Royal Albert Hall (RAH) CEO Craig Hassall is to step down from his current position next year in order to take on the role as president and chief executive of Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio in the US.
Hassall joined the RAH in 2017, having been CEO of Opera Australia. During his six-year tenure, Hassall has overseen an extensive programme of refurbishment of the Grade I-listed venue, as well as lead post-pandemic recovery after the first closure of the hall since the Second World War.
“It has been a huge privilege to lead the Hall through some great times – and some daunting ones!” Hassall said. “The building work has been really important: that came about in part due to the need for increased security after the Manchester Arena bombing. We’ve made the hall pedestrian-friendly and more accessible and I’m delighted with it. What you put on stage is obviously important but so is how you welcome people to the venue.’
Hassall, 57, will next lead one of North America’s top performing arts centres in Playhouse Square, the second largest theatre district in the US, with 11 venues in total. He replaces outgoing CEO Gina Vernaci, who retires in February after a 39-year career with the organisation. Hassall will relocate to Cleveland to join Playhouse Square in early 2023, after bedding in the annual Cirque du Soleil season.
The RAH will announce plans for Hassall’s replacement shortly.