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Press Release: Scottish Ballet announces Christopher Hampson as new Chief Executive

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Scottish Ballet announces Christopher Hampson as new Chief Executive



The Board of Directors of Scottish Ballet today announced the appointment of Christopher Hampson as its new Chief Executive. Christopher joined the company as Artistic Director in August 2012 and has been instrumental in developing the artistic vision of the Company. In March this year, he was appointed as Acting Chief Executive after the former Chief Executive/Executive Producer, Cindy Sughrue, stood down. He will take up the new position of Chief Executive / Artistic Director immediately.


Announcing Christopher Hampson’s appointment, Scottish Ballet’s Chairman Norman Murray said: ‘I am delighted that after a very thorough review of the organisation the Board is  confident that Christopher’s sound leadership skills, strategic and artistic vision will ensure the company continues to go from strength to strength. We look forward to working with him and his team, following one of the most successful years for Scottish Ballet in recent history’.


The Board also announced that Scottish Ballet will immediately begin the recruitment process for an Executive Director who will sit on the Board, report to Christopher Hampson and strengthen the senior management team with a clear focus on strategic vision and commercial success of the organisation.  


On his appointment Christopher added ‘I am delighted to be invited by the Board to become Chief Executive/Artistic Director of Scotland’s national dance company. We have an extremely dynamic, dedicated and talented team at Scottish Ballet and I look forward to further developing the creativity and reach of the company. We are defined by our art, vitality and sense of innovation and I look forward to working closely with the Board to maintain and enhance Scottish Ballet’s position as a leading dance company in the UK and beyond.’


Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“As one of Scotland’s five national performing companies, Scottish Ballet has a crucial role through performance and education to inspire people to enjoy world class dance both in Scotland and internationally. I am delighted to welcome Christopher Hampson as its new Chief Executive, to build on his acclaimed work as Artistic Director and to lead Scottish Ballet in its continued success.”


Since joining in 2012, Christopher has been instrumental in engaging leading choreographers to create productions for Scottish Ballet, including the upcoming inspiring double bill of work this autumn and a new, cutting-edge, Swan Lake next spring. Christopher will also present his own Cinderella this winter which premiered in 2007 with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. His artistic vision ensures Scottish Ballet is presenting innovative work that continues to thrill audiences and critics alike and crucially has touring appeal both nationally and internationally.



Notes to editors:

Christopher joined Scottish Ballet as Artistic Director in August 2012 and within his first two years he commissioned an extensive range of choreographers including Helen Pickett, James Cousins, Kristen McNally, Martin Lawrence, and Sophie Laplane, resulting in 10 world premieres plus he further added to the repertoire 12 works new to the Company by choreographers such as Tetley, Tharp, Kylian amongst others.


During his time with the company significant education initiatives have been developed, including: Hansel and Gretel & Me (a Scotland-wide project where participants of all ages helped to shape Christopher Hampson’s new production ofHansel & Gretel), the Dancers Education Group (a mentoring programme for dancers that want to develop skills to teach dance in schools and in the community) as well as the creation of Youth and Elders Companies (SBYC, SBEC).

Christopher has also been an active member of Scottish Ballet’s Fundraising Project Team since 2013 and was instrumental in securing funding from numerous sources.


Scottish Ballet returns from a hugely successful 6-city tour in the USA which culminated in 3 sell-out nights at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.


In September 2015, the Company will be presenting Javier de Frutos’ seminal work Elsa Canasta as well as a world premiere by Bryan Arias, one of the most exciting young choreographers of today. Christopher Hampson’s Cinderella, created in 2007 for the Royal New Zealand Ballet will receive its European premiere this winter and Spring 2016 will mark the first time in 20 years that the company is presenting Swan Lake with a world premiere created by international choreographer, David Dawson.


Christopher Hampson trained at the Royal Ballet Schools. His choreographic work began there and continued at English National Ballet, where he danced until 1999 and for whom he subsequently created numerous award-winning works, including Double Concerto, Perpetuum MobileCountry GardenConcerto Grosso and The Nutcracker. Christopher’sRomeo and Juliet, created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB), was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award (Best New Production 2005) and his production of Giselle for the National Theatre in Prague received its premiere in 2004. Christopher created Sinfonietta Giocosa for the Atlanta Ballet (USA) in 2006 and after a New York tour it received its UK premiere with ENB in 2007. He created Cinderella for RNZB in 2007, which was subsequently hailed as Best New Production by the New Zealand Herald and televised by TVNZ in 2009. His work has toured Australia, China, the USA and throughout Europe. His recent commissions include Sextet (Ballet Black/ROH2, 2010); Silhouette (RNZB, 2010),Rite of Spring (Atlanta Ballet, 2011), Storyville (Ballet Black/ROH2, 2012) nominated for a National Dance Award 2012 and Hansel & Gretel (Scottish Ballet 2013).


Christopher is a co-founder of the International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague and has been a guest teacher and coach for English National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Bonachela Dance Company, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and the Genée International Ballet Competition. Christopher’s work now forms part of the Solo Seal Award for the Royal Academy of Dance.

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This is groundbreaking news - bravo Christopher Hampson!    


For the Artistic Director to be appointed Chief Executive of a classically based ballet company is a huge vote of confidence in his ability to understand the financial implications as well as the artistic, of the decisions he makes.


Sadly, and to the detriment all too often of the artistic development of companies, boards appoint as Chief Executive, the administrative head of the company, with the Artistic Director reporting to this CEO - with apart from rare instances of mutual respect and understanding, can lead companies down roads of commercial acquisition with little regard for artistic needs.


These days at best, the administrative and artistic directors report jointly to the board, but rarely, if ever, in Europe, does the administrative head report to the artistic (the Opera Houses of course have different reporting systems - as the different art forms, Opera, Music, sometimes Drama, all report to the Intendant or equivalent, and all vary somewhat)


In the United States, it occurs relatively often that the Artistic Director holds both positions.


Few if any people who make the decisions about the above, remember or are aware of the strike by the dancers of The Australian Ballet in the early 80s, caused by the Administrator of the time having all the power.   It is a chapter of dance history which should remain a cautionary tale....


Christopher Hampson's appointment is very good news indeed for the future of classical ballet!

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