Executive Director Ray Cullom Joins Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment at New Istanbul Performing Arts Complex
Robert Nederlander, Jr, President and CEO of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, announced today the appointment of Ray Cullom to the position of Executive Director of the ZORLU CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, a major new multi-venue performing arts complex set to open fall 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Mr. Cullom joins Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment at a very exciting time for the organization. As Executive Director, Mr. Cullom will oversee the programming and operation of this new state-of-the-art mixed-use development, consisting of a 2300-seat main stage, and an 800-seat Drama theatre, and will be among the largest (50,000 sq. meters) and most technologically advanced performance venues in the world. The Zorlu Center for the Performing Arts is part of the 3 billion dollar Zorlu Center complex consisting of high-end retail and signature restaurants by the world's best-known chefs, luxury residences, and a Raffles Hotel.
Mr. Cullom brings over 20 years experience in the worlds of Theatrical producing, venue management, and programming across all genres, and most recently served as Executive Director of the Queens Theatre, where he was awarded 2013 Business Person of the Year by the Queens Chamber of Commerce, and the Queens Theatre recognized as the 2012 Top Cultural Institution of the Year in New York City, Prior to his work with Queens Theatre, Mr. Cullom served as Managing Director of the Tony Award-winning Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, and during his tenure oversaw a fiscal and organizational turnaround from a structural annual deficit and steadily decreasing patron base to consecutive years of operational surpluses and stable growth of the Theatre's audience. Prior to Long Wharf, Mr. Cullom worked as an Executive Director and Producer with Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment at the Bethesda Theatre in the Washington DC-Area, and in General Management, and as Director of Sales & Marketing with NETworks Presentations, where he worked on the national touring productions of Broadway hits such as Rent, Ragtime, Fosse, Kiss Me Kate, and Oklahoma!. Mr. Cullom began his arts management career as General Manager and later Managing Director of the historic Theatre Row complex of five Off-Broadway Theatres on 42nd Street in New York City, a project of the 42nd Street Development Corporation. He holds an AB in Anthropology from The University of Chicago and pursued his MFA in Directing with The City University of New York. Mr. Cullom is married to the former Ms. Meryl Sachs, a brilliant performer and Arts Educator.
"Ray brings an enormous amount of relevant expertise and proven management ability to the position, and will be a great asset to the project as we pioneer a new concept in venue management and entertainment programming in Istanbul, Europe's youngest and fastest growing major city" said Robert (Bob) Nederlander, Jr. He added "Ray's unique mix of experience both on the production and the venue side will serve this project very well. Along with the excellent local staff we have assembled in Istanbul, he will lead what will very quickly become one of the most important performance venues in the world".
"It's hard to believe that Istanbul, this incredible 4,000-year old seat of history and culture does not yet have a major performance venue like this, and I believe the entire worldwide Arts community has been waiting for a project like this to happen here" said Mr. Cullom. He added "The response we have received so far has been overwhelming - from artists, agents and producers the world over. Our soon-to-be-announced programming will run the gamut from multi-week engagements of major Broadway titles, to the top Dance and Classical artists in the world, to family and international attractions, with a healthy dose of local Turkish and regional star performers that we hope to be able to shine an international spotlight on".
Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment, LLC ("Nederlander Worldwide"), founded and managed by Robert Nederlander, Jr., a third generation member of the Nederlander entertainment family, develops, manages and operates theatres worldwide, produces Broadway and related shows in domestic and international markets and undertakes cultural educational initiatives. The Nederlander family of companies has been a major force in the live entertainment business for nearly 100 years. Their expertise covers the gamut of theatre management and operations, along with all facets of live entertainment, including ticketing, management, promotion, marketing, and advertising.