WCT Bids Farewell to Managing Director Evan Klassen - Western Canada Theatre

Western Canada Theatre’s Board of Directors announces the departure of Managing Director, Evan Klassen. After four years as co-leader of Western Canada Theatre (WCT) through many successes and challenges, Evan will be taking on a new role as Executive Director at The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, starting August 2022.

“It is with mixed emotion we say farewell to Evan as the Managing Director of WCT. His tremendous contribution since his arrival in 2018 was significant and will undoubtedly be a big role to fill,” says Beverley DeSantis, WCT’s Board President. “During Evan’s time with us, the organization has seen greater financial stability, standardized operating procedures, and enriched internal programs. Evan has been a confident leader as we dealt with structural issues at Sagebrush and the devastating effects of COVID on the theatre sector. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we wish Evan much success in his new role and are extremely happy to know that Kamloops will remain his home for the foreseeable future.”

Coming to WCT from his hometown of Winnipeg, Evan brought his diverse background of skills in theatre administration, stage management, policy development, venue operations, and arts advocacy to the WCT leadership team. While at WCT, Evan also contributed to the local, provincial, and national arts ecology through volunteer roles with the BC Arts Council, as Treasurer with the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), the BC Interior Community Foundation, and with the Kamloops Centre for the Arts Society. Prior to his arrival at WCT, Evan served as Director of Artistic Operations and Production at the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, as Board Chair for the Seven Oaks House Museum, as well as sitting on the boards of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, the Winnipeg Arts Council, and Manitobans for the Arts.

“I’m going to miss Western Canada Theatre and the Kamloops community dearly. The memories built over the past four years at WCT will be treasured for years to come,” says Evan Klassen, WCT’s outgoing Managing Director. “I’m immensely proud of all that WCT has undertaken, the strong team we have built, the new Indigenous and Canadian works that have premiered here, and all the artists, staff, artisans, and volunteers who have lent us their talents. I’ll be leaving the organization with a clear path for the year ahead, a soon-to-be-newly-minted strategic plan, and in the capable hands of our Artistic Director, James MacDonald, our skilled senior leadership team, and my future successor, who will boldly bring this organization forward, together.”

During Evan’s tenure, WCT delivered four successive budget surpluses, retired the accumulated deficit, built financial reserves to ensure future stability, and grew the annual operating budget to $3.1 million. Building local, provincial, and national partnership with various cultural organizations, Evan helped raise WCT’s profile across the country—including through WCT’s critically-acclaimed national tour of GLORY. A strong proponent for the Kamloops Centre for the Arts and the modernization of current facilities and infrastructure, Evan’s impact on the organization will be felt for years to come.

“Through his hard work, creativity, financial acumen, and passion for theatre, Evan has made an indelible mark on Western Canada Theatre through several challenging years, and leaves the organization in outstanding shape,” says James MacDonald, WCT’s Artistic Director. “He has been a terrific arts leader in our city and a wonderful partner in leadership at WCT. We know he’ll have tremendous success in his next role, and we wish him well.”

The Board of Directors has struck a hiring committee that will commence the search for WCT’s new Managing Director in the coming weeks. Details of the recruitment process will be announced soon.

With thanks and gratitude, the WCT Board of Directors wish Evan, his partner, and their dog the very best in these new endeavours and look forward to possible future collaborations between The Grand and WCT.