Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) Chair Steven Fyfe has announced that Executive Director Frances Turner has resigned and will leave the company in September. After two and a half years leading the national ballet company, Frances will return to Auckland to pursue new opportunities and to be with her family, who have remained in Auckland through her tenure with the Wellington-based RNZB. The Board accepted Frances’s decision with regret but the RNZB understands that family comes first.
“Frances has given fresh perspectives to the RNZB, and a lot of progress has been made in her time with the RNZB. What makes and will continue to make the RNZB a vibrant and unique organisation is our commitment to an aspirational set of goals, including bringing world-class performances to New Zealand audiences, touring large and small productions throughout New Zealand, developing new productions and new sources of support, and touching more and more New Zealanders with our community and education programmes.”
Steven acknowledged Frances’ contribution to the RNZB during a period of transition: “Frances has brought great insight and inspiration to the executive director’s role and she has engineered a lot of positive change during her time at the RNZB during challenging circumstances.”
The Executive Director shares the leadership of the Royal New Zealand Ballet with the Artistic Director. “I feel very fortunate to have been supported by Frances during my first year as Artistic Director” says Patricia Barker. “She has introduced me to New Zealand and to this country’s multi-faceted arts scene and has made me feel truly at home.”
Frances said she is proud of the company’s achievements over the last two years, in deepening its connections with New Zealand audiences through works such as The Piano: the ballet, the upcoming production of Strength & Grace(a programme in celebration of the 125thanniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand as well as the RNZB’s own 65thbirthday), and the re-launch of regional touring programme, Tutus on Tour.
“We have delivered great international works, works made here in New Zealand, and works telling New Zealand stories. We’ve continued to lift the ‘barre’ on the stage, and we’ve sold out dozens of performances with productions like TheWizard of Oz ,Giselle, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, andThe Piano: the ballet,”.
“On the business side, we’ve grown and sustained wonderful partnerships with our sponsors and funders. I’ve particularly enjoyed working with Ryman Healthcare and the creative way in which they use their relationship with the RNZB. We’ve also diversified our revenue streams to give the RNZB additional financial stability.
“And I’m proud of the significant expansion of our education programme, including working in prisons, offering audio-described performances for the blind and visually impaired, and growing our audience, particularly young people and students from low decile schools,” she said.
The whole company will miss Frances’s innovative spirit, boundless enthusiasm and passionate advocacy for the RNZB and she will remain part of the RNZB’s whanau.“We wish Frances the very best for her return to Auckland and her future endeavours.”