Chief Executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, Jane Spiers, was honoured at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Northern Star Business Awards last night, as she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award.
Ms Spiers, who has been at the helm of Aberdeen Performing Arts for seven years, is the first ever woman, as well as the first person from the cultural sector, to be awarded the prize.
Tributes from Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen Performing Arts Chairman Craig Pike, and actress Elaine C Smith, were heard before she accepted the accolade in front of 600 guests at a glittering black tie event at the new P&J Live arena Thursday, September 26.
In a double celebration for the charitable organisation, Aberdeen Performing Arts also took home the coveted Business of the Year prize. The Business of the Year accolade, one of the biggest awards of the night, recognises businesses who have demonstrated excellent practice, and inspired others by being a market leader.
With more than 30 years’ experience in arts and culture in Scotland and further afield, Jane Spiers was instrumental in major initiatives in Stirling including as project leader for the award winning Stirling Tolbooth and Stirling’s Millennium celebrations. She went on to provide transformational leadership as the founding Chief Executive of Horsecross Arts in Perth, the company set up to run Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre, a position she held for nine years, launching the concert hall to critical acclaim, and championing the campaign for the redevelopment of Perth Theatre.
In 2009, during her time at Horsecross Arts, Jane received the Scottish Thistle Award for Business Leadership and in 2017 she was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland for her contribution to arts and architecture.
Aberdeen Performing Arts is one of the largest arts organisations in Scotland, running three city-centre venues, His Majesty’s Theatre, the Music Hall and the Lemon Tree. In Jane’s time as Chief Executive she has overseen a fundraising campaign and project managed the three year, £9 million restoration of the Music Hall, which re-opened in December 2018.
Jane has also developed an award-winning creative learning programme, set up a producing company Freshly Squeezed Productions to support young talent in the North-east, brought to fruition three festivals - crime fiction festival Granite Noir, youth arts festival Light the Blue, and last weekend’s True North music festival, as well as introducing pioneering cultural programmes to the region such as the Northern Arc sessions.
With Jane as a creative driving force, Aberdeen Performing Arts has transformed into a cultural hub at the heart of city life, and a leading contributor to arts and culture in Aberdeen and beyond.
Aberdeen Performing Arts Chairman, Craig Pike, said: “Everyone on the Board of Aberdeen Performing Arts is delighted for Jane. Since she joined us in 2012, she has had a transformational effect, shaping the organisation into a culturally dynamic, vibrant hub at the centre of city life. The popularity of the breadth of work she has introduced is testament to her vision, and her work ethic and dedication is an inspiration to everyone at Aberdeen Performing Arts. I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us in the future.”
Councillor Marie Boulton said: “Arts and culture is becoming more and more important to the region, and Jane has been a driving force behind this. In particular, the Music Hall restoration and hugely successful Stepping In weekend was a massive undertaking, and it will have a lasting impact on this region for decades to come. Her contribution to the region is unrivalled, and I’m so happy that Jane has been recognised for all of her hard work by receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award as she deserves all of the accolades that come her way.”
Jane Spiers, said: “After a monumental year for Aberdeen Performing Arts, Business of the Year is a really special award for us to win. In the last 12 months we have re-opened the Music Hall to critical acclaim following a multi-million pound transformation and kept the day job going running our three beloved venues and our three diverse festivals in the city.
“I am so proud of our team and the passion, ambition and dedication they bring to the job every single day. It was wonderful to see the arts taking centre stage at the Northern Star Business Awards and to be able to say thank you our partners and supporters for believing in us and for believing in the power of the arts to change lives and transform communities and cities. We are so proud to be helping to shape the cultural landscape of Aberdeen and the North East as a creative and dynamic region.”