Jan 262019

Chair - Conservatoire for Dance & Drama

The Conservatoire for Dance & Drama (www.cdd.ac.uk) is seeking an energetic, experienced and informed leader to chair its governing body (“the Board”).

The Conservatoire for Dance & Drama comprises six Member schools and two Affiliate schools who provide world-leading education and specialist vocational training in dance, drama, circus arts and technical theatre. They operate as separate legal entities under the umbrella of the Conservatoire. The Conservatoire enables them to uphold the highest standards in education and training, collaborate artistically and share resources, whilst retaining their distinctive identities, traditions and expertise.

We wish to appoint a new Chair of the Board from November 2019 to succeed James Smith CBE, who has reached the maximum limit of his term.

Chair of the Board

The new Chair will be expected to build on the Conservatoire’s recent successes, help its strategic development, and lead the Board through a period of change in the regulation of UK higher education. A general role description for the role of Chair may be found here (<link to JD>).

The Conservatoire has ambitious plans to submit an application for taught-degree awarding powers in the near term. Focused work toward this goal has been a key focus of the Board’s business throughout the previous year. It is expected that the Board will continue to focus its efforts on this initiative through at least the remainder of the academic year as the Conservatoire seeks to ensure consistent high standards of teaching and learning and the best possible student experience of higher education across the piece in preparation for scrutiny.

The successful candidate will have the passion, professional expertise and networks, and the commitment to the vision, strategic goals and values of the Conservatoire to help advocate and drive forward the changes to which the Conservatoire is committed. Ideal candidates will be able to demonstrate excellent leadership and interpersonal skills with experience in leading on strategic issues within a complex organisation. They will be able to demonstrate an understanding of governance in complex organisations, and awareness of the principles of public life, and a strong commitment to, and affinity for, higher education.


The Board normally meets four times during the academic year (in November, February, May and July), in addition to a strategy day in October. The Board is supported by four committees – Audit, Finance, Nominations and Remuneration. The Chair may elect to be a member of the latter three or to be in attendance, although this is not required.

The Chair is encouraged to attend Conservatoire and school events and to bring friends, colleagues and others who could advocate for the Conservatoire and its work.

The normal time commitment is estimated approximately one day per week, although this may vary depending on the amount and urgency of business arising. Some travel within the UK should be expected, as the Conservatoire has schools in London, Leeds and Bristol with ambitions to expand its profile nationally.


The appointment process will involve a meeting with the Conservatoire’s Chief Executive, David Ruebain, followed by a panel interview. The selected candidate will be appointed to the Board initially as an independent governor, enabling a period of “shadowing” the incumbent Chair who will step down from his role in November 2019.

The Conservatoire does not remunerate its Board members, although reasonable out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed. The position is for three years in the first instance, renewable twice for total service of no more than nine years as a member of the Board.

Your application

Please email Kathleen Formosa, Clerk to the Board of Governors (Kathleen.formosa@cdd.ac.uk) with your CV and a brief letter (no more than 2 pages of A4) outlining your interest in the Conservatoire and its approach to higher education, the contribution you hope to make and any relevant skills and experience by 7 February 2019.

We anticipate inviting shortlisted candidates for discussion with the Chief Executive the week of 25 February 2019 with panel interviews to take place shortly thereafter. It is hoped that the successful applicant will join the Board at its meeting on 15 May 2019.

The Conservatoire is committed to diversity in its membership and welcomes applications from all suitably experienced and motivated individuals. Reasonable adjustments for disability will be implemented for those who may require them

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