Shane Jewell Will Be Oregon Ballet Theatre’s New Executive Director

Jewell’s tenure will begin on Jan. 9, 2023.

With Oregon Ballet Theatre’s interim executive director, Thomas Bruner, returning to his private practice, OBT has named a new executive director: Shane Jewell, who recently served as general manager of the Gibney Company (which specializes in contemporary dance) in New York City.

“It is an absolute honor to join the incredible team at Oregon Ballet Theatre during such a momentous time in the organization’s trajectory,” Jewell stated in a press release. “I am so excited to immerse in the community and culture of Portland and to work diligently with the dedicated staff and board to help build upon the rich history here while our eyes are firmly fixed on the future.”

Jewell has over 20 years of experience in performing arts administration, which includes eight years captaining dance companies. He will officially become OBT’s executive director Jan. 9.

“These are exciting times as our artform evolves to meet the needs of our community and serves new audiences. While we are proud of the progress OBT has made, there remains a lot of work ahead,” stated Cate Sweeney, who serves as the chair of OBT’s board of trustees. “After a thorough search led by Arts Consulting Group, Shane emerged as the clear leader to usher in OBT’s next chapter.”

In light of Jewell’s hiring, OBT intends to announce a permanent artistic director by the end of the year. The company is currently led by an interim artistic director, Peter Franc. OBT fans were startled when Kevin Irving, the company’s artistic director of eight years, departed in 2021 (he was later named executive director of the Portland Columbia Symphony).

Related: Two of Portland’s Biggest Dance Companies Penned a Letter Expressing Concern Over the Departure of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.