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Evan Klassen is the New Executive Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

April 30, 2024

Evan Klassen is the next executive director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Canada’s oldest English-language regional theatre, where he began his career.

Evan Klassen
Klassen replaces executive director Camilla Holland, who announced in late 2023 that she would be stepping down after 13 years.

For over 65 years, MTC has created and produced extraordinary theatre, positioning itself as the hub of creativity. This stability over time has inspired artists and provided the foundation for programming in two downtown venues. MTC has also created and supported significant festivals, including the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival and a regional tour.

Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
Klassen joins forces with MTC artistic director Kelly Thornton, who embarked on her tenure in 2019 after her successful stint at Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre.

Originally from Winnipeg, Klassen joined the Grand Theatre in London, ON., as executive director in 2022. Reflecting on Klassen’s short tenure, the Grand’s president of the board of directors, George Kerhoulas, said, “Evan led the organization to new subscription and sales strategies and created new and exciting patron perks. In partnering with our new Downtown Community Partner, Old Oak Properties, it is easier than ever to plan a night downtown at the theatre with free parking for all Spriet Stage season subscribers.”

Klassen, the treasurer for the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, has worked across Canada and is glad to be returning home. “Winnipeg is home. It’s where my family is from, and my partner’s family, and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre is the theatre where I started out and built my theatrical career, making this a natural homecoming.” Adds Klassen, “I’m excited about this next chapter, and yet also find it bittersweet, not to have more time here at the Grand with this beautiful theatre in this close-knit community, with the Grand’s fantastic team, and seeing more world-class theatre come to life on the Grand’s stages.”

The Grand Theatre
The Grand has a successful track record of international co-productions and collaborations, including “Once” in 2017, “Room” in 2022, and this season’s “Clue” which was a co-production with the MTC.

Rachel Peake
Rachel Peake, artistic director of the Grand, highlighted how these collaborations bring great Canadian stories to the stage, “allowing the country’s best and most brilliant to collide creatively,” thus providing these productions a longer life on more stages, adding that she looks forward to continued collaborations with colleagues in Manitoba in the years to come.

“Evan’s experience as an empathetic and collaborative arts leader has seen us through ongoing recovery and renewal, and he has worked tirelessly with our team to create the best theatre, right here in London. We are extremely grateful for the impact he has made on our organization in his time with us.”

The Grand’s leadership team and board of directors will unveil their new strategic plan before Klassen’s departure in July.

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Evan Klassen is the New Executive Director of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

Keith Tomasek
30 April 2024
News and Rumors

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