Skip to main content
New Chair of St George's – Bath Spa University

New Chair of St George's Bristol


Professor Sue Rigby announced as new Chair of St George's Bristol

Friday, 5 April, 2024

Bath Spa University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sue Rigby, will be the new Chair of Trustees at independent music and performance venue, St George’s Bristol, from June 2024.

What is St George’s Bristol?

St George’s is an independent music and events venue in the heart of Bristol. It’s based in a 580-seat concert hall on Park Street, converted from a 200-year-old Georgian church. This truly special space welcomes artists ranging from internationally-recognised performers through to grass-roots community projects. The hall has what Sir Simon Rattle, one of the world’s most renowned conductors, called "the best acoustic for chamber music in Europe".

St George’s is also a registered charity, and runs a far-reaching Learning and Participation programme. This includes underwritten ticket schemes and community outreach work, bringing live music to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to experience it. 

Mainstays of St George's varied programme include concerts, spoken word, philosophy, family-friendly events, and lunchtime concerts. St George’s also has a Café Bar and gardens, in the heart of Bristol city centre.

Handing over the reins

Professor Sue Rigby will take over as St George’s new Chair when outgoing Chair Ben Heald steps down in June.

Ben Heald has been Chair of St George’s since April 2018, and a Trustee since 2013. Ben is founder of Bristol-based digital media company Sift, and previously chaired Bristol Pound. Ben is also a keen amateur pianist and violinist.

Ben Heald, outgoing Chair of St George's, said,

“As Chair of St George’s the last six years, it’s been thrilling to be involved with such an inspiring venue, and it lifts the spirit every time I attend something there.

"Suzanne Rolt and Samir Savant have both been wonderful Chief Executives to work with; then there’s the Trustees, the leadership team, the staff and volunteers, all of whom I’ve had the privilege of supporting. 

“Sue will bring her own energy and freshness to the role. I wish her, the new St George’s board, the wider staff team and indeed the whole organisation the very best for the future.”

Honoured to support a wonderful organisation and its inspiring spaces

Professor Sue Rigby has been Vice Chancellor at Bath Spa University since 2018, and previously held senior roles at the Universities of Lincoln and Edinburgh. Sue is passionate about the arts. 

Her academic background lies in palaeontology, having held roles at Cambridge, Leicester and Edinburgh Universities. 

Sue is an Executive Member of the MillionPlus group, a Trustee Board member at Student Minds, and is also acting Chair of the QAA Credit Framework Group.

Speaking about becoming Chair at St George’s, Professor Sue Rigby said:

“St George’s is a unique music and performance venue that could only exist and thrive in Bristol and the West of England. I am so honoured to be taking over as Chair of Trustees and look forward to supporting Samir with his vision for this wonderful organisation and its inspiring spaces.”

Developing connections in the field of Higher Education

Samir Savant, Chief Executive of St George’s Bristol, said:

“I want to pay personal tribute to Ben and his amazing leadership as Chair. Since joining St George’s in late 2021, I have valued Ben’s vital guidance and insights, and the expert support he gave the organisation through the challenges of the pandemic. We have a reinvigorated Board of Trustees and look to the future with confidence.”

 “I am excited that Sue Rigby will be our new Chair, bringing experience from many different roles, particularly in the field of Higher Education, where we are keen to develop our work with existing and new partners in the region.”

Edit section | Website feedback to