A painted portrait of Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd upon his retirement from the Arts Club

A painted portrait of Artistic Managing Director Bill Millerd upon his retirement from the Arts Club Theatre Company. Medium - Oil on an aluminium hanging wall plaque.

The 73-year-old Millerd has run the Arts Club since 1972 — for 45 of its 54 years — building it into the biggest urban theatre in the country (excluding Ontario’s Stratford and Shaw festivals). He has overseen the construction or renovation of four theatre buildings, the production of more than 550 plays — 178 of which he has directed himself — and built a large and loyal audience for the Arts Club with more than 17,000 season ticket holders in 2016-17.

He has also hired, cultivated and in some cases discovered many of the country’s best known and most successful playwrights, directors and performers, among them Bruce Greenwood, Janet Wright, Joan MacLeod, Morris Panych, Brent Carver, Ann and Jane Mortifee, plus Anosh Irani, in addition to Fox, Buble, Cavendish and McCormack. It is a big year of change for the arts here in Vancouver with two of the cities most prominent Art leaders retiring, both Bramwell Tovey of the VSO and Mr Millerd of the Arts Club.

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