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Banff Centre hires Chris Lorway as new CEO

“What I love about it is not only seeing performances come to life on stages, but working with bringing artists together, tying in that whole notion of using a space like Banff for opportunities around leadership.”
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Chris Lorway, photo by Joel Simon

BANFF – With the departure of Janice Price, who is returning to Toronto to focus on board service and consulting work, the Banff Centre has found its new CEO in Chris Lorway.

Born and raised in Cape Breton, Lorway has most recently served as the executive and artistic director of Stanford Live in California, which features more than 200 performances and events across four primary venues.

Heading back to Canada is something Lorway is looking forward to.

“It is a bit of a homecoming coming back to Canada and I can’t think of a better place to return to,” Lorway said. “I am an avid skier, so I am looking forward to being in an environment that provides that. I grew up in a small town on the east coast, so I am used to Canadian winters and small communities.”

While Lorway is now moving toward his new role as Banff Centre CEO, he originally looked at a career in performance.

“After my undergraduate, I decided to pursue an education degree and at that point of time thought I would return to the east coast,” Lorway said. “When I was there, I started to work with some friends in college to work on the administrative management side of the business and that led me to pursue a master in arts administration.”

Prior to his role with Stanford Live, Lorway was the director of programming and marketing for Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. He was also the first artistic director of the Luminato Festival where he co-commissioned nearly 50 new works from Canadian and international artists.

Through his work, Lorway finds a great deal in many aspects of his career.

“What I love about it is not only seeing performances come to life on stages, but working with bringing artists together, tying in that whole notion of using a space like Banff for opportunities around leadership.”

He has also worked extensively with Indigenous artists, which is something he is looking to continue in his new role.

“A big part of my career has been working with Indigenous artists,” Lorway said. “So, when you overlay the Indigenous leadership program and the Indigenous arts program, there are so many amazing opportunities to really be a thought centre for advancing a lot of new things in Canada and internationally.”

Lorway will officially take over the new position on April 10, 2023. In the past, he and Price have often crossed paths in their careers.

“When I learned of the board’s decision to appoint Chris Lorway, I was pleased that the CEO succession process had resulted in an appointment of someone with Chris’ warm and engaging personality and global experience,” Price said.

Prior to taking over though, he will make a few trips to Alberta to get things in order for his new job.

“I am going to come up a couple times to do some meetings,” Lorway said. “There is a week that I will spend in the middle of March, meeting with staff and getting my lay of the land.”

Overall, he is excited to be working back in Canada, but it will take an adjustment as he reacquaints himself with the Canadian way of doing things.

“The Canadian context is so different from the American context,” he said. “When you look at that difference, even the funding models we rely on are very different. It is retraining my brain a bit.”

As his new position begins, he will also look at how he can improve things, while learning from what has worked well before.

“What I want to focus on is getting to know programs. We are in a rebuilding phase now, so understanding what has worked in the past,” Lorway said. “What has been around for a long time that may not be working anymore. It is finding the balance that I really want to focus on.”

Moving into this new position, back into his home country at a place like Banff Centre, Lorway is mostly happy to be doing what he loves.

“I am excited,” he said. “My support of artists and my investment in the future of the sector is what brings me joy.”