Nao Tsurumaki Named Executive Director of Garden Theatre in Winter Garden

Nao Tsurumaki Named Executive Director of Garden Theatre in Winter Garden

Nao Tsurumaki, who launched his theater career in Central Florida 16 years ago, has been tapped to lead Winter Garden’s historic Garden Theatre into the next decade as executive director.

After an extensive search to replace former executive director Alauna Friskics, who now runs Orlando Fringe, the Garden Theatre Board of Directors said that Tsurumaki would begin his leadership role July 10.

A native of Japan, Tsurumaki has fond childhood memories of attending theatrical performances with his mother, Yoko and wanting to know all about what happens “behind the curtain.”

A former general manager of the Orlando Repertory Theatre and executive director of Children’s Chorus of Washington in Washington, D.C., Tsurumaki is eager to grow the already-successful Garden Theatre as its 10th anniversary season approaches.

“I’m delighted to see Garden Theatre thriving artistically and financially – it’s become a key player in this arts community,” Tsurumaki said. “What the board and the staff did in the last 10 years is remarkable, and I’m honored to join the team in this anniversary season and to provide leadership into the next decade.”

Garden Theatre of Winter Garden will celebrate its 10th anniversary during the 2017-18 performance season. Originally built in 1935 as a single-screen cinema, the theatre was the first in Central Florida built for “talkies” and was a gathering place for locals to watch the latest newsreels and films of the day.

The building was restored to its former glory in 2008, and the 299-seat Garden Theatre, with a current annual budget of nearly $1.5 million, has grown to a performing arts center with extensive programming that includes professional live theatre, concerts, dance, special events, movies and a thriving summer camp and arts education program.

Visit or contact 407.877.4736 for details about the 2017-18 season. Garden Theatre is located at 160 W. Plant Street, Winter Garden, FL 34787.

About Michelle Snow

Michelle is the owner and editor of CitySurfing Orlando. She also owns, is a freelance writer specializing in travel and entertainment, and has authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. She lives in Orlando near Disney, and hears Magic Kingdom fireworks every night.
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