Auckland Live Staff Spotlight: Glen Crighton

Auckland Live Staff Spotlight

Acting Director of Performing Arts

Published: Thursday 20 June 2024


Auckland Live just turned 10! As we mark a decade of bringing the city performing arts and events to create memories that last a lifetime, we will be highlighting the journeys of some of our amazing staff behind the curtain who make the magic happen. 

This week we meet Glen Crighton.

Please introduce yourself and your role at Auckland Live.  
Kia ora, I’m Glen and I am the Acting Director of Performing Arts at Auckland Live.  


What does your job entail?   
Managing the strategies and teams that facilitate the events across Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s portfolio of venues, specific to performing arts, experience events and activations. This includes content acquisition and venue hire, contract negotiation, budget oversight, and stakeholder management. I also currently oversee the Programming Team, who support and nurture the performing arts industry via artistic and audience development. 


Paint a picture of a ‘day in the life’ in your role.  
A lot of talking and a lot of meetings. I spend a chunk of my time connecting with different teams throughout Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, i.e. Operations, Finance, IT, Ticketing & Marketing, etc.  There is relationship management required with major hirers, presenters and producers.  Steering and supporting the Performing Arts team. Troubleshooting when required.  And being the face and voice of the Performing Arts rōpū within the Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s Lead Team. 


What’s your favourite thing about what you do?  
Getting to make decisions that result in positive outcomes for the performing arts industry and what we do at Auckland Live. Supporting and growing people and being a positive influence in the office.  


What’s an example of those decisions? 
Procuring/booking a wide spectrum of products that will increase and optimise the utilisation of our venues. Supporting and empowering the team to create new and exciting activations, events and festivals for the benefit of Aucklanders and New Zealand.  


What's the hardest thing about what you do? Was there a big transition from your previous role as the Manager of the Presenter Services Team? 
Transitioning from the practical to the paper. I’m thinking holistically across the entirety of Auckland Live, not just the team I was in. Representing that at a strategic level was probably the biggest challenge, especially coming from the practical churn of events.  


Do you have any highlights or special memories from the time that you've been at Auckland Live? 
Over my 24 years here I have been involved in various roles and had some hand in around 15,000 to 16,000 events. I enjoy the variety of what we do here, i.e. from running a cruise ship terminal to facilitating opera, ballet, musicals, fashion shows, theatre shows, protests, fan zones, exhibitions etc. I have seen or been a part of every type of event you can think about…and then something pops out that I may have never expected or dealt with before, for example, pole dancing competitions! But for me, there is one very clear highlight: meeting my partner Maree here, and then getting married in the best venue in the world – The Civic.   

From an events point of view, I have seen two of my bucket list artists here: Simple Minds and Icehouse. Other high points were seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company with Sir Ian McKellen playing King Lear and my favourite musical Jersey Boys.  But regardless of the event, I love the buzz of an opening night, the silence of an audience that is fully engrossed in the performance, and a standing ovation to a piece of brilliance. I also have plenty of great memories with current and previous staff that I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. Several of those staff have gone on to be leaders within our industry, which makes me very proud. 


You've been here 24 years, what were your roles that you were doing before? 
I started here in the role of Technical Coordinator (production management). Then our organisation decided to merge the function of Technical Coordination into Event Coordination, and so I was an Event Coordinator for six years, which gave me a comprehensive working knowledge of all parts of the business. From there I moved into the Commercial Producing role (booking and contracting), which evolved into what is now the Presenter Services team. I've been managing that team for the last 15-16 years.  


Are there any shows that you're looking forward to that are coming up? 
I'm excited about the potential of the next eighteen months. We've got a lot of things cooking across different genres, musical theatre in particular, and we’re exploring opportunities with promoters and presenters that will bring more products to Auckland. I’ve just come from a meeting just now about some exciting stuff that we are looking to produce next year – the future looks bright. 

Shows and events Glen is looking forward to:

Be the first to know about live events in Auckland!