Barry Hughson, a Connecticut native, celebrated his twentieth anniversary as a professional arts administrator in 2012. He joined Boston Ballet as Executive Director in June 2009. At Boston Ballet, Mr. Hughson and Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen manage the fourth largest ballet company in the US, with a $31 million dollar annual budget, more than 700 employees, a world-class professional ballet company, exceptional community programming, and the world’s largest ballet academy.
Prior to his appointment in Boston, Mr. Hughson was Executive Director of Atlanta Ballet, where he successfully engineered the move to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, completed the sale of the Ballet’s real estate resulting in the elimination of the Company’s debt, resolved a dispute with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra, and developed the $14.8 million “Choreographing Our Future” campaign. To date, it is the most successful fundraising campaign in Atlanta Ballet’s 80-year history.
Mr. Hughson’s distinguished career in arts administration began in 1992 at the historic Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT. Over eleven years, he created the Warner’s acclaimed Centre for Arts Education, increased overall programming and fundraising capacity, and led a successful $12.5 million campaign to restore the Warner Theatre’s art deco building. He currently serves on the Warner Theatre’s Board of Corporators. Mr. Hughson went on to become the first Executive Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City before serving as Executive Director of American Repertory Ballet and The Princeton Ballet School in Princeton, NJ.
As an arts advocate, consultant, and educator, Mr. Hughson has worked extensively, including teaching and speaking engagements in the US, Europe, and South America. In 2010, he was a featured speaker at Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Conference, and represented the United States on the jury of the Russia’s Benois de la Danse in 2009. In July 2011, Mr. Hughson was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of DanceUSA, the largest service organization for professional dance in America. At DanceUSA, he serves on the Executive Committee, and as chair of the Manager’s Council for the nation’s largest dance companies. Mr. Hughson is a founding member of the National Leadership Council for Dance, and serves as a mentor for the DanceUSA Institute for Leadership Training.
Prior to his career in arts administration, Mr. Hughson had a successful dance career, performing the works of George Balanchine, Nils Christie, Choo San Goh and Antony Tudor as an artist of The Washington (DC) Ballet. He was the only American male dancer awarded a prize at the 1990 New York International Ballet Competition. Hughson received his childhood training from Sharon Dante and Donna Bonasera at the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts and the Connecticut Dance Theatre.
Hughson currently resides in Wellesley, Massachusetts with his wife, Ashley, and their two children, Aila and Tyler.
Photo by Sadie Dayton
Headshot by Liza Voll