Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director receives lifetime achievement award

Our Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding was honoured with a lifetime achievement award by the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA).

He received the International Citation of Merit for distinguished service to the profession at a ceremony held at TheTimesCenter in New York last month. “He is the international leader in presenting all forms of dance, from small to large scale,” read his nominating statement.

The honour was bestowed on him in recognition of “unique lifetime achievement that has enriched the international performing arts”.

Margaret Selby gives Alistair ISPA’s lifetime achievement award. Photo: Christopher Duggan.

“In 2004, when Sadler’s Wells placed Alistair in charge, he took over a somewhat sleepy institution that was ripe for change. Today, because of his vision and determination, Sadler’s Wells is one of the most respected dance institutions in the world,” said arts management agent Margaret Selby, who presented him with the award.

“Currently [working on] launching a fourth theater, a new centre for choreographic practice and a hip hop theatre academy, the first of its kind in the UK, Sadler’s Wells is revered for programming that fills houses with enthusiastic audiences. Since 2005, Alistair has driven the commissioning, producing and co-producing of more than 170 productions that are continuing to tour across the globe. And because of his unmatched reputation for risk taking, Sadler’s Wells is the model for how producing and presenting houses can and should thrive.

Alistair is persistent in his search for the art and the artists that he can believe in. Crystal Pite, Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Hofesh Shechter, Matthew Bourne and Jonzi D are just a few of the stellar artists of our time whom Alistair has encouraged to create new work. Choreographers and dancers adore him and Sadler’s Wells is where they want to be.

We all adore him.  And we are grateful for his relentless support of all the dance art forms that he has championed and that we cherish.  As it has been said, Alistair is ‘the visionary who made us fall in love with dance’.”

ISPA is a global network of 500 leaders in the performing arts, with representation from more than 185 cities and all regions of the globe. Its mission is to strengthen the performing arts globally through the advancement of leadership, the exchange of ideas and by fostering a diverse and engaged membership. The organisation helps professional and personal development in the performing arts through its membership programme, bi-annual congresses and other projects, including regional initiatives and a sought after fellowship.

You can read more about Alistair’s career on our website here.