Baroness Deborah Bull

Assistant Principal (Culture & Engagement), King's College London and Former Creative Director at the Royal Opera House


Deborah Bull first performed in public at the age of four and took her first ballet class three years later. She joined The Royal Ballet School at the age of eleven, graduating into the company in 1981. Over the next twenty years, first in the corps de ballet and later as soloist and then principal, she danced roles across The Royal Ballet’s repertoire, from traditional classics to contemporary new work. She was particularly noted for her performances in the works of William Forsythe, including Steptext, which earned her an Olivier Award nomination.

In 2001, on retirement from the stage, she was invited to join the executive team of the Royal Opera House to establish ROH2, a programme of work focusing specifically on new artists, new audiences and new art. In 2008, she became Creative Director of the Royal Opera House where her remit included a wide range of activity designed to open up the Royal Opera House, including the annual BP Summer Big Screens and Olympic programming. Deborah Bull joined King’s College in 2012. As Assistant Principal (Culture & Engagement), King’s College London, Deborah provides leadership across the university to extend and enrich its collaborative activities with the cultural sector; and leads on development of the university’s external engagement profile within London, maximising the potential of King’s location in the heart of the city.

In addition to her work at King’s College London, she is a writer and broadcaster, writing and presenting several series for BBC television and radio, including the award winning The Dancer’s Body and Travels with my Tutu. She is the author of The Vitality Plan (1998), Dancing Away (1998) and (with Luke Jennings) The Faber Pocket Guide to Ballet (2005). She writes for a range of newspapers and magazines and was on the judging panel for the 2010 Booker Prize. She was a member of Arts Council England from 1998 – 2005 and a Governor of the BBC between 2003 and 2006.