Theatre News

Tara Theatre appoints Natasha Kathi-Chandra as new artistic director

Kathi-Chandra has been with the company since 2022

Natasha Kathi-Chandra
Natasha Kathi-Chandra, © Ellie Oke

Tara Theatre has appointed Natasha Kathi-Chandra as its new artistic director.

Kathi-Chandra, who currently serves as associate director at the South Asian theatre company, will succeed Abdul Shayek, who passed away in August of last year.

She commented: “It is with immense honour and determination that I take on the role of artistic director and joint CEO of Tara Theatre. Tara Theatre became my artistic home under Abdul Shayek and Helen Jeffreys’ leadership over the past three years, where my experience and knowledge in different capacities as a freelancer was valued, held, developed and executed. This for me reinforces the significance and importance this organisation has in the ecology of our sector for many artists who identify like myself.

“Tara Theatre unapologetically examines the world through a South Asian lens and ignites reflection and change; as the company has been doing for almost 50 years. For me, it is not just about the work we program but it is also about how we are pioneering the development and expansion of South Asian and Global Majority talent both on and off stage in a local, national and international capacity.

“I want to thank Sunita and the board for giving me this opportunity. As a colleague and friend of Abdul’s, this is indeed a bittersweet moment for me but I look forward to taking the company forward to many more achievements alongside Helen and the rest of the team to continue to expand the canon of voices that need to be heard.”

Sunita Pandya Malik, chair of Tara Theatre, added: “Natasha is an absolute force, and I am so thrilled to announce her as the new artistic director of Tara Theatre. She has worked tirelessly during her vibrant career to support artists to create new, experimental work that challenges ideas of nationhood, gender and theatrical form. At Tara Theatre, she will continue to amplify the voices of South Asian artists on stage in the UK, by driving Tara’s mission to create politically charged theatre which creates ripples from the hyper-local to the global. I cannot wait to get started working with Natasha.”

Finally, Helen Jeffreys, executive director and joint CEO, concluded: “I am delighted that Natasha is the next artistic director and joint CEO of Tara Theatre. Natasha’s artistic vision and programming is bold and inspiring, and her commitment to making change and developing the next generation of artists unparalleled. I feel enormously lucky to be working alongside her as we start this next chapter.”

Since 2022, Kathi-Chandra has led Tara Theatre’s artist development and introduced the NOVA Playwright commission, Constellations residency and Tara Theatre’s Young Company. Prior to this, she developed the Creative Learning Programme at Park Theatre and founded companies such as Namashkar, challenging the narratives and roles for South Asian women in the arts, and Ingenium Dramatics, serving as its artistic director from 2008 to 2013 in Hyderabad, India.

She has also worked extensively as a writer, director, dramaturg, curator, facilitator and casting director.

Her inaugural programme as Tara Theatre’s artistic director will be revealed in due course.

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