Bill Millerd, Artistic Managing Director of the Arts Club Theatre Company.
Bill Millerd, Artistic Managing Director of the Arts Club Theatre Company.

The lights will soon fade to black on Bill Millerd‘s 46-year career with our city’s largest professional theatre company.

Millerd, who started with the Arts Club in 1972, announced last year he would leave at the conclusion of the company’s current, 54th season. While Millerd’s career doesn’t come to an end until July, with productions of Mamma Mia! and Once, he will be honoured in a one-night only tribute on March 4.

Appropriately titled To Bill, with Love, the honours will revisit many of Millerd’s achievements, tied together with musical highlights from hit shows such as Company, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, and Billy Elliot. The evening will include performances from a wide range of Vancouver theatre artists who have called the Arts Club home over the years.

“There are so many people who want to honour Bill, it’s been difficult to pare it down to a one-evening event,” says the show’s writer, Deborah Williams.

Proceeds from the event will support the newly established Bill Millerd Artist Fund. The fund will provide artists of all kinds, including designers, directors, actors, playwrights, stage managers, with a scholarship to hone their craft, and further their skills.

“We know that theatre depends on artists developing their craft and on the kind of new voices that we want to have on our stages. Setting up this fund goes a long way towards ensuring that future,” says Millerd of his legacy fund.

Since joining the Arts Club over four decades ago, Millerd oversaw the construction of four theatres, and produced over 600 plays, including over 120 Canadian works, and 80 premieres. During his tenure, Millerd directed over 100 of those productions.

Appointed to the Order of Canada in 1993, Millerd has received numerous awards over the years, as well as an honourary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of British Columbia.

Following an international search, Ashlie Corcoran was announced as the company’s new artistic director. Corcoran recently announced her inaugural season for the Arts Club.

To Bill, with Love will play the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage on March 4. Visit http://artsclub.com for tickets and information.