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About ISPA - ISPA International Society for the Performing Arts


CEO Greeting

David Baile

Welcome to ISPA, the International Society for the Performing Arts, and thank you for visiting our website! While ISPA is very much about the personal connection, electronic communication and social media are key to keeping us connected throughout the year.

ISPA is a global network of more than 500 leaders in the performing arts with representation from more than 185 cities and all regions of the globe. ISPA members include facilities, performing arts organizations, artist managers, festivals, funders, consultants and other professionals working in the performing arts.

But what does that mean?

ISPA is:

  • A meeting place – we hold two Congresses every year – one in New York and one in a different global city. In addition we hold a number of regional events every year.
  • Your resource for expanding your personal and professional network
  • Where you will learn about performing arts in different regions of the world
  • How you keep up to date on issues, challenges, and solutions from your colleagues around the world
  • About facilitating emerging, mid-career, and established leaders in their careers both locally and internationally
  • Stronger with your participation!

As we approach our 75th anniversary, I hope you’ll join us at ISPA, where you will discover your next great idea!

About David


The mission of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) is to strengthen the performing arts globally through the advancement of leadership, the exchange of ideas, and by fostering a diverse and engaged membership.


To be a leading global network of diverse cultural professionals, reflecting the entire ecosystem of the performing arts. This network will strengthen communities, and further develop and promote the appreciation and recognition of the importance of the arts to society.


As an organization we aspire to uphold a set of commonly held values as follows:


Professional Integrity and Excellence

Acting with honesty, integrity, and openness to achieve the highest quality in our own work and in that of our members'

Collaboration and Cooperation

Promoting collaboration, cooperation and partnership among members and with others globally

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Proactively ensuring the right of all members to participate without discrimination, including with respect to: political and/or religious beliefs, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic circumstances, national origin, race, age, or disability

Strategic Plan

The strategic plan was adopted by the Board of Directors at its meeting in May 2017 in Montreal. The plan articulates three specific goals and outlines the strategic framework through which we will achieve the goals. The plan will guide ISPA's priorities through 2021.

View the plan

Organizational Effectivenes

ISPA is committed to transparency and clarity. We believe that as custodians of our members’ fees and recipient of contributions from the broader public, we have a responsibility to the proper stewardship of these funds. Click below to review financial information from our most recently audited fiscal year as well as request additional information.

Learn More

ISPA Sustainability

ISPA acknowledges the existence of climate change and will contribute to the stewardship of our planet in the various aspects of our day-to-day operations as well as our congresses, both in New York and internationally. Where possible, we strive to limit emissions, conserve water, use renewable energy sources, move toward zero waste, reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Look for the leaf symbol () in our congress information to find ISPA’s sustainability in action.

ISPA Joins Culture Declares Emergency

At its annual general meeting on January 16, 2020, the membership unanimously approved a motion from the floor stating:

ISPA declares a climate and ecological emergency. We are in a state of global climate crisis and we are on the brink of causing irreversible damage to our planet, its atmosphere, its inhabitants and our future. We will develop and implement a set of intentions and actions for our congress in 2021.

Culture Declares Emergency

ISPA has formally registered and encourages other organization to visit the Culture Declares Emergency website to register.

Leadership - Board of Directors

Tisa Ho
Board Chair

Executive Director
Hong Kong Arts Festival

Alicia Adams
Vice Chair

Vice President, International Programming & Dance
John F Kennedy Center

Matthew VanBesien
Treasurer/ Secretary

UMS at the University of Michigan

David Baile

Chief Executive Officer

Ane Alsløv

Senior Advisor
Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces

Kai Amberla

Executive Director
Finland Festivals

Jim Beirne MBE

Chief Executive
Live Theatre

Collette Brennan

Chief Executive Officer
Abbotsford Convent Foundation

Joshua Dachs

Fisher Dachs Associates

Rebecca Dawson

Executive Director

Judy Harquail

Ontario Presents

Cindy Hwang

InPulse Creatives
Saudi Arabia

Emil Kang

Program Director
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Gaurav Kripalani

Artistic/Managing Director
Singapore International Festival of Arts

Vivien Ku

C. F. Koo Foundation
Taiwan, ROC

Alfonso Leal del Ojo

Chief Executive
The English Concert

Igor Lozada Rivera Melo

Universidad de Guadalajara (Cultura UDG)

Allen Moon

Director of Touring & Artist Management
David Lieberman Artists' Representatives

Shoshana Polanco

International Producer
La Teatreria

Steinunn Ragnarsdóttir

Chief Executive Officer
Icelandic Opera

Simon Reinink

Managing Director
Het Concertgebouw N.V.

Alisa Regas

Associate Director
Pomegranate Arts, Inc.

Aurea Vieira-Goncalves

International Advisor
SESC - Servico Social do Comercio

Max Wagner

Managing Director
Gasteig Muenchen GmbH

Michelle Witt

Executive and Artistic Director
Meany Center for the Performing Arts

Hanako Yamaguchi

Director, Music Programming
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

Board Leadership History

1949   Patrick Hayes
1951   Charles Sink
1952   Marvin McDonald
1954   William Huff

1956  Roland Chesley
1958  Ralph Frost
1960  Archie Jones
1962  Jack Trevithick

1964  Harold Jordan
1966  John Sabel
1968  William Martin
1970  Gail Rector

1972  Patrick Hayes
1974  Walter Pierce
1976  Clinton Norton
1978  James Bernhard

1979  Earl Williams
1981  Barry Hoffman
1983  Douglas Wheeler
1985  Joseph Golden

1987  Geoffrey Butler
1988  Richard Snyder
1989  Toby Mattox
1990  Pebbles Wadsworth

1991  Richard Pulford
1992  Arnold Breman
1993  Eckard Heintz
1994  Wallace Chappell
1996  Martijn Sanders

1998  Judith Allen
1999  Charles Cutts
2000  Douglas Kridler
2002  Elizabeth Bradley
2004  Graham Sheffield

2006  Martha Jones
2008  Benson Puah
2010  Susan Stockton

2013  Anthony Sargent
2016  Mary Lou Aleskie
2019  Tisa Ho


Committee participants must be a member in good standing and work full-time in the performing arts or related field. In addition to the committees listed below, there are three sub-committees, Fellowship, Annual Congress Planning, and Pitch New Works which report to the Program Committee and an Investment Committee which reports to the Finance Committee. The Board Chair and CEO are Ex-Officio on all standing committees. Interested in serving on a committee? Contact David Baile at


Simon Reinink, Het Concertgebouw, Netherlands

Committee Members

Howard Jang, BANFF Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada
Jenny Jamison, Scottish Ensemble, UK
Matthew VanBesien, UMS at the University of Michigan, USA
Joshua Dachs, Fisher Dachs Associates, USA


Alisa Regas, Pomegranate Arts, INC., USA

Committee Members

Leonard Auerbach, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, USA
Dani Fecko, Fascinator Management, Canada
Olga Garay-English, OMGArtsPlus, USA
Rika Iino, Sozo Artists, Inc., USA
Aurea Vieira-Goncalves, SESC - Servico Social do Comercio, Brazil
Denisse Flores Somarriba, Cultura UDG, Mexico
Emma Stenning, Soulpepper Theater, Canada
Liz Hawkins, Adelaide Festival Centre, Australia


Tisa Ho, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, China

Committee Members

Alicia B. Adams, John F Kennedy Center, USA
Jim Beirne, Live Theatre, UK
Rebecca Dawson, Punchdrunk, UK
Alisa Regas, Pomegranate Arts, INC., USA
Shoshana Polanco, La Teatreria, Mexico
Steinunn B. Ragnarsdóttir, Icelandic Opera, Iceland
Simon Reinink, Het Concertgebouw N.V., Netherlands
Matthew VanBesien, UMS at the University of Michigan, USA
Michelle M. Witt, Meany Center for the Performing Arts, USA


Matthew VanBesienUMS at the University of Michigan, USA

Committee Members

Fannie Bellefeuille, RUBBERBANDance Group, Canada
Ragnar Berthling, Musikcentrum Öst, Sweden
Laura Mackenzie-Stuart, Creative Scotland, UK
Alfonso Leal del Ojo, The English Concert, UK
Colleen A. Smith, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Canada


Steinunn B. Ragnarsdóttir, Icelandic Opera, Iceland


Ane Alsløv, Danish Agency for Culture, Denmark

Committee Members

Rasmus Adrian, Stormen Konserthus, Norway
Paul Fitzpatrick, Imaginate, UK
Martin Inthamoussu, SODRE, Uruguay
Carl Giegold,Threshold Acoustics LLC, USA
Andrew Manning, European Concert Hall Organization, Belgium
Max Wagner, Gasteig Muenchen GmbH, Germany


Jim Beirne, Live Theatre, UK


Gaurav Kripalani, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Singapore

Committee Members

Mary Lou Aleskie, Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College, USA
Tisa Ho, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society, China
Judy Harquail, Ontario Presents, Canada
Allen Moon, David Lieberman Artists' Representatives, USA
Anthony Sargent CBE, Canada


Rebecca Dawson, Punchdrunk, UK
Shoshana Polanco, La Teatreria, Mexico

Committee Members

Kai Amberla, Finland Festivals, Finland
Cathie Boyd, Cryptic, UK
Tim Brinkman, G Live Guildford, UK
Pamela Lopez, GAM, Chile
Daniel Valeriano, Orquestra Moderna, Brazil
Simon Abrahams, Melbourne Fringe, Australia
Cindy Hwang, InPulse Creatives LLC., USA
Michael Stevens, Fiery Angel Ltd., UK
Hanako Yamaguchi, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., USA


Michelle W. Witt, Meany Center for the Performing Arts, USA

Committee Members

Lene Bang Henningsen, Lene Bang Org, Denmark
Thorben Dittes, Sage Gateshead, UK
Kristopher McDowell, KMP Artists, USA
Mengtong Guan, Ping Pong Productions, China
Govin Ruben, TerryandTheCuz, Australia
Jaume Soler, SoundArts Consulting Inc., USA
Rachel Cooper, Asia Society, USA
Annette Corbett, Rough Information, UK
Peter Wilgotsson, Östgötamusiken, Sweden


David Baile

Chief Executive Officer
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David Baile is the Chief Executive Officer of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) based in New York. ISPA is an international network of more than 400 leaders in the performing arts from 50 countries. Prior to joining ISPA in 2007, David enjoyed a 20-year career in the arts in Toronto in both management and consulting roles and in a variety of disciplines including contemporary dance, theatre, literary arts, and music. For the 7 years prior to ISPA, David was the General Manager of Opera Atelier, an internationally renowned company noted for its period productions of baroque opera/ballet. Prior to this appointment, David was the Managing Director of Factory Theatre. In his current capacity, he is a frequent speaker and contributor with a variety of global organizations including the Shanghai Performing Arts Fair, Association of British Orchestras, Sphinx Organization and Association of Asian Pacific Performing Arts Centres to name but a few. He holds an Honours B.A. in Urban Development from the University of Western Ontario. In addition to his professional involvement in the arts, David is also very active with volunteer positions including past membership on the Mayor’s Round Table on Arts and Culture (Toronto) and positions on the Board of the Toronto Arts Council (Chair of the Large Institutions Committee), and OPERA America. He is a Chief Executive Global Fellow of National Arts Strategies and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Master of Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University.

Marissa Oliver

Manager of Membership & Events
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Marissa comes to ISPA with experience as Operations Officer for the Resettlement and Integration Technical Assistance (RITA) Project and Regional Program Officer at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). During her time at the IRC, Marissa organized the IRC’s Annual Resettlement Conference and 17 workshops and trainings in 12 European and Eurasian countries. She oversaw all administrative aspects of the RITA project, including coordination of finance, human resources, information systems, building vendor relationships, travel scheduling, supply chain systems, website management, and all workshop logistics.

Prior to her tenure at the IRC, she coordinated the evaluation processes for over 1300 schools at the International Baccalaureate’s Global Centre for the Americas region, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Romania, and interned at the Museum of Photographic Arts in their Development Department. Marissa enjoys taking ballet and modern dance classes and her art was recently published in Adbusters Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in International Development Studies from George Washington University and is proficient in Spanish and Romanian.

Nora Fleury

Program and Advancement Senior Lead
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Nora Fleury is the Program and Advancement Senior Lead for the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA). Prior to joining ISPA, she held various roles in programming, fundraising, and marketing with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Carnegie Mellon University Master of Arts Management Program, 92nd Street Y, Luminato Festival, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. She has a Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University. Having lived and worked in the United States, Canada, and France, Nora values the richness of cultural diversity and the role of the arts in connecting a global community.

Allegra Levy

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Allegra Levy is excited to join ISPA. She comes to ISPA with experience as both an artist and an arts administrator. Most recently, she worked at the United Nations International School, where she served as Music Department Coordinator and Assistant to the Director of the Arts. She previously interned at the international booking agency Ted Kurland Associates, Litchfield Performing Arts, and Advocacy Lab, a human rights nonprofit. A jazz singer and composer, Allegra is a recording artist for the SteepleChase label. She has performed internationally and served as jazz artist in residence at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music. She is a proud and active member of the Women in Jazz Organization (WIJO). Allegra looks forward to contributing her passion for the performing arts and using arts as a vehicle for change in the world.

Kally (Kangdeng) Zhao

Communication and Events Lead
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Born and raised in China, Kally (Kangdeng) Zhao has pursued her Bachelor of Science degree in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. During her undergraduate career, she has studied in the United States, France, China and Australia as a Global Media Scholar.

She served in various leadership roles in producing, fundraising and marketing with student organizations, arts projects and startups. In Shanghai, China, she co-founded filMarathon, an annual student film educational program. In New York, she held the position of Director of Business Development at CineCina Film Festival, Associate Producer of the 2019 Mandarin Musical Debut: Man of La Mancha, and President of NYU Chinese Students & Scholars Association.