Obituary: Calvin Rand

Calvin Rand. Photo: Shaw Festival Calvin Rand. Photo: Shaw Festival

Born into a wealthy banking family, well connected in business and a practising professor of philosophy, Calvin Rand was also one of the most prominent and influential figures in Canadian theatre.

Together with the playwright Brian Doherty, in 1962 he co-founded the Shaw Festival in Ontario to celebrate the work of George Bernard Shaw. As its chairman, he led the rapid development of the company into one of Canada’s leading producing houses and expanding its operations to include touring throughout North America.

He also oversaw the building of its new, 856-seat home, which was opened to much fanfare by the Queen in 1973. Its opening season also saw visits by the then prime ministers of Canada and India, Pierre Trudeau and Indira Ghandi.

A noted philanthropist, he funded a range of arts organisations, including the Studio Arena Theatre and the launch of the now established Irish Classical Theatre in his home town of Buffalo, New York.

In 1971, he founded the influential international think tank the Niagara Institute and served as president of the American Academy in Rome from 1979-83, during which time he was credited with overturning a serious deficit.

Calvin Rand was born on May 15, 1929, and died on December 31, 2016, aged 87.