Ballet B.C. bids adieu to Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles

There’s been a second high-level departure from Ballet B.C. in as many months. Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, who was brought on in February to steer the company as interim executive director, has confirmed that he will not be renewing his contract with the organization. In a phone call, Wilhelm-Boyles said he was leaving of his own volition.

The news comes just six weeks after the June 4 announcement that John Alleyne, who had spent 16 years as the company’s artistic director, will not be returning next season. On July 6, Ballet B.C. announced it had hired dancer and choreographer Emily Molnar as Alleyne’s interim replacement.

“I’m going to be here until such time as my successor is identified and is able to begin,” said Wilhelm-Boyles. “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.”

Wilhelm-Boyles, who has held executive-director positions at the Alliance for Arts and Culture and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, was hired 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 before narrowly averting bankruptcy in January 2009.

Ballet B.C. board chair and president Graeme Barrit said Wilhelm-Boyles’s departure 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 is actively looking for a permanent executive director. “We’ve had inquiries out around Vancouver and across Canada, looking for a new E.D. [executive director],” he said. “It’s just a lot easier now that we’ve solidified the A.D. [artistic director] position with Emily, and Andrew is helping us look for the new E.D.”

In the meantime, the company has yet to release details of its 2009-10 season, which it has insisted will go on, albeit with a performance hiatus and without a subscription series .

Wilhelm-Boyles confirmed that the company is still waiting on gaming funds from the provincial government’s Direct Access Grant program, which remain frozen until the fall, in the wake of the May 12 election. Last year, the program provided Ballet B.C. with $50,000.