The National Ballet of Canada Mourns the Loss of Robert Johnston, Former Administrative Director
November 23, 2022… The National Ballet of Canada mourns the passing of former Administrative Director Robert (Bob) Johnston on November 17, 2022 at the age of 93. Johnston was the longest serving Administrative Director in the company’s history, holding the position from 1979 to 1996. Steadfast in creating a secure foundation for the organization’s creative growth, Johnston was a compassionate and visionary leader and remained committed to the National Ballet throughout his life, giving generously as a donor and Celia Franca Society member.
Johnston brought a wealth of experience from the private and public sectors to the National Ballet and he served Canadian arts and culture throughout his career. He was the former Deputy Minister of Culture and Recreation for the Province of Ontario, President of the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators and Executive Director of Cultural Careers Council Ontario. Johnston was also a Board Member at Dance Collection Danse and CSARN, the voice of Canada’s vibrant community of senior professional artists.
In 2019, CSARN recognized Johnston’s contribution to the sector with an award in his name, The Robert Johnston Visionary Artist Award, given annually to an artist whose work “away from the spotlight” has been an inspiration to others in the arts. His legacy will live on with this award and in the qualities of excellence and care within the communities he served.
Johnston attended the dress rehearsal of the National Ballet’s mixed programme of The Collective Agreement & Crepuscular & Concerto on November 8, demonstrating his care and affection for the company as always. He will be greatly missed.
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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 Toronto Arts Council; 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 Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Robert Johnston. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.
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