Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Playhouse Square Names Royal Albert Hall Chief Executive Craig Hassall as New President and Chief Executive

Playhouse Square Names Royal Albert Hall Chief Executive Craig Hassall as New President and Chief Executive

Hassall will head one of North America’s top performing arts centers in Playhouse Square, which is the second largest performing arts center in the US.

Royal Albert Hall Chief Executive Craig Hassall has been named Playhouse Square's new president and chief executive officer, replacing retiring CEO Gina Vernaci.

Hassall, 57, has held senior roles in performing arts management at some of the world's most recognizable venues, events and organizations, including his current role at one of Europe's leading venues. He now will head one of North America's top performing arts centers in Playhouse Square, which is the second largest performing arts center in the United States with 11 performance spaces.

"Craig is a visionary and innovator who brings unmatched ability in operations, a broad, international experience base and deep relationships across the performing arts industry," said Amy Brady, chair of the Playhouse Square Board of Trustees and Chief Information Officer at KeyBank. "We are thrilled to bring one of the world's top artistic leaders to Cleveland as we continue to build on our position of strength and expand our local, national and international impact."

Home to seven resident companies and celebrating its Centennial anniversary in 2022, Playhouse Square also has the largest touring Broadway season ticket base in North America. Playhouse Square has been an economic catalyst for downtown Cleveland by developing the theater district to include the Crowne Plaza Hotel, street level dining, office space and residential properties. This includes a 34-story apartment tower known as The Lumen, the largest residential construction project undertaken downtown in 40 years.

"Playhouse Square is a dynamic, visionary organization with a great history of accomplishment and leadership in the performing arts industry," said Hassall. "It's poised to play an even bigger role and I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Board of Trustees and this talented staff to take Playhouse Square to the next level."

Under his leadership, the Royal Albert Hall has grown its catalog of events produced, increased revenues and broadened the reach of the venue to become a major destination within London.

Hassall will relocate to the Cleveland area to join Playhouse Square in early 2023 after completing the London Christmas season and the bedding in of the annual Cirque du Soleil season.

Hassall is a mainstay in the international theater community, with decades of experience operating and curating major venues in Europe and Australia. In addition to his role as chief executive of the Royal Albert Hall, he also held the chief executive position at Opera Australia and was managing director of the English National Ballet. He was also chief operating officer at Raymond Gubbay Limited, a prominent commercial promoter in the UK, and held senior artistic roles for major projects including the 2000 and 2012 Olympic Games in Sydney and London.

About Playhouse Square


The largest performing arts center in the country outside of New York, the not-for-profit Playhouse Square is Northeast Ohio's destination for Broadway and more great entertainment. Playhouse Square is a champion of arts education and downtown Cleveland, and proud to be the home of Cleveland Ballet, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance, DANCECleveland, Great Lakes Theater and Tri-C JazzFest.

Regional Awards


More Hot Stories For You


Photos: First Look at HOUSE OF FLAMENKA World Premiere at the Peacock TheatrePhotos: First Look at HOUSE OF FLAMENKA World Premiere at the Peacock Theatre
September 28, 2022

'House of Flamenka' is the world premiere of a new dance spectacular, co-created and directed by dance legend Arlene Phillips, a lavish, extravagant and sexy fusion of Flamenco and Contemporary dance. The show runs through 8 October at the Peacock Theatre in the West End. Get a first look at photos here!

Photos: Get a First Look at New FROZEN Cast Members Emily Lane and Djavan van de Fliert as 'Anna' and 'Kristoff'Photos: Get a First Look at New FROZEN Cast Members Emily Lane and Djavan van de Fliert as 'Anna' and 'Kristoff'
September 28, 2022

Joining the company of Frozen in the West End are Emily Lane as Anna and Djavan van de Fliert as Kristoff, who from 28 September will play alongside Samantha Barks (Elsa) and more. Get a first look at the new cast members in character here!

Ballet Black Celebrates 20th Anniversary With New Performance At The Royal Opera HouseBallet Black Celebrates 20th Anniversary With New Performance At The Royal Opera House
September 28, 2022

Cassa Pancho's Ballet Black return to the Linbury Theatre this autumn with two new works to commemorate their twentieth anniversary. They present the Say It Loud / Black Sun mixed programme, new to the Royal Opera House, exploring the company's vibrant history and celebrating their impact on the British ballet landscape.

Ava Wong Davies Announced as Winner of the 2022 Ambassador Theatre Group Playwright's PrizeAva Wong Davies Announced as Winner of the 2022 Ambassador Theatre Group Playwright's Prize
September 28, 2022

Emerging playwright Ava Wong Davies has won the £5,000 Ambassador Theatre Group Playwright's Prize in association with Platform Presents for her play 'Graceland'.

The Unicorn Announces Four New Productions From January To July In Upcoming SeasonThe Unicorn Announces Four New Productions From January To July In Upcoming Season
September 28, 2022

The Unicorn has announced four new productions from as part of its upcoming season, including The Trial Of Josie K, Stiles And Drewe's The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Invisible Man, and Squirrel.