December 7, 2018


Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) today announced that Richard Evans of cultural advisors, REĂ Consulting, has been engaged to assist with the search for the Company’s new Chief Executive. Outgoing Chief Executive Lester McGrath has resigned to take up the position of Executive Director at the Royal New Zealand Ballet and will leave ATC at the beginning of next year, having led the company for nearly twelve years.

An appointment is anticipated within the next six months and the incoming Chief Executive will commence planning for the 2020 season with Artistic Director, Colin McColl.  

Chairman, Gordon Moller said, “The Board is determined to find the best possible candidate while ATC undergoes its next period of development and growth as it examines its evolving role from a theatre producer to a producing theatre.

“Since the opening of the ASB Waterfront Theatre in 2016, the Company has commenced curating a diverse range of works created by both ATC and other organisations for the people of Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland,” Moller said.

Under McGrath and McColl’s stewardship, the company has gone from strength to strength. Not only does ATC now produce theatre of the highest standard, it runs a literary department and creative learning programme that is regarded nationally, and employs over two hundred actors, creative personnel and production staff per annum.

In 2018, the company presented seven mainstage works, performed six new works, conducted 68 workshops in schools across Auckland, held eight playwright workshops, and ensured 5489 students attended a show. ATC has a broad audience base and is the most successful producer of theatre in Auckland, supported by a wide range of stakeholders, partners and donors.

McGrath led the company in a tireless campaign over an eight-year period, fundraising $36 million to build the 675-seat ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter ATC now calls home.  

“It has set the standard for what audiences expect from a theatre going experience; a place that is welcoming, contemporary and accessible. The company is left in a very strong position to manage the transition to new leadership as it negotiates a new path in the management and running of our new venue.

“We wish Lester well on the next stage of his career in Wellington. He leaves big shoes to fill, and finding his successor is a key priority for the Board,” Moller said. 

Share on social