Lester McGrath, Executive Director
Lester is one of New Zealand’s most experienced performing arts managers, having worked in New Zealand, Australia and the UK in a career that spans over thirty years. From 2007 – 18 he was General Manager and then Chief Executive of Auckland Theatre Company. During this time the company grew to become a flagship cultural organisation for Auckland. He also spearheaded the campaign to build the 675-seat ASB Waterfront Theatre, which now welcomes over 120,000 patrons annually.
While most of his career has been in theatre, he has also presented and toured dance, concerts and commercial entertainment in venues across Australasia, and into the United Kingdom and United States. He was Theatre Development Manager at The Edge (now Auckland Live) from 1996 to 2001, and worked on the re-opening programmes for the Auckland Town Hall and The Civic after they were refurbished. He also worked with the major performing arts hirers of these facilities including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and New Zealand Opera. While at The Edge he also managed and promoted performances by a range of international artists including: Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, soprano Kathleen Battle, The Australian Ballet’s production of Manon, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Between 2001 and 2006 he was Senior Producer at International Concert Attractions Pty Ltd (Melbourne) and managed tours for Soweto Gospel Choir, the Treorchy Male Welsh Choir, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Pete Postlethwaite in Scaramouche Jones and Amanda Muggleton in Masterclass.