Welcoming three new governors to the royal ballet school

Welcoming three new Governors to The Royal Ballet School

We are pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to The Royal Ballet School’s Board of Governors.

Lady Dorfman OBE, Edward Watson MBE and Alistair Summers have been appointed to The Royal Ballet School’s Board, each of them bringing a wealth of experience in the arts, finance and philanthropic sectors.  

Each appointee brings a considerable depth and breadth of experience: Lady Dorfman OBE (Sarah), who joins as past Governor of the School and dedicated arts philanthropist; Edward Watson MBE, a globally celebrated dancer, RBS alumnus, and Guest Répétiteur with The Royal Ballet; and Alistair Summers, a proven finance leader and experienced Trustee. 

On the new appointments, Anna Birkett, Interim Chair of The Royal Ballet School, said:

We are pleased to welcome Sarah, Alistair and Edward as Governors of The Royal Ballet School. All three appointments bring valuable experience and expertise, each sharing our ambition of enhancing the School’s position at the forefront of artistic training in classical ballet while ensuring its operational and financial sustainability for the future.

Together with our existing Governors, they will play a crucial role in driving the School’s artistic, educational, student welfare, financial and development agendas as we approach our second century. I am confident their skills and knowledge will greatly benefit The Royal Ballet School, and I look forward to working with them at this important time.

Lady Dorfman OBE

Welcoming three new governors to the royal ballet school

Sarah is making a welcome return to the Board of The Royal Ballet School, bringing extensive philanthropic experience in the sector and support of holistic healthcare.

Sarah has been one of the UK’s significant supporters of ballet and dance for many years. She first became involved in The Royal Ballet School’s activities as a donor in 2006 before joining the School’s Development Committee. She joined the Board of Governors in 2012, became Deputy Chair in 2019, and retired from the Board in March 2021.

In her 15-year journey, Sarah has developed a deep knowledge of The Royal Ballet School, supporting and funding initiatives including student bursaries, the redevelopment of White Lodge, the School’s ‘Shortfall Appeal’ following the financial crisis in 2009, the purchase and development of Aud Jebsen Hall, and the launch of the Healthy Dancer Programme.

Sarah has also supported several arts organisations, including The Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Academy of Dance, English National Ballet and Northern Ballet.

In 2022, Lady Dorfman joined the Royal Academy of Dance as Chair of the Patrons Group and was appointed OBE for services to ballet and dance in the 2023 New Year Honours List.

Edward Watson MBE

Welcoming three new governors to the royal ballet school

Edward Watson MBE is a globally celebrated dancer and former Principal of The Royal Ballet, Royal Ballet School alumnus and Guest Répétiteur with The Royal Ballet.

Edward started his ballet training with The Royal Ballet School as a Junior Associate before attending both White Lodge and Upper School. He joined The Royal Ballet in 1994, was promoted to Principal in 2005, and appointed Répétiteur in 2020.

Edward became a Guest Répétiteur in 2024, working with The Royal Ballet and other leading dance companies worldwide. His repertory includes major works by Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan, and he has created roles in works by Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Kim Brandstrup, Siobhan Davies, Alastair Marriott, Cathy Marston, David Dawson, Arthur Pita, Javier De Frutos and Ashley Page, among others.

He has received numerous awards, including an Olivier Award in 2012 for his performance in The Metamorphosis and Critics’ Circle Dance Awards in 2001, 2008, and 2022. In 2015, he was awarded a Benois de la Danse for his performance in The Winter’s Tale and an MBE for services to dance.

Alistair Summers

Welcoming three new governors to the royal ballet school

Alistair Summers is a finance professional with considerable experience in school governance and management.

As a qualified Chartered Accountant who trained with PricewaterhouseCoopers (Coopers & Lybrand), Alistair joins the Board of The Royal Ballet School after more than thirty years of experience in private practice as a Partner of Summers & Co. A fellow of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Alistair advises clients on finances, taxes, negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, business strategy and personal affairs.

He is an experienced Trustee, having served numerous years with The Prince’s Trust and The King’s Trust International (formerly Prince’s Trust International), The National Youth Theatre, St Paul’s School Barnes, Henrietta Barnett School, Royal Free Charity and the Accelerate and Access Foundation.

Alistair has extensive senior experience in the charity sector, having served as Deputy Chair at both St Paul’s School and the National Youth Theatre. He was the founding Chair of both The Prince’s Trust and The King’s Trust International (formerly Prince’s Trust International) Risk and Audit Committees.