Vancouver Fringe Festival executive director David Jordan has announced he's going to leave his position after this September's event (September 7 to 17).
After 12 years at the helm of the theatre fest, he's moving on to become the arts services manager for the City of Burnaby, a position that includes overseeing the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, fests at Deer Lake Park, and more.
A search for his replacement is already underway. Applications are apparently being accepted until August 9, with a new executive director to be announced in October.
Here's part of what he had to say in a letter announcing his departure to Fringe fans today:
"I'm looking forward to working with the excellent team there to continue nurturing Burnaby's flourishing artistic activities. Despite this exciting portfolio, it was a very difficult decision to make—my personal and professional life and indeed my identity have become intentionally and lovingly entwined with Fringe.
"As perhaps was painfully obvious in my first couple of years at the helm, I was on a steep learning curve! My success was only possible during that time because of the support I received from the entire Fringe community. Over the past decade we have built a resilient and forward looking organization that cultivates theatre and theatre artists and invites a curious audience to share in the excitement of theatre incubation.
"In making my decision, at first I had a hard time imagining myself outside of the Fringe. Others in my close circle have told me that they can hardly imagine the Fringe without me. But of course, the Fringe is so much bigger than me. I have been a steward, a shepherd, and a nurturer, but this beautiful mission of cultivating participation in theatre existed before and will carry on after me. Indeed the mission existed in our community before the Fringe organization was born to fulfill it.
"So come September we will embrace each other once more and the Fringe will wrap us in its embrace. And together we will embrace a new future, one full of possibilities. The Fringe has momentum. Over the past year we have focused on laying the ground work for an exciting new diversity strategy, which I expect will shape the future of the Fringe. Other year-round initiatives like Theatre Wire continue to evolve and grow to build our community beyond the Festival.
"I am extremely confident in our board of directors and the process they have outlined for my succession. They have established an excellent search committee, which includes representation from the wider community by SFU’s Howard Jang as well as Fringe veteran, Tara Travis. The job posting is live, so please share with anyone you think could be the next leader of this special place!
"Being the Fringe’s Executive Director has been infinitely rewarding. I began my job in 2006, thinking I was an event producer. I leave it in 2017, knowing that I am a community leader. I learned everything I know about arts leadership because you gave me this opportunity and accepted me wholeheartedly. I know that my Fringe life will continue to inspire and guide me for the rest of my life. Thank you a thousand times."
Under Jordan's reign, the fest, launched in 1985, has grown to encompass more than 500 volunteers supporting more than 700 performances and attracting over 40,000 attendees; it is now B.C.'s largest theatre festival. Jordan has also overseen the launch of projects like the ticket-selling project Theatre Wire in 2015, the addition of a site-specific program at the Fringe, and the beginning of some year-round programming of shows presented by the Fringe. Jordan also served for seven years as the president of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals. He also started several career-development awards for Festival artists, via partnerships with groups like the Cultch, the BC Touring Council, and Playwrights Theatre Centre.