Alistair Spalding

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Alistair Spalding CBE (born 25 August 1957, Stotfold, Bedfordshire, UK) has been the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler's Wells Theatre since 2004.

He has been responsible for programming at the theatre since February 2000 (when he joined as Director of Programming, becoming CEO and Artistic Director in October 2004). During that time he has presented companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballett Frankfurt, Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal, Ballet C de La B, Michael Clark, Dutch National Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group, Netherlands Dance Theatre 1 and 2, and the National Ballet of China.

Under Spalding, Sadler's Wells has become a production house for dance, as well as a receiving house presenting performances by touring companies. In March 2005 he announced a new commissioning and co-producing policy at Sadler's Wells and has since appointed Matthew Bourne, Jonzi D, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Sylvie Guillem, Akram Khan (dancer), Michael Hulls, Russell Maliphant, Wayne McGregor, BalletBoyz (Michael Nunn and William Trevitt), Kate Prince, Nitin Sawhney, Hofesh Shechter, Jasmin Vardimon, and Christopher Wheeldon as Associate Artists at the theatre.

He has also initiated projects such as the Breakin' Convention International Hip Hop Dance Theatre Festival; the Global Dance Contest – an online competition to find new choreographic talent from around the world with Shu-Yi Chou (2010), James Wilton (2011) and Ihsan Rustem (2012) being named winners; as well as inviting Wayne McGregor | Random Dance to become the theatre's Resident Company.


Spalding was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to dance.[1]

Early career[edit]

Spalding's first job in arts management was at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley, where he was a programmer from 1988 to 1994.

Southbank Centre[edit]

Over six years between 1994 and 2000 Spalding was the Head of Dance and Performance at the Southbank Centre in London where he developed both the presentation and commissioning of national and international dance and performance companies. As well as increasing the number of performances and audience attendance for dance at the centre he developed strong co-producing relationships with a number of national and international companies and artists including DV8, Alain Platel, Jonathan Burrows, Javier de Frutos and Rosas Dance Company. The South Bank Centre won the Time Out award for best dance production in both 1998 for Alain Platel and in 1999 for the New York Ballet Stars project.

External posts[edit]

Spalding is also Chairman of Dance UK. He was a member of the Arts Council England Dance advisory panel between 1995 and 2003 and he is an external advisor on the City University Validation Board for the Laban centre London degree courses. He was awarded Le Chevalier des Artes et Lettres by the French Embassy in October 2005. In January 2009 he was appointed a National Member of the Arts Council of England board.

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