”
Paul Nicholson will continue as executive director until the end of this calendar year. The new executive director will spend the month with him in December and take over officially on the first of 2013.