Central School of Ballet is a thriving community of passionate people who believe in providing world-leading professional training to provide global career opportunities for young people in the dance industry. The organisation also believes that access to dance through participation or opportunities to watch performances is part of our broader remit, encouraging children, teenagers and adults of all ages and backgrounds to engage with this artform, an important part of our cultural landscape.
|Deborah Bull CBE|
|Raymond Gubbay CBE|
|Sir Derek Jacobi|
|Irek Mukhamedov OBE|
|Cassa Pancho MBE|
|Sir Bob Reid|
|Lady Sieff, President|
|Peter Kyle OBE|
|Sir Michael Wakeford|
HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO, Royal Patron
Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex became Central’s Royal Patron in 2003 and has actively supported the School and its aim to move to a new home in Southwark since that time. In February 2020, Central’s new bespoke premises in Paris Garden in the London Borough of Southwark, part of the South Bank arts community, were named in her honour at a special event she attended for students and staff. The new building is now known as “The Countess of Wessex Studios”. This reflects Central’s sincere gratitude for the continued interest and support provided by Her Royal Highness for the project and its broad objectives for exemplary dance industry training and benefit to the local community.
A full-time working member of the Royal Family, The Countess of Wessex splits her time between her work in support of The Queen and visits to a large number of her own charities and organisations, including Central School of Ballet.
Lady Sieff, President
Lady Jennifer Sieff is the President of Central School of Ballet and the former Chair of Central’s Board of Governors (from 2002 to 2008). Lady Sieff was instrumental in setting Central on its path towards finding and securing a new home and she remains closely involved with, and highly supportive of, Central’s move to the Countess of Wessex Studios in London’s South Bank arts community. As Chair of the President’s Circle, Lady Sieff is an ambassador and advocate for Central and its students – the future stars of dance. In addition to Lady Sieff’s love of ballet and opera her other interests include horseracing, tennis and bridge.
(The image shows Lady Sieff at a special event with members of Central’s Board of Governors: l-r Stephen Kane, Chairman Ralph Bernard, and Philp Feeney, Central’s Composer-in-Residence)
Board of Governors
Ralph Bernard, CBE
Pim Baxter, OBE
Dr Virginia Brooke
|Mark Baldwin OBE||Former Artistic Director, Rambert|
|Sir Matthew Bourne||Artistic Director, New Adventures|
|Carole Gable||Gable Repertoire|
|David Nixon OBE||Artistic Director, Northern Ballet|
|Ashley Page OBE||International Choreographer|
|Sharon Watson MBE||Principal, Northern School of Contemporary Dance|
Mark Osterfield, Executive Director
Mark Osterfield was appointed Executive Director for the Central School of Ballet in March 2020. Mark has spent his career managing leading arts organisations and facilitating change for the public benefit with social, cultural and economic impact. He worked on the major refurbishment of Camden’s Swiss Cottage Central Library that was completed in 2003. As Executive Director Tate St Ives Mark championed the refurbishment and extension of the iconic gallery, winning Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 as a result of his leadership. Since 2018 he has worked as a consultant and interim Director for a number of visual arts organisations including Spike Island, and Wysing Arts Centre.
Having studied ballet as a child, including a short stint at the Royal Ballet School, Mark read English at Keble College, Oxford, and then took a second degree in Fine Art at Middlesex University. Mark plans to bring this experience to the new role at Central, supporting young people to achieve excellence as dancers, whilst seeking to broaden Central School of Ballet’s reach and engagement with diverse communities, from its new premises in Southwark on the South Bank.
Christopher Marney, Artistic Director
Christopher is Artistic Director of Central School of Ballet, having studied as a dancer under the direction of Christopher Gable, and completed his Master’s Degree in Choreography at Central. As a dancer Chris has worked for Balletboyz, Gothenburg Ballet, Ballet Biarritz, Bern Ballet, Michael Clark Company and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures where he has danced many principal roles. During this time he has danced in works by choreographers such as William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian and Nacho Duato to name a few. His final performance was in 2017 with Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion where he danced the Faun in Nijinsky’s L’Apres Midi d’un Faun.
The Critics Circle National Dance Awards nominated him for Outstanding Performance in Modern Dance two years running as well as being included in Dance Europe’s Outstanding Male Dancer 2013 list. As a choreographer he has created works for Ballet Black, Images of Dance, English National Ballet’s Emerging dancer competition, Regensburg Opera House and the Edinburgh festival. In London’s West-End Chris has choreographed McQueen The Play, Tell Me on a Sunday, Hotel Follies and he was the Associate Choreographer for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. He was named associate artist of the UK Foundation for Dance in 2009.