Jane Spiers, chief executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts, is stepping down from the role after 10 years in which she oversaw the renovation of the Music Hall and steered the arts organisation through the pandemic.
Announcing she was would be leaving the post in spring next year, Jane 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.”
Jane has been chief executive of Aberdeen Performing Arts – which runs His Majesty’s Theatre, the Music Hall and the Lemon Tree – since 2012.
Under her leadership the organisation delivered the £10 million Music Hall redevelopment and introduced three new festivals to the city – Granite Noir Book Festival, True North Music Festival and Light the Blue youth arts festival.
She also oversaw the expansion and diversification of work on all stages, deepened engagement with communities, and established Freshly Squeezed Productions to commission and produce work in the north-east.
Lived dream job for past 10 years
Jane said: “I’ve lived my dream job for the past 10 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.
More recently Jane has had to steer APA through the storms of the Covid pandemic, which saw its three venues go dark for more than 18 months.
She said: “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’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.
Tributes to her role in championing arts at APA and the wider north-east poured in on news of her stepping down.
Jane Spiers has been inspirational
APA 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.
“She leaves an organisation that is firmly anchored at the heart of artistic, community, cultural and civic life in 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.”
Prior to joining APA, Jane was Horsecross Arts first Chief Executive and during her 10 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.
APA said the search for the new chief executive begins. More information about the recruitment process can be found on the Aberdeen Performing Arts website at www.aberdeenperformingarts.com