Alan Davey


Current position: Controller, BBC Radio 3

Course: BA, English, 1982


This mentor may be of interest to students of Drama, theatre arts or music, or those with an interest in the arts and arts Management.


Controller at BBC Radio 3 and responsible for the music and speech network, as well as the Proms, BBC Orchestras and Choirs. English graduate, Alan Davey, is well known for his passionate advocacy of the arts and has worked at the Department of Health, the Department of National Heritage and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

He was Chief Executive of Arts Council England until the end of 2014. There he led huge investment in artistic experiences, including theatre, music, literature, dance and photography, to enrich people’s lives. Radio 3 is the biggest funder of new music in the UK, with classical, contemporary Jazz and world music at its core, it broadcasts 800 live performances a year as well as 20 new drama productions. The Proms is the biggest classical music festival in the world. He was a visiting Fulbright scholar at the University of Maryland and recently received an honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of Birmingham. He was awarded a CBE for services to the arts in the New Year Honours 2015.

Quotes from mentees

  • The Mentoring scheme isn't just for those who have their career mapped out for them; it is also for those students who just need some friendly help and advice!
  • I mentioned my interest in directing and quickly he drew up a list of ways I could pursue this and some contacts that might be helpful for me. We talked about the industry and found common ground in the theatre we liked/disliked.
  • Keeping my perspective as broad as it can be. That’s perhaps, so far, what it’s really been about, and what having a mentor in such a unique position of overview and engagement, and as generous as Alan, has afforded me.
  • I took part in the 2011/12 ALMP programme and was mentored by Alan Davey, and in fact continue to mentored by him today. He has been such a help, inspiration and true mentor-figure for me. I have recently received news [...] that I have got onto a theatre directing masters programme at LAMDA. The course is highly regarded and takes only four students per year so I'm delighted to have got onto it and wanted to pass on [...] my sincere thanks for accepting me onto the programme and pairing me with Alan - can't thank you enough!