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Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly to step down

Kelly has been head of the organisation since 2005

Jude Kelly
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The Southbank Centre has announced that Jude Kelly is to step down as artistic director after more than a decade in the role.

Kelly took up the mantle as the head of Britain's largest cultural institution in 2005. Previously she was artistic director of the Battersea Arts Centre for five years in the '80s, followed by 12 years as the founding director of West Yorkshire Playhouse from 1990 to 2002.

As a director she has led productions including the Olivier Award-winning Singin' In the Rain at the National Theatre in 2000, Ian McKellen in The Seagull, and On the Town – ENO's most successful production to date. She has also worked extensively with the RSC, Chichester Festival Theatre and in London's West End. She was made a CBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to the arts.

She will step down in May to focus on the Women of the World Festival, which she founded in 2010 to celebrate the achievements of women and girls around the world, and the obstacles they face. Starting as a single festival at the Southbank Centre, it has since grown to include 42 festivals in 23 countries.

On leaving the venue Kelly said: "It is difficult to imagine a more stimulating and enjoyable time than the twelve years I've spent at Southbank Centre – and I shall miss it terribly.

"With the Centre in excellent hands, now is the perfect time for me to move on... As well as turning WOW into a global movement I shall be developing new artistic projects that arise from the core WOW idea. It is a very exciting time!"

A statement released by the venue said plans for Kelly's replacement will be announced in due course.


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