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Hassall will leave the iconic London venue at the start of the 2023 season to become chief executive of Playhouse Square in Ohio
By IQ on 09 Aug 2022
The Royal Albert Hall has announced the departure of CEO Craig Hassall, who will step down at the start of the 2023 season.
He joined the iconic London venue (cap. 5,272) in 2017 from his previous role as CEO of Opera Australia. He led extensive plans for the Hall’s 150th anniversary in 2021, and subsequently its survival and recovery through the Covid-19 pandemic.
During his six-year tenure, Hassall oversaw a multimillion programme of refurbishment of the Grade I listed venue, as well as “dramatic” growth in the Hall’s own concert promotions.
Hassall has accepted a position as president and chief executive of Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio.
Craig said: “After six wonderful years at the Hall it is time for me to bid a very fond farewell. I have genuinely loved working with the team, and despite all the recent challenges we have faced, it has been a huge privilege to lead the Royal Albert Hall through some great times (and some daunting ones!)”
“[Hassall] has played a pivotal role in sustaining us through the Covid-19 pandemic”
Ian McCulloch, president of the Royal Albert Hall, says: “We have benefitted from Craig’s many talents for nearly six years. During this tenure, Craig has accomplished a great deal for the good of the Hall and the wider cultural sector.
“He has played a pivotal role in sustaining us through the Covid-19 pandemic, in enhancing our reputation and in enabling the Hall to reach even wider audiences. He will be leaving us with our deep gratitude and goodwill.”
Hassall will now lead one of North America’s top performing arts centres in Playhouse Square, the second largest theatre district in the US, with 11 venues in total. He replaces outgoing CEO Gina Vernaci, who retires in February after a 39-year career with the organisation.
“Playhouse Square has a great history of accomplishment and leadership in the performing arts industry,” Hassall continued. “It’s poised to play an even bigger role and I am honoured and excited to have the opportunity to partner with the board of Trustees and this talented team to take Playhouse Square to the next level.”
Hassall will relocate to Cleveland to join Playhouse Square in early 2023, after completing the London Christmas season and the bedding in of the annual Cirque du Soleil season.
The Hall will announce plans for Craig’s replacement in due course.
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