Artistic Director Spotlight: Greg Henderson, Centre In The Square

This month, we focus our Artistic Director spotlight on to our very own Programming Manager, Greg Henderson. Since joining The Centre in December 2013, Greg has been expanding what The Centre has to offer through a diverse line-up of talent. We chat with him about his personal favourites and what he has envisioned for the future as he announces his first line-up for The Centre.
Q: What attracted you to a career in the arts?
A: My background started in sports where I learned that it wasn’t for me. It was, however, a turning point for me.  Sports, like the arts, is an industry that brings people together in a community to provide a sense of place, quality of life and social cohesion. I just enjoyed arts way more than sports because it’s more intimate in comparison.
After that I worked at a music agency, which really helped in creating a knowledge base and network of content with some of today’s best artists.  I have seen over 5000 shows and can quickly tell a genuine artist from someone who may not be as focused.
I made the move to go in to the promotional side of the business and worked as a programming associate at Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall where I would see some of the greatest artists in our time. It was followed by programming the Rose Theatre in Brampton, which finally led to my current position at Centre In The Square.
Q: What attracted you to the region?
A: I moved to the region for a myriad of reasons. One of the key reasons was living in a place that has an enjoyable pace, followed by an incredible opportunity to program an awesome venue. That, and the fact that we have a wonderful little boy, plus a dog, cat and many fish and needed the space to house them all.
Q: What are your personal musical tastes?
A: My favourite artists would have to be Death Cab for Cutie and Noel Gallagher, along with comedians Chris Rock and Demetri Martin. I have a very strong connection with emerging artists, especially Canadian artists. I think that Joel Plaskett, Alvvays and July Talk are amazing artists.
Q: Was there any moment in your career where you got to meet your favourite artists? What was the experience like?
A: I prefer to remove myself from meeting my idols or other artists. You never know what you’re going to get on any given day, and artists have a lot of things going on for them and you can’t always understand it. I don’t want to break the magic or mystique of the performer. Instead I like to take a step back and enjoy the show. I think that’s the most important part.
However, it can sometimes be great – Joel Plaskett is a great example. He wowed me, along with Mo Kenney. He had everyone eating out of the palm of his hand at the show, and he had the audience standing up, which is not the normal at an OnStage show. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had so far – and it was extra special because I enjoy Joel’s music.
Q: If there was anyone dead or alive that you would love to showcase at The Centre, who would it be?
A: I would love to have Janice Joplin. Among the more contemporary (and still alive) artists, it would have to be Death Cab for Cutie.
Q: What is your vision for The Centre’s programming line-up?
A: My vision is to make The Centre a premier home for diverse programming that encourages the creation, appreciation and understanding of the arts.  I want to nurture a vibrant arts community that fosters artistic excellence and bring people together for powerful shared experiences that inspire a creative exchange of ideas.

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