Arts Club Theatre Company names Ashlie Corcoran new artistic director

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      Ashlie Corcoran, originally from White Rock and currently the artistic director of Ontario's Thousand Islands Playhouse, will be taking the helm of the Arts Club Theatre Company. 

      It will mark a huge shift at the theatre, where Bill Millerd has led the organization since 1972. He's announced he'll retire in 2018. Corcoran will take on her new role as artistic director here in October, to start programming the 2018–2019 season. 

      Corcoran will be taking over the artistic leadership of what now ranks as Western Canada's largest regional theatre, with the Arts Club having an annual budget of about $15 million and three repertory stages.

       “I’m thrilled to welcome Ashlie to the Arts Club as my successor this fall. Ashlie is an award-winning director with the ability to excite audiences whether she is directing large musicals, classical dramas and comedies, or experimental new work," Millerd said in a press statement just released by the company. "She is also passionate about new play development and education initiatives—two programming areas where the Arts Club has invested energy and resources for many years.”

      Corcoran has directed theatre and opera across Canada and internationally.  She trained as both a Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio intern and one of the Shaw Festival director interns for the 2009 season. She studied drama at Queen's University and then earned a master’s degree in directing at Goldsmiths College at the University of London. She also cofounded Toronto's Theatre Smash in 2005, a company known for premiering new plays. More recently, she opened the Shaw Festival’s 2017 season with the musical Me and My Girl.

      Corcoran took up the position at the Playhouse in Gananoque at the end of the 2012 season.

      “I am ecstatic to be joining the Arts Club Theatre Company, an organization I deeply care about, in a city that I love,” Corcoran said in the announcement. “I am excited to immerse myself in Vancouver’s cultural community, build on Bill Millerd’s phenomenal legacy, and collaborate with Peter and the Arts Club’s fantastic staff and board. My vision is for the Arts Club to be internationally renowned, driving the development of local theatrical talent and voices, while deeply engaging with its community, audience and stakeholders. This will be a homecoming for me—born and bred in White Rock, BC, I am thrilled to once again live in my home province close to my family. I can’t wait to get started!”

      The search process had upset some in the theatre community in Vancouver, who expressed concerns that there were no artists sitting on the selection committee.

      Check back to for more coverage as the Straight speaks with the incoming artistic director later today.