Following Saxton Bampfylde’s successful search in the appointment of Sir David Normington as Chair of Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB), in 2018 we were asked to partner in their search to their new Director.
This was a hugely important search for the board, where the appointment was to some extent to help define the next chapter for the company after 24 years of stellar artistic leadership under David Bintley. The Board of Trustees looked upon this challenge in a positive way and an opportunity to seek a fresh vision and approach. From the start they had an open mind and were interested in the views of candidates and key players in the ballet world. To assist in the appointment, the Chair brought together an ‘expert panel’ of luminaries from the ballet and wider dance world to assist in the appointment and add their views and opinions on the profile of those applying.
Our search was global. We contacted candidates across the world as both sources for comment and ideas, and as potential Directors. This international outlook was reflected in our longlist of candidates; 11 of the 15 we interviewed were based outside of the UK. Some had a strong connection with BRB, or had worked in the UK before, whereas others knew the company more by reputation or had some level of artistic engagement with them. Carlos Acosta, one of world’s most renowned ballet dancers and choreographers, was ultimately selected by the Board to be appointed.