National Theatre Wales director to take up new role as Creative Director of Leeds 2023 in late 2019 - National Theatre Wales

National Theatre Wales director to take up new role as Creative Director of Leeds 2023 in late 2019

Release date: Friday 14 June 2019


Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales Kully Thiarai will leave the company to take up a new role as Creative Director of Leeds 2023. A recruitment process for her successor at NTW will begin immediately.

During three years at NTW, Kully has led the creation of 25 works across Wales and beyond including City of the Unexpected, We’re Still Here and Tide Whisperer.

Clive Jones, Chair of NTW said: “Kully has led NTW with great style, elan and commitment over the last three years and we will be very sorry to lose her.

Her qualities as a director were shown with her brilliant production of the Tide Whisperer on the beaches of Tenby last year.

She leaves a great legacy with a strong strategic plan in development following extensive consultation and conversation with our diverse range of artists and creative partners along with a celebratory season of work written, created and performed by Welsh artists in 2020, our tenth anniversary year. Meanwhile we welcome Ed Thomas’s overdue return to the stage with his new play On Bear Ridge at the Sherman, Cardiff and the Royal Court in London this autumn.

The search is already underway to find Kully’s successor.”

Kully Thiarai said: “I am thrilled to be returning to Yorkshire to take up the post of Creative Director for Leeds 2023. A place that had been home to me for many years prior to coming to Wales. Leeds was in fact the place where my theatre career started when Red Ladder Theatre Company invited me to come and work for them in the late 1980’s. It was always going to have to be something special to entice me away from the extraordinary company that is National Theatre Wales. To lead the cultural year for Leeds 2023 is that special something – a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to my roots and play my part in inspiring a whole new generation of artists and audiences.

I want to say a huge thank you to all the brilliant staff, artists, organisations and communities that I have had the privilege to work with whilst at NTW. I’m proud of the work that we have collectively created, from the epic to the intimate, and have every confidence that the next 10 years for the company will be as vibrant and extraordinary as the last.”

Ruth Pitt, chair of Leeds 2023, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Kully will be joining us on this journey and it’s testament to just how exciting the Leeds2023 project is that we’ve been able to attract someone with such a prestigious track record in creating ground-breaking work.

There is a growing sense of momentum around Leeds2023 and with Kully on board I’m confident we can look forward to seeing an artistic programme that encapsulates the passion and vibrancy of Leeds and its many communities.”

Kully Thiarai will continue her role as Artistic Director at NTW until the end of the year.

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