Barry Hughson has served the performing arts field for 21 years as a professional arts executive. In January of 2014, he will join The National Ballet of Canada as Executive Director.
Mr. Hughson is currently Executive Director of Boston Ballet in Boston, Massachusetts. In partnership with Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen, Mr. Hughson has managed the fourth largest ballet company in the US, with a $31 million dollar annual budget, 700 employees, a world-class professional ballet company and North America’s largest ballet academy. Since Mr. Hughson’s appointment in 2009, Boston Ballet has achieved several key milestones, including the development and execution of the organization’s Case for Giving and $10 million dollar Clean Slate Fund; completing a $3 million dollar renovation of the Ballet’s headquarters; establishing the Company’s first operating cash reserve; international tours to Canada, Spain, Finland, and most recently, London, England for the first time in 30 years; building Mr. Nissinen’s new Nutcracker; and producing the Ballet’s first large scale outdoor performance, Night of Stars on Boston Common, attended by more than 55,000 people. Over his tenure, the organization has raised more than $60 million dollars in contributed revenue through annual fund contributions and special funding initiatives. In addition, total earned revenue, including ticket sales and school tuition, has increased by more than 20% over the same period.
Prior to his appointment in Boston, Mr. Hughson was Executive Director of Atlanta Ballet, where he successfully engineered the move to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, completed the sale of the Ballet’s real estate resulting in the elimination of the Company’s debt, resolved a dispute with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, and developed the $14.8 million “Choreographing Our Future” campaign. To date, it is the most successful fundraising campaign in Atlanta Ballet’s 80-year history.
Mr. Hughson’s experience includes a distinguished career in arts administration which began at the historic Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT. There, Mr. Hughson created Warner’s acclaimed Centre for Arts Education, and led a successful $12.5 million campaign to restore the Warner Theatre’s art deco building over his 11-year tenure. He went on to become the first Executive Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City before working with the American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School in Princeton, NJ.
As an arts advocate, consultant, and educator, Mr. Hughson has worked extensively, including teaching and speaking engagements in the US, Europe and South America. He is also a long-time advocate for people with disabilities and served as a national trainer for the New Visions Dance Project, a program created by Alvin Ailey for Very Special Arts International. More recently, Mr. Hughson was a featured speaker at Harvard Business School as part of its annual Social Enterprise Conference, and represented the United States on the jury of Russia’s Benois de la Danse in 2009. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of Dance/USA, and chairs the Manager’s Council for the largest member dance companies in America, Canada, Norway and Australia.
Additionally, Mr. Hughson has a background as an award-winning dancer and choreographer who has performed the works of George Balanchine, Nils Christie, Choo San Goh, Antony Tudor and others as an artist of The Washington (DC) Ballet. He was the only American male dancer awarded a prize at the 1990 New York International Ballet Competition, and has held a long affiliation with the nationally recognized Baltimore School for the Arts, serving as an advisor, guest faculty and choreographer since 2004.
Mr. Hughson received his childhood training from Sharon Dante and Donna Bonasera at the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts and the Connecticut Dance Theatre. In 1979 at age 11, he founded the Youth Theatre Ensemble in his hometown of Watertown, Connecticut, which provided access to theatre for thousands of local young people during its near 20-year run as a non-profit arts organization.
Mr. Hughson’s wife, Ashley, is a professional actress, and they have two children, Aila and Tyler.