Barry Hughson

Executive Director

Barry Hughson. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.

Barry Hughson. Photo by Karolina Kuras.


Barry Hughson joined The National Ballet of Canada as Executive Director in 2014. Since that time, the company has accelerated its trajectory of artistic growth, fiscal responsibility, community engagement and international presence, including landmark tours to New York City’s Lincoln Center, Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris and the Mariinsky and Stanislavsky Theatres in Russia. 

Barry 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.

Barry 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, Barry 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. Barry also serves as a mentor to emerging arts leaders through Dance/USA’s Institute for Leadership Training. 

In Canada, Barry 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.