Royal New Zealand Ballet executive director Frances Turner has resigned after two years leading the company.

During that time there was some artistic upheaval, with about 16 dancers leaving the company at the end of last year.

An independent review cleared the company in March in respect of accusations of workplace bullying and reports of an exodus of unhappy dancers.

Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) chairman Steven Fyfe announced today that Turner was returning to Auckland to pursue new opportunities and to be with family.


The board had accepted the resignation with regret, Fyfe said, but understood that family came first.

"Frances has given fresh perspectives to the RNZB, and a lot of progress has been made in her time with the RNZB."

Fyfe said Turner had brought great insight and inspiration to the role and had engineered a lot of positive change during her time at the RNZB during challenging circumstances.

Turner said during her time with RNZB they had delivered some great international works telling New Zealand stories.

She said they had lifted the bar with sold out productions such as The Wizard of Oz, Giselle, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and The Piano: the ballet.

"On the business side, we've grown and sustained wonderful partnerships with our sponsors and funders," she said.

"I've particularly enjoyed working with Ryman Healthcare and the creative way in which they use their relationship with the RNZB.

"We've also diversified our revenue streams to give the RNZB additional financial


Turner said she was proud of the "significant expansion" of the education programme, which included working in prisons and offering audio-described performances for the blind and visually impaired.

Artistic director Patricia Barker said she felt fortunate to have been supported by Turner during her first year in the role.

"She has introduced me to New Zealand and to this country's multi-faceted arts scene and has made me feel truly at home."

After two-and-a-half years leading the company, Turner will leave her post in September.