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Alistair Spalding CBE Artistic Director & Chief Executive

Alistair Spalding has been Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells since 2004.

A headshot of Sadler's Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding
Alistair Spalding © Cameron Slater

Under his tenure, Sadler’s Wells has become a world-leading dance organisation that offers an ambitious programme exploring and celebrating dance in all its forms and supporting and presenting first-class UK and international artists and companies. Each year, over half a million people come to Sadler’s Wells’ London theatres with many more visiting its internationally touring productions or exploring its digital platforms.

In 2005, Alistair announced that Sadler’s Wells was to become a producing organisation. He has since driven the commissioning, producing and co-producing of more than 170 shows, including acclaimed cross-art form collaborations Sutra and m¡longa, and William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance.

He also created the position of Associate Artist . Today, Sadler’s Wells supports 17 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies – Company Wayne McGregor, New Adventures and ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company – one Associate Company, English National Ballet, and three International Associate Companies: Acosta Danza, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rosas and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. These artists and companies represent the most exciting talent working in dance today.

Alistair’s first job in arts management was at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley, where he was a programmer from 1988 to 1994. Between 1994 and 2000, he was Head of Dance and Performance at the Southbank Centre in London. He has been responsible for the artistic programme at Sadler’s Wells since February 2000, when he joined as Director of Programming, before becoming Artistic Director & Chief Executive in October 2004.

Alistair holds honorary doctorates from Middlesex University (2012), the University of Hertfordshire (2014) and the University of Roehampton (2015). He was a national member of the Arts Council England Council from 2009 to 2017, and a member of the Arts Council England Dance Advisory Panel from 1995 to 2003. He was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2005 and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2012 for services to dance.

In January 2019, he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award by ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) in recognition of “unique lifetime achievement that has enriched the international performing arts”.