SDUK’s Piers Haggard to step down

Stage Directors UK chairman Piers Haggard Piers Haggard
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Stage Directors UK founder and chief executive Piers Haggard is to step down from the post.

Haggard said he was “stepping back” from the role to spend more time with his family. He founded SDUK in 2014, first becoming its chair and later its chief executive.

He said that fees had been quickly identified as the major issue affecting directors and said a 2015 SDUK report on pay had “caused a massive stir and started a slow increase in directors’ fees”. Haggard added that he hoped a forthcoming 2017 rate card would “accelerate” this increase. He also said the organisation had made “huge strides in the opera world”.

Under Haggard, SDUK has launched a new set of clauses aimed at strengthening directors’ rights in a show’s development stages, and a standard contract for assistant directors.

“It is because of these substantial successes, and a steadily growing membership now approaching the 400 mark, that I finally feel able to take a back seat. So I will hand over the job of SDUK’s chief executive early next year, to (yes, it’s true) spend a bit more time with my lovely family,” he said.

He added: “I shall not disappear, however. I know that I will not be able to live without the adrenalin rush I always get when I fight the director’s corner. So I am not saying goodbye, just stepping back.”

SDUK co-chairs Kate Saxon and Jeremy Herrin said the organisation could not “have asked for a better champion for director’s rights than Piers”.

“He’s worked tirelessly to set SDUK up, from his rallying cry to all the directors in the country to stand up and be heard, to utilising his excellent industry contacts to get important and over-due conversations started; Piers created change and opened up opportunities for all directors to continue to do the same. Piers has changed our disparate weak position to one of strength and unity,” they said.

SDUK is now in the process of recruiting a successor to Haggard and said the candidate would be charged with “continuing Piers’ work to establish SDUK as a powerful defender of stage directors’ rights and concerns, while working within the budgetary realities of a subscription-funded organisation”.

The organisation is offering a pro-rata salary of £52,000 a year.

Last month, SDUK began a year-long research project aimed at identifying training gaps in the sector.