The National Ballet of Canada’s Board of Directors Extends Executive Director Barry Hughson’s Contract

March 5, 2019

The Board of Directors of The National Ballet of Canada announced today that Executive Director Barry Hughson’s contract has been renewed for a five-year term.  Mr. Hughson joined The National Ballet of Canada in 2014, and in partnership with Artistic Director Karen Kain, has accelerated the company’s trajectory of artistic growth, fiscal responsibility, community engagement, and international acclaim, including landmark tours to New York City’s Lincoln Center, Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris and the Mariinsky and Stanislavsky Theatres in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia.

Barry’s partnership with Karen has created a level of momentum, both onstage and behind the scenes, that is the envy of the dance world,” said Cornell C. V. Wright, Chair of The National Ballet’s Board of Directors, “and the Board is delighted that will continue.”

Barry has been a dynamic leader and shares my ambitious goals for the company. He has fulfilled many of my dreams for The National Ballet of Canada, especially with expanded touring and getting these wonderful dancers on stages around the globe. I look forward to continuing our inspiring working relationship,” said Ms. Kain.

Mr. Hughson began his career as a dancer with The Washington (DC) Ballet, where he performed classical and contemporary repertoire at the Kennedy Center and on tour throughout the world. For the last 25 years, he has served as an executive leader at Connecticut’s Warner Theatre, Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City, New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada.

Mr. Hughson is deeply engaged with the international arts community and has had consulting, teaching and speaking engagements in the US, Europe, South America and Asia. He has served on a variety of industry boards, including Dance/USA, North America’s largest service organization for professional dance, where he recently completed two terms as a Trustee and Vice Chair. In partnership with Dance/USA and The Royal Ballet, Mr. Hughson spearheaded the first ever meeting of North American and European executive dance leadership, bringing together 22 administrators from nine countries in 2015. In 2018, he joined North American colleagues in The Equity Project, a three-year initiative to address racial diversity in the ballet field. Mr. Hughson also serves as a mentor to emerging arts leaders through Dance/USA’s Institute for Leadership Training. 

In Canada, Mr. Hughson serves as Vice-Chair of the National Council for the Canadian Dance Assembly and served on the Steering Committee for the Canadian Arts Summit from 2014 to 2017. Currently, he is serving on the Coordinating Committee for Respectful Workplaces in the Arts, a nationwide initiative to create safe, inclusive, respectful workplaces for Canadian artists, free from all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and violence.

Supporting Karen Kain in realizing her vision for The National Ballet of Canada is one of the great privileges of my professional life,” said Mr. Hughson, “and my family and I are looking forward to the years ahead.”

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The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Toronto through the Economic Development & Culture Department; the Government of Canada – Department of Canadian Heritage, through the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism; and the Government of Ontario through The Honourable Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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