I am thrilled and honored to hail in the New Year with the news of our new Artistic Director and Chief Executive - Kully Thiarai, founding Artistic Director of Doncaster’s new £22m theatre, Cast.
Everyone I know who has worked with Kully in the past – including on NTW’s The Soul Exchange, which she directed in January 2011 – will I’m sure be delighted to hear about her appointment, as she’s very well loved and respected within the UK’s theatre community.
To give you a little information on Kully’s background, she has most recently been credited with putting Doncaster firmly on the UK’s cultural map and giving its artistic appetite an astonishing transformation with the success of Cast – the venue there that she’s been running since it was opened in September 2013, drawing 40,000 people through its doors in its first three months.
She already had, by then, an impressive background leading some of the UK’s best-loved theatre venues and producing companies, including Contact Theatre in Manchester, Leicester Haymarket Theatre, Theatre Writing Partnership Nottingham, and Red Ladder Theatre Company, Leeds.
Her directing credits for productions staged in Wales, across the UK and internationally over almost 30 years include everything from large-scale outdoor shows to intimate theatre performances, with a demonstrable emphasis on new writing, genuine diversity both on and off-stage, truly inclusive audience development and meaningful community engagement.
Some of her previous productions include Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Kes and Cinderella (all at Cast); United Colours of FrustrAsian (Cast and Southbank Centre); Obama The Mamba by Kevin Fegan, (nominated for two Manchester Theatre Awards – Best Play and Best Actor 2012); Mandala, a large-scale outdoor arts spectacular for the Cultural Olympiad; The Soul Exchange for NTW, Digital Tea Dance for Bangor University, Do We Ever See Grace? by Noël Greig, Salaam – a devised show made with young Muslim men, Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey, Bogus Woman by Kay Adshead (performed in London, Australia and New York), The Fortune Club and Unsuitable Girls by Dolly Dhingra, Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince, Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys, Captured Live!, West Side Story, The Witches, Bollywood Jane, Plague of Innocence and Death of a Salesman.
Kully is also much in demand as an international keynote speaker on the arts, such as the recent No Boundaries conferences in 2015 (supported by ACE & British Council), as a consultant to the Secretary of State and the DCMS, on Supporting Excellence in the Arts and as a tutor for Hong Kong University’s Advanced Cultural Leadership Programme 2015.
Kully will join National Theatre Wales from May, but will be popping into our office in Cardiff now and then to start getting to know us, and our amazing and talented nation.
All here are very excited at the news, and look forward to welcoming Kully.
Here’s to a tremendous 2016 for everyone
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