Theatre manager back where she started

Mary Desprez was recently appointed general manager of TheatreOne. Desprez got her start in 1984 when TheatreOne was known as Shakespeare Plus.  - Photo Contributed
Mary Desprez was recently appointed general manager of TheatreOne. Desprez got her start in 1984 when TheatreOne was known as Shakespeare Plus.
— image credit: Photo Contributed

After three decades, Mary Desprez is back with the company that launched her career.

“It’s really good to be back,” Desprez told the News Bulletin.

Desprez was recently appointed as TheatreOne’s new general manager, after her predecessor, Daurel Neve retired earlier this year.

“It is kind of cool to come back and take on the responsibilities of a GM.”

The appointment takes Desprez full-circle. In 1984, Desprez was managing the box office, bar and front of house for TheatreOne, which at the time was known as Shakespeare Plus.

After working for a couple years there, Desprez became the general manager at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, where she worked for nearly 25 years.

“It’s a great job and helping the artists tell great stories is a real thrill,” Desprez said.

During her time at the Belfry, Desprez oversaw multiple campaigns, which raised a total of $5.5 million and went towards renovations on the building.

As general manager, Desprez is hoping to use her experiences in Victoria to help grow TheatreOne.

“Growing the company is the goal and that is something that I enjoy doing,” she said. “Working towards growing the budget, growing the company so that the artistic director can chose to do more shows, we can employ more artists, more production people, more carpenters, build up the staff ... that is the longer-term goal.”

Desprez is hoping the Port Theatre’s proposed Community Performing Arts Centre, which includes multiple rehearsal spaces available to the community, is approved.

“That is really exciting. I am hoping that it goes forward. That would be a huge asset to Nanaimo and certainly thrilling for TheatreOne to be a part of that,” Desprez said. “Right now rehearsal venues are very challenging to find for a lot of the organizations, so it will be a central focus, if not all, for most of the performing arts in Nanaimo.”

Twitter: @npescod


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