Updated: Nov 2
Jerry Mandel, president of Irvine Barclay Theatre, will leave his position at the end of this year. The announcement was made today.
Craig Springer, Irvine Barclay Theatre’s executive vice president, will become president on Jan. 1. Mandel will continue to support and advise the theater and will serve on its board of directors.
Mandel is a veteran Orange County arts administrator. Prior to his appointment at the Barclay, he was president of the Orange County Performing Arts Center (now the Segerstrom Center for the Arts) from 1997 to 2006.
“Jerry dedicated his career to elevating performing arts and education throughout Orange County,” said Irvine Barclay Chairman Bob Romney in a statement released today. “He changed the face of philanthropic support for the performing arts during his time leading Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and then as President of the Barclay.”
In an interview with Culture OC, Mandel, 83, said he’s not retiring, but moving on to other challenges and interests. An accomplished jazz saxophonist who performs locally, he’ll devote more time to his craft.
“I’m in good physical shape. My mind is good. I’m playing the best music I’ve ever played. I’m happy and curious to see what the next chapter in life is.”
Mandel said he will also stay engaged with the Irvine Barclay Theatre.
“I’m going to do two things: be on the board as president emeritus, and chair the capital campaign so we can build a plaza and upgrade (the theater). I’m also going back to UCI where I started years ago as senior advisor to the vice chancellor of development. I’ll be helping with a number of new projects there.”
Mandel spent two decades as an academic administrator in higher education, including serving as vice chancellor for University Advancement at UCI. He has enjoyed a busy life as an institutional arts leader over the last 25 years that was interrupted by a period of retirement – but not for long. He came back to work in October 2015 to take the helm at the Barclay, a venue that opened on the edge of UC Irvine’s campus in 1990 but had fallen on hard times, according to Mandel.
“The Barclay wasn’t in good shape when I came. Now we are in good financial shape, and the building has been completely redone: new HVAC, new seats, paint, carpeting, sound system. And, finally, new lights. They had the original lights in there, which they don’t even make anymore.”
Mandel is proud that the Barclay also fared well during the pandemic. “We came out of COVID strong financially. Our fundraising and ticket sales are way up. We have a solid donor base. We’re one of the most solid performing arts venues in Orange County from a financial standpoint.”
Mandel feels he’s reached a natural turning point. “I’m very pleased with what I accomplished. I’m happy to turn over the day-to-day to Craig Springer. We’re fortunate to have him. I think there’s a time when you’ve done all you can do and you pass it on.”