mOppenheimTV Presents: Barry Hughson, Executive Director of The National Ballet of Canada

Barry Hughson

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Barry Hughson, the new Executive Director of the National Ballet of Canada, about innovation and how arts leaders can reinvent the theater-going experience in order to be relevant to today’s young people. 

Barry shared his approach to collaborating with others, including the great Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet and his attraction to the artistic sensibility of Karen Kain, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada.   He also explained how he and his teams are always thinking about what can be done differently in order to push continuous innovation.  “(We) leverage technology to allow the audience to (both) know more about what they’re going to experience before they sit in the theater, (and) have an opportunity to interact through blogging and other kinds of tactics…”  Such actions have helped the institutions he has led to cut through the media overload that audiences can experience.

His idea of building an environment where innovation is encouraged and failure is an option was very interesting to us, especially taking into consideration how challenging it can be for the arts where “…resources are so restricted that on the business side of the art there is a very low tolerance to risk and a very low tolerance for failure.” He suggests a possible solution: “…to create a dedicated funding source that allows innovative ideas to be tested,” an R&D and product testing approach with striking similarities to approaches taken by players in the Tech Sector.

These were just some of the many highlights of our interesting conversation with Barry Hughson. We encourage you to visit mOppenheim.TV so you can enjoy our full interview with this entrepreneurial nonprofit arts leader. We truly hope you enjoy the interview just as much as we did, and will leave you with one more Barry Hughson quote:

“People don’t want a static experience… they don’t want to come in and sit and just experience passively one side of the art. They want to engage, they want to know the artists, the composers, the choreographers. They want an inside view and to engage with the artists as members of a community.”

What do you think?

Institutes and Associations, m/OppenheimTV