Rising Star: Nick Halder

Nick Halder in detail

Age: 40.

Job title/occupation/place of employment: Executive and artistic director, Grand Opera House.

Volunteer activities:

  • Commissioner/Chair, Arts and Culture Affairs Advisory Commission, City of Dubuque.
  • Adjudicator, Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards.
  • Adjudicator/guest artist, Iowa Thespian Festival.

Education: Bachelor of Arts, theater performance and design and production, University of Northern Iowa. Master of Fine Arts in theater arts, University of Arizona. Ph.D. in arts administration and acting/directing, Texas Tech University.

Family: Single.

Person most inspirational to me and why: My previous teachers because they showed me the possibilities and gave me the tools to be successful in life and my artistic career.

Favorite thing to do outside of work: Travel and attend arts and culture events.

One word to describe me: Dedicated.

What’s one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you: That I had the good fortune to study abroad twice, in Spain and Prague, Czech Republic.

Greatest fear: Disappointing people.

What’s the one thing you are most passionate about in your life: I’m passionate about providing experiences to people of all ages that demonstrate the value of the arts and how imperative they are to our everyday lives.

Nick Halder, Grand Opera House

Nick Halder is not a native Dubuquer, but he’s been a part of the community for roughly 15 years —most recently as the Grand Opera House executive and artistic director.

Previously, he spent seven years in Clarke University’s theater program as a professor and theater director. He also co-founded Rising Star Theater Company in 2009. He joined the Grand Opera House in May.

“The pandemic was dying down a little bit but obviously still something that was very much ongoing … (So we were) navigating how we respond to the pandemic and the ongoing issues that are still out there in terms of the viruses.”

The Grand, according to Halder, is the oldest community theater in the city with half a century of “rich arts and cultural history.” But that’s not to minimize the impact the community itself has on what they do at the Grand.

“It’s who we do our programming for,” Halder said. “It’s who’s in our programming. So the community and just volunteers in general are the lifeblood of the organization. I’m fortunate to be able to work with so many community members on a daily basis.”

That work is done through the Grand Opera House, as well as his community involvement, according to Beth Jenn, who nominated Halder.

“He has dedicated his life to helping and teaching others,” Jenn stated.

Halder’s contributions include: Serving on the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission; as a theater consultant for the Dubuque Community and Holy Family schools, as well as others in the area; and volunteering as an adjudicator for the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards.