Lighthouse Festival Theatre announces November retirement of Administrative Director Helen Wagenaar
Port Dover, ON. (August 17, 2018): After a 28-year career at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Festival Theatre and 25 years as the Administrative Director, Helen Wagenaar will retire in November.
Working with four Artistic Directors, it was under Helen’s leadership that Lighthouse grew to become one of the most successful theatres in Ontario with over 50,000 patrons each summer.
While carrying on the daily operations at the iconic 114-year-old building in downtown Port Dover, Helen also co-ordinated additions and renovations that included the new upstairs Long Bar, the downstairs lobby, a new rehearsal hall, new theatre seating and the new front entranceway completed just last year. Additionally, Helen lead the team when Lighthouse assumed management of Showboat Festival Theatre in Port Colborne in early 2013, coordinating countless details and paving the way for a successful opening just a few months later.
In the early years, Helen was responsible for publicity, sponsorships, bookkeeping, contracts and all the administrative details with a small group of three people. Today, eight full-time and numerous part-time staff create a team that bring live theatre to the community year-round.
“For over 20 years there has been one individual who has walked through the doors of Lighthouse Festival Theatre every morning with one goal in mind — to build something beautiful for Port Dover, build something strong for the community, build something that everyone can be proud of and call their own. Whether you enjoy live theatre or not you cannot deny that Helen’s years at Lighthouse will have a positive impact on the community both socially and economically for decades to come,” said present Artistic Director Derek Ritschel.
Board Chair Paul Morris praised Helen’s contributions to the theatre and the community. “Helen has skilfully turned Lighthouse Theatre into one of the finest and most respected professional summer theatres in our country. Her passion, loyalty, caring nature and absolute belief in theatre’s impact on people will be truly missed.”
Past Chair Shawn Swarts noted “Helen is a true professional, skilled, organized and a crucial component to Lighthouse’s success. I don’t know what we would have done without her during those formative years when the theatre was purchased and so beautifully restored and expanded. Helen rocks!”
“These years have been stimulating and rewarding. I am tremendously proud of my accomplishments and for leaving the building and the operations in top shape. Hundreds of colleagues, volunteers and board members over the years have supported the many improvements during my tenure – many of them have actually been involved as long, or longer, than I,” said Helen.
“I couldn’t be more pleased and confident with the team in place to move Lighthouse into the next era. I will definitely be cheering them on while enjoying this next phase in my life.”
With an ever-growing theatre season that now sees shows taking place throughout the year in Port Dover and also at Showboat Theatre in Port Colborne, Helen has mentored many young professionals in the skills of running a professional theatre.
The Lighthouse Board announced that Nicole Campbell will be the new Administrative Director starting this November. Nicole was hired by Lighthouse in 2014 as Publicist and has taken on increasing roles at Lighthouse and Showboat theatres. She also serves on the executive of the Ontario Summer Theatres organization and is involved in numerous community projects.
The Board noted that Nicole has been a key part of the team during the recent renovations and has a thorough understanding of the organization’s technical, artistic and financial needs. In welcoming Nicole to the top administrative position, the Board Chair said “we see a smooth transition and continued growth at Lighthouse under Nicole’s leadership.” Both the Administrative Director and Artistic Director report directly to the Board.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to evolve with this thriving organization that I am so passionate about,” said Nicole. “I am looking forward to working with our dedicated and vibrant team to drive further growth and build upon the theatre’s strong foundation.”
Release issued by:
Lighthouse Festival Theatre Board of Directors
Paul Morris, Chair
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Lighthouse Festival Theatre