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Jane Spiers

Jane Spiers steps down as Chief Executive for Aberdeen Performing Arts

NEWS – 13 Oct 2021

Jane Spiers steps down as Chief Executive for Aberdeen Performing Arts

News – 13 Oct 2021

Aberdeen Performing Arts has today announced that Chief Executive, Jane Spiers, will step down in Spring 2022.

Jane joined Aberdeen Performing Arts in 2012 and has overseen a significant period of development for the independent charity. Under Jane’s leadership the organisation delivered the £10M Music Hall redevelopment, introduced three new festivals to the city, Granite Noir Book Festival, True North Music Festival and Light the Blue youth arts festival, expanded and diversified work on all stages, deepened engagement with communities, and established Freshly Squeezed Productions to commission and produce work in the North East. In 2019, Aberdeen Performing Arts was named Business of the Year in the North East at the Northern Star Business Awards, the first cultural organisation to be presented with the award and the first woman to win the Lifetime Achievement award.

On leaving Aberdeen Performing Arts, Jane Spiers said: “If I listened to my heart, I’d never leave Aberdeen Performing Arts but after a lifetime working in the arts, my head is telling me it’s time to step away. I’ve lived my dream job for the last ten years and it will be hard to say goodbye to my wonderful work family especially after what we’ve been through together in the last 18 months. I’m immensely proud of the values led, people-centred culture that has driven our success over the last few years and seen us through the pandemic.”

Jane added: “As we emerge from the pandemic and welcome audiences into our venues again, we are optimistic for the future and I’m sure that Aberdeen Performing Arts will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever. Jobs like this don’t come up very often and it will be an amazing opportunity to take a great team, an engaged Board and invested partners beyond 2021 to deliver our shared ambitions for the arts in Aberdeen, the North-east and in Scotland.”

Jane started her career in bookselling and publishing, went on to manage the arts team for the London Borough of Southwark and ran the Literature Department for Southern Arts Board in Central Southern England before returning to Scotland. She led the Heritage and Cultural Services Team at Stirling Council and project managed the redevelopment of the Stirling Tolbooth Arts Centre, winner of the Crown Estates Conservation Award. Jane was Horsecross Arts first Chief Executive and during her ten years in the role she opened the new Perth Concert Hall to critical acclaim, championed the redevelopment of Perth Theatre and led a multi award-winning team.

While in post as Chief Executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, Jane has served on a number of local and national boards. She was appointed by the DCMS to the Board of the Theatres Trust, she is currently on the Board of the Sage Gateshead, the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, Sound Scotland, UK Touring Partnership, Scottish Theatre Producing Consortium and the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Policy Council.

Jane’s contribution in the North East was recognised when she received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Northern Star Business Awards in 2019. She is an RSA Fellow and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Aberdeen Performing Arts Chairperson, Craig Pike, said: “Aberdeen Performing Arts has benefitted hugely from Jane’s vision, ambition, energy and passion in a role that she has made her own, with an outstanding level of dedication to the job in hand. She has been an inspirational and compassionate leader, never more in evidence than during the pandemic, tirelessly advocating and fundraising to keep us solvent, safeguard jobs and always with the welfare of her work family in mind.

As a Board, we will be forever indebted to Jane for her commitment to Aberdeen Performing Arts and for the huge contribution she has made to the cultural life of the North-East and Scotland, with her unique combination of artistic, strategic and commercial vision. It’s genuinely impossible to pick one achievement. She leaves an organisation that is firmly anchored at the heart of artistic, community, cultural and civic life in the North East. She came to us with a fantastic track record and her legacy extends well beyond the North East. It has been a joy and an honour to work with Jane.

Culture Spokesperson for Aberdeen City Council, Councillor Marie Boulton, said: “Jane arrived with an ambitious agenda for change and has played a major role in shaping the cultural landscape in the city over the last decade. Her Lifetime Achievement Award and Business of the Year accolade at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber Northern Star Awards is evidence of the distance travelled. Under Jane’s inspirational leadership, we have seen the transformation of the Music Hall, two new festivals in the city, Granite Noir and True North, more diverse work on our stages, bigger audiences coming from further afield, new talent development programmes for artists and creatives in the North East and her leadership through Covid has been exceptional.

Jane’s commitment to inclusivity in the arts is exemplary. She has significantly increased the range and diversity of people we reach through education and community programmes. I have many stand out moments but the one that comes to mind first is the multi award winning Music Hall Stepping Out community programme. An amazing 25,000 people participated in projects and activities, from the Music Hall Babies project to community choirs and young ambassadors, ensuring that when the Music Hall re-opened it was for everyone.”

The search for the new Chief Executive begins and more information about the recruitment process can be found on the Aberdeen Performing Arts website at https://www.aberdeenperformingarts.com/work-with-us/