Bland Succeeds Alexander as RSC ChairmanDate: 1 April 2004
The Royal Shakespeare Company announced today that Sir Christopher Bland, chairman of British Telecom and former chairman of the BBC Board of Governors, will succeed Lord (Bob) Alexander of Weedon QC as chairman of the Stratford-based theatrical flagship.
Appointed in December 2000, Alexander – who, in the eyes of many, was tainted for his part in former RSC artistic director Adrian Noble’s controversial plans to pull out of London’s Barbican Centre and to demolish Stratford’s listed Royal Shakespeare Theatre – announced last November that he would step down at the end of his three-year term of office.
In a statement released today, Alexander highlighted the successful track record of his successor and reserved special praise for Boyd, who since taking over from Noble in April 2003, has nearly halved the RSC’s £2.8 million deficit. "Michael Boyd's leadership of the RSC has in just one year led to a remarkable strengthening of the Company's finances and a strong artistic programme,” said Alexander. “His commitment to our core values of ensemble theatre-making and to the training and development of artists is already paying dividends."
Commenting on the new appointment, Boyd said: "Christopher Bland is a real catch for the RSC and an excellent choice to succeed Bob Alexander. I'm sure he is the right man to help us continue to rebuild the RSC ensemble and realise our aspiration to return to our proper place at the leading edge of international theatre."
Bland himself added that he was thrilled at becoming involved with “one of Britain’s great cultural institutions”. The RSC board will recommend Bland at a meeting of the RSC governors later this month.
- by Terri Paddock