Paul Nicholson assumed the position of Executive Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in November 1995 and is responsible for all management aspects of the largest professional theatre in the United States. He joined the Festival in 1980, serving as general manager for 16 years.
A New Zealander, Paul was the Administrative Director of Downstage Theatre, New Zealand's largest and longest-established professional theatre, for six years. Prior to becoming involved in professional theatre, he worked for 10 years in the corporate world as a planning manager, management accountant and systems analyst.
Paul has a BCA Honors degree (the New Zealand equivalent of an MBA) from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. He has been a guest lecturer at Stanford University, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Oregon, the Oregon Educational Media Association and the B.C. Touring Council for the Performing Arts, and is a frequent speaker at the Oregon Nonprofit Leaders conference. He has consulted with many U.S. arts organizations, including the William Inge Festival, Musical Theatre Festival in Auburn, Roanoke Island (Lost Colony) Historical Association, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Southern Oregon Historical Society, the Rogue Valley Symphony and Britt Festivals. Paul is actively involved in arts advocacy efforts for the state of Oregon and currently serves on the Board of the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition.
He was a founding faculty member of the Western Arts Management Institute and in 1984 became an Adjunct Professor at Southern Oregon University. In 1991, he was featured in the PBS series on management, Nothing Ventured. He has participated on many panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Theatre Communications Group (TCG).
Active in community affairs, Paul has served on many local committees and boards and is a member and prior director of Rotary. He chaired Ashland Community Hospital's board of directors and was a member of the board of directors of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. On the national level, he served for many years on the board of TCG.
2012 marks his 33rd season at OSF.