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Patrick O'Leary - arts commissioner, creative producer and theater EDI advocate.

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Meet Patrick O'Leary

Meet Patrick O'Leary: theater and arts commissioner, creative producer, and tireless advocate of equity, diversity, and inclusion. With a heart that beats to the rhythm of the theatre and a mind that strategises like no other, Patrick has spent over four decades infusing the arts with his unyielding passion and visionary leadership.

It was great hearing a deep dive into how Patrick is using theatre for change, especially in helping those with dementia. It was equally great finding out the choices he made when having his fantasy cultural year created.

Patrick O’Leary pursued this passion for the arts with vigour, earning a BFA in Design and Technical Theatre, as well as a BFA in English and Theatre. These foundational years were not just about learning; they were about envisioning the transformative power of theatre.

Patrick's career kicked off with an impressive 23-year tenure as a Production Stage Manager. His journey took him to the illustrious stages of Broadway with productions like "Annie," "Sweeney Todd," and "Blood Brothers." He orchestrated the intricacies of national tours, regional theatres, and even PBS productions, proving his mettle in every aspect of theatrical production.

Transitioning into leadership roles, Patrick served as the Director at Columbia Artists Management, Inc., and Programming Production Manager at Ordway Music Theatre. His knack for reducing costs, boosting productivity, and enhancing revenue streams became legendary. He was not just managing productions; he was transforming them.

From directing TDF Adventures in the Arts to leading the Black Hills Community Theatre, Patrick's visionary leadership shone brightly. At Minneluzahan Senior Citizen's Center and Somerset Court, he brought the arts into the lives of diverse communities, enriching their cultural landscape. His stint at Advantage Solutions showcased his ability to manage large teams and complex events with finesse.

Patrick's love for teaching saw him as an Adjunct Professor at Black Hills State University. Here, he introduced non-traditional students to the magical world of theatre, nurturing a new generation of thespians and artists.

As Managing Director, Patrick's strategic planning prowess came to the fore. He crafted new grant writer positions, secured substantial funding, and increased website traffic through savvy marketing. His efforts saved the organisation significant sums, proving his expertise in financial stewardship and program development.

In 2016, Patrick founded O'Leary Consulting for the Arts, LLC, a beacon of hope for artists and arts organisations. Through strategic planning, resource development, and philanthropic counsel, he helped them realise their visions. His consultancy became synonymous with growth, innovation, and artistic excellence.

With About Time Productions, Patrick harnessed the power of theatre to spark social change. His expertise in non-profit management, production, and strategic planning laid the groundwork for thought-provoking musicals that tackle critical social issues. ATP became a platform for dialogue, empathy, and a shared sense of humanity.

Patrick's commitment to the arts is reflected in his memberships with Theatre Makers Studio and Theatre Resources Unlimited, as well as his certification in Producing by the Commercial Theatre Institute. A lifelong learner and avid social networker, he continues to connect with people and share his undying passion for the arts.

In the grand tapestry of the arts, Patrick O'Leary is a master weaver, threading together creativity, leadership, and a deep commitment to social justice. His journey is a testament to the transformative power of theatre, and his story is one of inspiration, dedication, and relentless pursuit of artistic excellence.

You can reach Patrick on LinkedIn here.


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