Ballet B.C. interim executive director Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles leaving company

There’s another departure looming at Ballet B.C. Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, who was brought on in February to steer the company as interim executive director, will not be signing a new contract with the organization.

In a phone call with the Straight, Wilhelm-Boyles said he was leaving of his own volition.

“My position will be posted probably some time this week,” he said, adding: “I’m going to be here until such time as my successor is identified and is able to begin. I’ve told the board that while I have other things I want to get on with doing, I believe in the company, and I’d like to continue to be helpful in whatever way they see is useful in a volunteer capacity....I’m here to be supportive.”

Wilhelm-Boyles, who has held executive director positions at the Alliance for Arts and Culture and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, was brought on to guide Ballet B.C.’s business affairs following the company’s financial crisis, which saw it temporarily lay off its artistic and administrative staff in November 2008, and narrowly avert bankruptcy in January 2009.

Last month, Wilhelm-Boyles told the Straight he was unsure whether he would remain with the company when his contract expired at the end of June. “If I leave at the end of June, I don’t want that to be perceived as leaving a sinking ship, because it’s not sinking,” he said at the time. “And I don’t want it to be perceived that I’m being totally irresponsible and walking away from something. At the same time I do have a life...to get on with.”

Ballet B.C. board chair and president Graeme Barrit said Wilhelm-Boyles’s decision was not unexpected. “Andrew was hired as interim executive director, and he told us at the time when we brought him on that he would stay with us until, I think, the third week in August,” he said. “So he’s leaving exactly when he said he was.”

Barrit said the company was now actively looking for a permanent executive director, just weeks after hiring Emily Molnar as interim artistic director earlier this month. “We’ve had inquiries out around Vancouver and across Canada, looking for a new ED,” he said. “It’s just a lot easier now that we’ve solidified the AD [artistic director] position with Emily, and Andrew is helping us look for the new ED.”

In the meantime, the company has yet to release details of its 2009-2010 season, which it has insisted will go on, albeit without a subscription series and a performance hiatus.

Wilhelm-Boyles is the second high-level departure from Ballet B.C. in as many months. On June 4, the company announced that John Alleyne, who had spent 16 years as its artistic director, would not be returning next season.

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