Lars Hansen joins USC Jan. 8 as executive director of cultural relations. Hansen was formerly president and CEO of the Theatre League Alliance of Southern California (Theatre LA) and served for many years as executive director of The Pasadena Playhouse State Theatre of California.
“Lars has a well-earned reputation in Southern California as an outstanding arts administrator who is deeply committed to the arts and who knows how to bring people together in common cause,” said Martha Harris, vice president for University Public Relations at USC and president of USC Radio, home of Classical KUSC. “This is a newly-created position at USC, and we were looking for someone who combines marketing acumen with experience in the arts community of Southern California.”
The Office of USC Cultural Relations was created to increase attendance at public events on campus; to promote the University Park/Exposition Park community as an attractive, vibrant place to live, work and visit; and to foster collaborations between the university and other cultural institutions in Southern California. Hansen will maintain offices both on USC’s University Park campus and in downtown Los Angeles in the new headquarters of KUSC (to be located in the Manulife Building at Fifth and Figueroa in late spring 2001).
“I am deeply impressed with USC’s commitment to the arts through its new Arts Initiative and with the extraordinary quality of its arts schools,” Hansen said. “No other university in the country has this combination of quality in music, fine arts, architecture, theater, cinema and communications. USC has been shaping the arts in Southern California for 120 years and is clearly positioned to be a major player in the years ahead. I am thrilled to be part of this development.”
Hansen said that he has been impressed by the high priority given to the arts by President Steven B. Sample and Provost Lloyd Armstrong Jr. – and by the way the deans of the arts schools have been working together to advance the Arts Initiative. In addition, he said, he is looking forward to working closely with the management of Classical KUSC in developing KUSC’s arts agenda.
Jeffrey C. Brown, chairman of the board of governors for Theatre LA, said, “I know it’s a cliché, but it really is true that Theatre LA’s loss is USC’s gain. Lars Hansen is a gifted individual. He is a dynamic leader and a skilled motivator. Our organization was very fortunate to have him as its president and CEO. I am confident that our association with Mr. Hansen will continue for many years to come and that his passion for theater and the Theatre League Alliance will remain steadfast. We wish him well in his new endeavor.”
At Theatre LA, Hansen created on-line, day-of-performance, half-price ticketing, expanded the League’s membership program to include 180 theaters throughout Southern California, and launched a new arts magazine, LA STAGE.
Prior to Theatre LA, Hansen served for 12 years as executive director of The Pasadena Playhouse State Theatre of California, re-establishing the famed institution as a premier historic theater.
Hansen will continue to serve on the board of governors of Theatre LA and as co-chair of Arts for LA marketing committee, an ad hoc committee of arts leaders.
His experience as an arts administrator includes work with the California Music Theatre, the Aman International Music and Dance Company, the Playwrights Horizons in New York City; the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia and Long Beach Civic Light Opera. He recently taught a graduate seminar in theater management at USC.