Pedro M. Silva, longtime artistic and managing director of the now-defunct N.C. Shakespeare Festival, died Friday night.

Silva died at age 71 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the High Point Enterprise reported.

Funeral services have not been announced.

The festival, a nonprofit organization that was known as NCShakes for short, operated in High Point for 37 years. Silva became the festival’s public face.

Since its start in 1977, the festival had produced at least one play each fall by the 16th- and 17th-century English playwright. Each holiday season, it presented a popular production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

In 2010, it launched Festival Stage, an affiliated theater company in Winston-Salem.

But in many years, it struggled financially. In 2014, those struggles finally prompted the festival to end operations.

Silva said then that he was “heartbroken” by its difficulties.

“My desire now is to express deep thanks to the many people and institutions that have valued the festival’s service,” Silva said by email after the closing announcement. “I wish I could embrace and express gratitude to each and every one who purchased tickets and donated funds that supported our service in High Point for more than a generation.”

Local theater directors expressed sadness at Silva’s death.

Mitchel Sommers, former longtime executive director of Community Theatre of Greensboro, described Silva as “humble and hardworking and kind.”

Silva was the first person to help CTG have nice-looking sets, built by his team in High Point, Sommers said.

“I will always be so grateful to him for that kind of support,” Sommers said. “It taught me the meaning of partnership and collaboration.”

To Preston Lane, who co-founded Triad Stage in Greensboro with Richard Whittington, “Pedro was a friend and a colleague to Rich and me as we created Triad Stage.”

“He was a legend in the North Carolina Theater community and all of us at Triad are so deeply saddened by the news of his passing,” Lane said.

, Triad Stage producing artistic director. “Pedro’s impact on the arts in the Triad is a powerful legacy.”

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Dawn Decwikiel-Kane is a reporter for the Greensboro News & Record.

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