After three years at the helm of the region's premier performing arts organisation, Delia O'Hara is leaving Norpa. She took up the role of general manager at a time when the organisation was going through some growing pains, but says her replacement will find Norpa in a very health position, both financially and artistically.
There has been a significant increase in funding in the past three years and there will be a major renovation of Lismore City Hall by the middle of 2013.
The existing stage was limiting for some dance productions and she said after the renovations there will be the possibility of getting Bangarra, Circus Oz and the Sydney Dance Company to do shows.
"It's a great time for someone to be coming in, to take it to the next level," she said.
Delia is moving back to Sydney to take up a position with the entertainment union, the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance, but said working in a regional area had been hugely rewarding.
"You can really see the benefits of what you've done because you meet people in the street who have seen the show and they tell you how much they enjoyed it," she said.
Delia praised Norpa's board and said there was no other regional theatre company like it in Australia that was able to program such a high calibre of touring shows and also produce their own homegrown theatre. She said one of the biggest achievements had been the creation of the 'Generator' program which fosters local productions.
"Norpa's artistic director Julian Louis really activated that and I have been able to help him create new works," she said, mentioning Engine and Open House as two stand-out productions.
An upcoming production, Railway Wonderland, which will be staged at the Lismore Railway Station at the end of March, has been nearly three years in the making and Delia said she will be making the trek back to Lismore to see it come to life.
"There are lots more pots on the boil too," she said.
Delia said she will miss working with all of the staff and volunteers in the Norpa family, but was looking forward to her new role and new life in the big smoke. "You'll never make money making theatre, but it matters."
Norpa has now begun recruiting for a new manager.
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