Following accusations of sexual discrimination, Jean-Luc Choplin, chief executive of Sadler’s Wells, London’s leading dance venue, has announced his early resignation.

The Frenchman and former Disney executive was appointed to the post for a five-year term in October 2002. He now aims to leave two years sooner than planned. A replacement has not yet been appointed, though recruitment will begin shortly.

Choplin attracted controversy last year when four disgruntled female employees lodged a lawsuit against Sadler’s Wells for sexual discrimination. They claimed that, under Choplin’s tenure, of a half-dozen senior managers, the four female ones were either made redundant or forced to leave while, at the same time, the men were promoted.

Both Choplin and Sadler’s Wells have dismissed these accusations however, a theatre insider, speaking to the Evening Standard about the chief executive’s departure, said: “A lot of people at Sadler’s Wells will be glad he’s decided to go.”


Less controversially, Philip Hedley (pictured), the long-serving artistic director and chief executive of east London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East, also announced today that he will be relinquishing his posts. He will leave in September 2004, exactly 25 years after he was first appointed.

In fact, Hedley’s association with the multiculturally pioneering theatre pre-dates even that. In 1961, he was one of the first in-take of students at E15 Acting School which grew out of the famed Theatre Workshop company, resident at Theatre Royal. In 1972, he became assistant to both Joan Littlewood and Gerry Raffles, who asked him also to join the board, of which he later became chair.

Over the past 25 years, Hedley has produced and/or directed over 160 productions of new work at Stratford, including seven productions which transferred to the West End. The theatre’s board has now given Hedley the title Director Emeritus.

- by Terri Paddock