The Royal Ballet announces Kevin O’Hare as new director


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14 June 2011, 10.30AM

Simon Robey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Opera House, announced today the appointment of Kevin O’Hare as Director of The Royal Ballet following the retirement of Dame Monica Mason in July 2012. Kevin O’Hare has been Administrative Director of the Company since 2009.  

On his appointment Kevin O’Hare said: “This is a great honour for me. Under Monica Mason’s inspired leadership The Royal Ballet has had a great ten years. I am equally ambitious for the Company and dance in general. I plan to bring together the most talented artists of the 21st century to collaborate on the same stage – world class dancers, choreographers, designers, and musicians.  I will aim to use all the traditional and new platforms now available to engage our audiences in our classic repertoire, and The Royal Ballet’s unique heritage. I want to continue to invigorate audiences with new work and emerging talents and I am thrilled that Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon – two of the world’s leading choreographers – have agreed to join me and Jeanetta Laurence, Associate Director to become part of the senior artistic team. Both Wayne and Christopher share my exciting ambitions for the Company. ”  

The Royal Ballet new appointment

Kevin was trained at The Royal Ballet School, joining Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet in 1984, becoming a Principal with Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB), as it then became, in 1990.  His repertory included all the leading classical roles and works by Balanchine, Cranko, Van Manen, Tudor and Tharp. He also created many roles, working with Ashton, De Valois, MacMillan, David Bintley, and Peter Wright. He retired from dancing in 2000 to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, training in Company management.  He returned to BRB in 2001 as Company Manager, and joined The Royal Ballet as Company Manager in 2004, becoming Administrative Director in 2009.  Kevin served on the Board of Governors of the Royal Ballet School 2000 – 2009.

Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, added, “All of us were impressed by Kevin’s outstanding vision for building on the achievements of the last ten years.  Kevin has a fantastic track record as a dancer, and understands the importance of nurturing dancers at all levels of the Company.  He has championed a range of new choreographic initiatives, and possesses all the skills needed to be a visionary artistic leader and producer. I look forward enormously to working with him in this new role.”

Simon Robey said, “I would like to thank my colleagues on the search committee, Michael Berkeley, David Clementi, Nicholas Hytner, Peter Wright, Tony Hall and Robert Wallace for all their work on what was a rigorous and exhaustive world wide search.  We have seen some outstanding candidates over the past few weeks and it is a pleasure to be able to announce that the right person for this important position has a life long knowledge and first hand experience of the Company and its repertoire, as well as having some great plans for the future.”

Michael Berkeley, Chairman of the Governors of The Royal Ballet also confirmed, “Kevin, like Monica, has made a happy transition from dancer to senior management where he has shone brightly.  His plans build not only on the great heritage of The Royal Ballet but look forward to a new partnership with two of the world’s outstanding choreographers.”

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2 Responses to The Royal Ballet announces Kevin O’Hare as new director

  1. Bun Head June 14, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Amazing news! Kevin O’Hare is hugely loved by the company and has am amazing collaborative spirit. Here’s to the future!

  2. Ballet News June 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    @Bun Head it’s definately a decision that won’t scare the horses. Not necessarily a bad thing given the current financial climate – the next few years probably won’t be about risk taking and daring repertoire but about balancing the books and trying to turn a profit without cutting the number of dancers in the company, which sadly is happening elsewhere. Good Luck to Kevin. He’s a very nice guy, well liked by the company dancers, personable, entertaining and I’m sure he’ll do a good job.

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