The Grand Theatre in London, Ont., announced Thursday that after 22 years, Deb Harvey will step down as executive director at the end of the 2021/22 season.
Harvey says the announcement gives the board plenty of time to complete the search for a new executive director and also allows her “the opportunities to say hellos and goodbyes.”
“I will continue to give my whole heart to this organization until my last day, and truly anyone who knows me knows how proud I am to work here and proud of the work we do and the value we add to our city.”
Harvey arrived in London from Nova Scotia 22 years ago on a six-month contract to a theatre that was at risk of closing due to financial debt, the Grand says, and “has stewarded the Grand to 21 years of surplus.” The only deficit the Grand had under her leadership was last year as a result of the pandemic.
“Deb’s record of fiscal leadership is unmatched but is only part of the story of Deb Harvey,” says Anita Shah, president of the Grand Theatre board of directors.
“She has formed meaningful and impactful relationships with government and business leaders, staff, artists, volunteers and patrons.
“She has contributed in many ways to her ‘new’ hometown, from volunteer positions on the boards of Tourism London and Downtown London, and her unwavering support that the Grand be a ‘teaching’ theatre, ensuring our mentorship of students and apprentices.”
Harvey most recently led the Grand’s multi-million dollar renovation, describing the project as “making room.”
“I imagine folks might have surmised that I was referring to ‘making room’ for the next executive director, so my leaving will not come as a surprise,” Harvey said.
“Our industry is calling for change. At the Grand, as we re-open post-COVID, we talk about telling new stories and hearing new voices. Some of those new voices need to be those of new leaders.”