Paul Nicholson is executive director emeritus of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, having held the position of executive director from November 1995 until his retirement in December 2012. As OSF’s executive director he was responsible for all management aspects of one of the largest and most complex professional theatres in the United States, including strategic planning, budgeting, fundraising, public relations, marketing, education programs, human resources, and board relations. From 1980 until 1995, Paul was General Manager of the Festival.
A New Zealander, Paul was for six years the Administrative Director of Downstage Theatre, New Zealand’s largest and longest-established professional theatre. Prior to becoming involved in professional Theatre, he worked for ten years in the corporate world as a planning manager, management accountant, and systems analyst.
Paul has a B.C.A Honors (the New Zealand equivalent of an MBA) from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. He was the recipient of a New Zealand Arts Council grant to review theatre administration in Australia (1979) and has been a guest lecturer at Stanford University, University of Oregon, Mary Baldwin College (Staunton, VA), Southern Oregon University, Victoria University of Wellington, the New Zealand Insurance Institute, the New Zealand Department of Trade and Industry, the Oregon Educational Media Association, and the BC Touring Council for the Performing Arts. In the United States, he has acted as a management consultant for many non-profit organizations, including the Oregon Ballet Theatre, the William Inge Festival, Roanoke Island (Lost Colony) Historical Association, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Tudor Guild, the Southern Oregon Historical Society, Britt Festivals, the Health Care Coalition of Southern Oregon, and Rogue Opera.
He was a founding faculty member of the Western Arts Management Institute and since 1984 has been an Adjunct Professor at Southern Oregon University. In 1991, he was featured in the PBS series on management, “Nothing Ventured.” He has also served on a number of panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Theatre Communications Group. He is a recipient of Concordia University’s Vero Nihil Verius Award for Distinguished Achievements in the Arts and was recognized as one of Oregon’s 50 Great Leaders by Oregon Business Magazine. He is also a recipient of the Burbage Award from the American Shakespeare Center and the Mark R. Sumner Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Outdoor Drama. Paul received the Southern Oregon University’s President’s Medal in 2006.
Active in community affairs, Paul is a past Chair of the Ashland Community Hospital, Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition and La Clinica Boards, is a past-president and past assistant governor of Rotary, has served on the boards of the Theatre Communications Group and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, and has participated in many local committees and boards.
Paul is married with three children and five grandchildren who are scattered all over the globe. He and his wife Cathy love to travel, and have visited more than 40 different countries. He is an avid gardener and occasional golfer.