New RSA Chair
The RSC, which Vikki took over in 2003, now has a turnover of approximately £50m a year, employs more than 900 staff and produces about 20 productions every year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon. It performs regularly in London, on tour in the UK, and abroad, particularly in the US.
“Following the many achievements of Luke Johnson during his period as chair, I am delighted to have been invited to become chair of the RSA,” Vikki said. “I am looking forward enormously to taking up my post and working with Matthew Taylor, the staff and the board to fulfill the ambitions of this influential organisation. I am committed to exploring every opportunity to work with the Fellowship to achieve our stated ambition of creating links between the arts, manufacturing and commerce to create a more principled and prosperous society.”
Prior to her appointment at the RSC, Vikki was joint chief executive of the Royal Court Theatre, the country’s foremost theatre for the development of new writing. Until recently, she was a board member of the Society of London Theatre, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. She continues to serve as a member of Warwick University Council and is a long-standing Fellow of the RSA. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham and became a doctor of letters in December 2009.
She has advised the Arts Council and other stakeholders and arts boards and has been vice chairman of both the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and the Young Vic theatre. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012 for services to theatre.
“The RSA is going from strength to strength and, in Vikki Heywood, the board has chosen a leader with the enthusiasm, skills and reputation to achieve even more,” said RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor. “Following the fantastic contribution made by Luke Johnson, I look forward to working with Vikki to take the society to even greater heights.”
Luke Johnson, the outgoing chair, wished his successor well. “Vikki’s experience in running large and complex organisations such as the RSC and her work with local enterprise partnerships will put her in good stead to chair the RSA,” he said. “I wish Vikki all the best of luck in building on the RSA’s excellent work in education as well as the society’s renewed focus on the field of enterprise, a topic that is both true to the society’s roots and vital for these complex and challenging times.”
Vikki has hit the ground running with a visit the RSA’s Arrow Vale Academy in Worcestershire, presiding over the ceremony for this year’s Royal Designers for Industry and chairing her first board meeting.
There will be an interview with Vikki in the March edition of the Journal.