Shane Fernando chosen as new CEO of Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts

Shane Fernando chosen as new CEO of Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 6:37 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:39 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Board of Trustees at Historic Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts (THCPA) has chosen Shane Fernando as its new chief executive officer, effective Jan. 2024.

WECT interviewed Fernando at the studio to discuss his new position.

Shane Fernando chosen as new CEO of Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts

Fernando stated that he is leaving the Wilson Center to take on his new position and his last day at the Wilson Center is Jan. 1. THCPA made the announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

“I am humbled by the Community’s trust in me to take the reigns of our beloved Thalian Hall. I am so excited to be coming home,” Fernando said in a statement to WECT.

He will be building upon the work of former Executive Director Tony Rivenbark, who worked at the THCPA for 42 years.

Shane Fernando has served as the vice president of advancement and the arts at Cape Fear Community College as well as the executive and artistic director of the Wilson Center.

“Fernando is a well-known and highly respected, visionary leader with unparalleled executive leadership experience who has been serving in the public and arts administration fields for over twenty years. With his strategic acumen, coupled with a deep understanding of and passion for the arts, the new CEO will play a pivotal role in navigating THCPA through the ever-changing landscape of the performing arts, our community, and stewardship of Historic Thalian Hall in collaboration with our community partners,” a Thalian Hall announcement states.

Fernando previously served at UNC Wilmington as Director of Campus Life Arts and Programs and taught in the UNCW Department of Communication Studies. He currently serves as a Trustee for the Historic Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts and is also the programming consultant for the Hall.

“I am humbled to take the reins of one of the oldest and most cherished historic theaters in our nation, our beloved Thalian Hall,” Fernando said. “For over 165 years, she has captured the hearts of generations, including my own. It was life-changing to have my first experiences as a technician and performer on her stage over 30 years ago and to learn so much from my dear friend and mentor, Tony. As we look forward to our crown jewel, Thalian Hall’s next chapter, I am honored to be coming home to be a part of building her future. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the community for its trust and faith in me for this responsibility.”

THCPA also extended appreciation for Interim Executive Director Rob Zapple while THCPA was searching for a new CEO.

“We are thrilled to welcome Shane Fernando as our new CEO,” said Terry Espy, President of the Board of Trustees of THCPA. “His proven leadership and transformative approach will undoubtedly steer Historic Thalian Hall toward even greater success. We have full confidence in his ability to drive innovation, preserve Historic Thalian Hall, and lead THCPA to achieve new milestones.”