The Barbican Centre in London has announced that its Artistic Director Will Gompertz is to leave this autumn 2023.
Gompertz, who is to become the new Director of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, joined the Barbican in 2021, helping reopen the Centre after the pandemic.
Under his leadership the Barbican has hosted the world premiere of The RSC’s My Neighbour Totoro, which broke box office records and is back for another run from 21 November 2023.
It has also been announced that the Barbican is forging a three year deal with West End producer and theatre owner Trafalgar Entertainment, to produce new work together.
Trafalgar has already booked the Barbican Theatre three summers in a row, with Anything Goes playing in 2021 and 2022, and this summer the Barbican is hosting the Broadway-to-London run of Michael R Jackson’s A Strange Loop, running to 9 September 2023.
Will Gompertz joined the Barbican from the BBC where he was Arts Editor from 2009, and prior to that he was a Director of the Tate Galleries for seven years.
Claire Spencer, CEO of the Barbican, said in a press statement: “Will is known to everybody at the Barbican for his boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm. The generosity of spirit he has shown me personally in the 15 months we’ve worked together is unmatched. We’re very sad to say goodbye to him but excited to see what he will achieve in his new role, and we wish him all the best. He leaves behind him a strong legacy of projects delivered and still in development and his positive impact on the Barbican will be felt for a long time to come.”
Tom Sleigh, Chair of the Barbican Board, said: “Will’s artistic vision has re-invigorated the Barbican’s artistic and educational offer. I couldn’t be more pleased for him to be taking up this nationally important new role, and want to thank him on behalf of the Board and the City of London Corporation for all that he has done for the Barbican, including stepping up as Joint Interim Managing Director for nine months from September 2021. It is wonderful to see talented members of the Barbican team go on to great things elsewhere, and we wish him well.”
Will Gompertz said: “I am delighted to be joining Sir John Soane’s Museum at such an exciting time, following decades of restoration across the renowned architect’s extraordinary house and collection led by its brilliant conservators, curators, and previous directors. I look forward to championing the Museum and Soane’s vision, bringing audiences to our newly-restored home and taking Soane’s vision out into the world.”
The President of the Royal Academy of Arts, Rebecca Salter PRA, had to approve Will Gompertz’s appointment, and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have appointed him as the Museum’s Accounting Officer.