We’re so thrilled to have David Byrd join us as our new Managing Director. David attended graduate school at Yale School of Drama and has held management positions at various arts organizations, including American Dance Festival and Westport Country Playhouse. Most recently, he served as the Managing Director at Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville, TN.
We wanted to get to know David a little better, so we sat down with a list of questions. Check out his answers below:
So tell us what your job here at Virginia Stage is all about.
I'm the Managing Director at VSC which basically means I oversee the business side of our operation. First and foremost, though, I'm a champion of our mission and have made my career about supporting the work of artists and creating meaningful theatrical experiences for communities. A typical day may include negotiating an artist's contract, budgeting, collaborating with marketing & development colleagues and meeting with members of our incredible Hampton Roads community.
Tell us a little about yourself...
I grew up in neighboring North Carolina. After attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I was fortunate enough to help start a non-profit theatre in downtown Greensboro, in a converted Montgomery Ward department store. The theatre, Triad Stage, is still thriving today.
Before working at Virginia Stage, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
In high school, lo those many years ago, I was at one point a custodian and another, a leasing agent for a self-storage company. Although I don't particularly miss either, I have great respect for the many skills other professions employ.
What would people never guess you do in your role?
Well, when I was a General Manager at a professional theatre company in Greensboro, NC, I had the "pleasure" of emptying an elevator pit full of water due to a malfunctioning sump pump. I haven't called on those skills since. but you never know what each day will bring. I'm actually fond of how no two days are the same in our industry.
Are you messy or organized?
I'm a very organized person - both personally and professionally. However, I'm feeling a little less than organized in my office right now but onboarding is always a hectic process.
Best vacation you’ve been to?
A 10-day tour through the Pacific Northwest always sticks out when I look back upon my most favorite travels. My husband and I loaded up a rented mini-van with dear friends - we nicknamed her VANna White - and explored areas none of us had ever seen. Lake Louise Banff National Park is simply stunning. We are looking forward to another trip with the same friends next summer - we'll be visiting The Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal.
If you could be anyone from any time period who would it be and why?
In Knoxville, we owned an 1895 Victorian home. I did a wealth of research about the owners of the home throughout the years, including picture research. I would love to have experienced my home in its very first few years.
If you were an animal what would you be?
I'd probably be a rescue dog. And not just any rescue dog, but MY dog, Rosie. She has a great life, a retirement of sorts, and is as carefree and loving as they come. She's just the best.
People would be surprised if they knew:
I crochet. When I was a kid, my grandmother allowed me to stay up through the 11pm news if I would crochet with her - I obliged. And now, I can create a lovely scarf. But that's all.
What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?
Treat people with love and respect. We're all on this human journey together and have so much to learn from one another. We should hold hands more often.
What places have you lived?
Raleigh, NC | Greensboro, NC | Durham, NC | New Haven, CT | Westport, CT | Minneapolis, MN | Knoxville, TN
We look forward to the months to come as we continue to get to know David better and he gets to know of all us and you!