Judith "Jude" Pamela Kelly, CBE (born March 1954), is a British theatre director and producer. She is a director[1] of the WOW Foundation, which organises the annual Women of the World Festival, founded in 2010 by Kelly. From 2006 to 2018, she was Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London.[2][3]

Jude Kelly

Kelly in 2008
Judith Pamela Kelly

March 1954 (age 69)
EducationCalder High School for Girls/Quarry Bank Comprehensive School
Alma materThe University of Birmingham
Occupation(s)Theatre director and producer
Notable workFounder of the Women of the World Festival (WOW)
Spouse(s)Michael Bird, m. 1993
Children3, including Caroline Bird

Early life and education edit

Jude Kelly was born in Liverpool,[2] and her love of theatre dates back to her childhood there, where she would put on plays in her backyard with the neighbours' children: "I've always had a passion for telling a story," she has said.[4] She attended Calder High School for Girls until she was 13, when it became part of Quarry Bank Comprehensive School, where she was taught by John Lennon's old headmaster, William Pobjoy, who encouraged his pupils to be creative.[5] Already determined to become a director, she chose to study drama at The University of Birmingham, one of a small number of single honours degree courses available at the time. Kelly graduated with a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts from Birmingham in 1975 where she was a contemporary of comedian, writer and actress Victoria Wood.[6]

Career edit

Kelly founded Solent People's Theatre, a touring company, in 1976, and was artistic director of the Battersea Arts Centre from 1980 to 1985. She became the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 1990 to 2002, where as artistic director and then CEO she established it as an acknowledged centre for excellence. As the artistic director, she sat on the National Advisory Committee for Culture, Creativity and Education (NACCCE), led by Ken Robinson, that in 1999 wrote the All Our Futures report,[7] which led to significant government investment in young people's creative and cultural education.

She has directed more than 100 productions, including for Chichester Festival Theatre, the English National Opera (ENO), the Châtelet in Paris, France, and London's West End.

Kelly left the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002 to found Metal Culture, providing artistic laboratory spaces in Liverpool, Peterborough and Southend, funded by Arts Council England and local authorities.[8][9] Metal provides a platform where creative hunches and ideas can be pursued; it promotes cross-art collaborations and projects to affect the built environment, people, communities and philosophies.

Among her many successes as a director, Kelly's production of Singin' in the Rain transferred to the Royal National Theatre as one of the National's visiting productions and was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production in 2001. She directed Sir Ian McKellen in The Seagull and The Tempest, Patrick Stewart in Johnson Over Jordan and Othello, Dawn French in When We Are Married, and the English National Opera in The Elixir of Love (South Bank Award – Newcomer Opera) and On the Town, which was the ENO's most successful production at the time, Carmen Jones, and The Wizard of Oz at the refurbished Royal Festival Hall. Kelly directed Paco Peña's Flamenco sin Fronteras in 2009.

In 2006, she became Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in central London,[10] Britain's largest cultural institution.[11] The Centre consists of the Royal Festival Hall, the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall (containing the Purcell Room), and the Saison Poetry Library. Southbank Centre also manages the Arts Council Collection and organises the National Touring Exhibitions programme in venues throughout the UK. Kelly's decision to step down as artistic director after 12 years, in order to devote herself to WOW, was announced in January 2018.[11][2]

Her 2018 production of Leonard Bernstein's MASS at the Royal Festival Hall was described by one critic as a "wasted opportunity".[12]

Kelly's talk at a 2016 TED conference, Why women should tell the stories of humanity, has been viewed more than 1.1 million times as of July 2018.[13]

Festivals edit

Kelly speaking at the Women of the World Festival in 2014

In 2010, she founded the Women of the World Festival (WOW), first held in the Southbank Centre, which celebrates the achievements of women and girls as well as looking at the obstacles they face, and which is now an annual international event.[14]

In 2014, she founded the Being a Man Festival (BAM), also held in the Southbank Centre, a UK-based festival that addresses the challenges and pressures of masculine identity in the 21st century.[15]

Financial education edit

Alongside Olga Miler Christen, Kelly founded Smartpurse Limited in 2019 in order to provide financial advice and education to women.[16][17]

Personal life edit

Kelly has a daughter – the poet and playwright Caroline Bird (born 1986)[18] – and two sons, one of whom died young.[19] She married their father, the actor, writer and director Michael Bird (stage name Birch) in 1993.[5]

Recognition and awards edit

In 2006, Kelly was named number 8 in "Theatreland's top 100 players" by The Independent newspaper.[20]

Kelly has represented Britain within UNESCO on cultural matters, served on the Arts Advisory Committee for the Royal Society of Arts, and jointly chaired with Lord Puttnam the Curricula Advisory Committee on Arts and Creativity. She is chair of Metal, a member of the London Cultural Consortium, and a member of the Dishaa Advisory Group. She previously sat on the board of Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE) when it ran the government's flagship creative learning programme, Creative Partnerships, funded by the government with £40m per year by the education and cultural departments, working in one in five schools in England, reaching more than 1 million young people over 10 years.[21] She is Chair of the Trustees for World Book Night and was on the Cultural Olympiad Board that was responsible for delivering the creative, cultural and educational aspects of London's Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Despite her involvement in these significant investments by the UK government in the preceding ten years, in 2013, she claimed that no action had been taken by the state relating to young people's cultural education since the 1999 NACCCE report or the Henley Review in 2012.[22][23]

She is visiting professor at Kingston University, Leeds University and at Shanghai Performing Arts School.

In October 2012, Kelly was presented with a BASCA Gold Badge Award in recognition of her services to music.[24]

In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4,[25] and also recognized as one of the BBC's 100 women.[26] Already Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to the arts.[27][28]

In September 2018, to mark Time Out magazine's 50th anniversary, she was one of 50 people featured as helping to shape London's cultural landscape and "make the city awesome".[29]

References edit

  1. ^ "THE WOW FOUNDATION - Officers". Companies House. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Aitkenhead, Decca (26 January 2018). "Southbank director Jude Kelly: 'Saying you're a feminist is not enough'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  3. ^ Brown, Mark (18 January 2018). "Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly to step down". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  4. ^ Lacey, Hester, "The Inventory: Jude Kelly", The Financial Times, 24 February 2012.
  5. ^ a b Wroe, Nick (28 July 2001). "Adventures in theatre". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Honorary graduates". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  7. ^ National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education. "All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education" (PDF). sirkenrobinson.com. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Metal Culture Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  9. ^ "About Us". Metal Culture. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Southbank Centre History | Southbank Centre". Southbank Centre. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  11. ^ a b Brown, Mark, "Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly to step down", The Guardian, 19 January 2018.
  12. ^ Nepil, Hannah (9 April 2018). "Bernstein's Mass, Royal Festival Hall, London — ear-splitting hysteria". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  13. ^ Kelly, Jude (October 2016). "Why women should tell the stories of humanity". TED. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  14. ^ "What's WOW all about? Founder Jude Kelly explains". Southbank Centre. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  15. ^ Brown, Mark (13 December 2013). "Southbank festival asks: what is it like to be a modern man?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Smartpurse Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  17. ^ "SmartPurse". smartpurse.me. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Caroline Bird". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  19. ^ Arbuthnot, Leaf (25 February 2020). "Jude Kelly On Disrupting The Art World's 'Boys' Network'". Vogue. Retrieved 10 February 2023.
  20. ^ "Theatreland's top 100 players – News, Theatre & Dance". The Independent. London. 29 December 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  21. ^ "Creative Partnerships Homepage". Creative-partnerships.com. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  22. ^ Henley, Darren (2012). "Cultural Education in England" (PDF). Department for Education. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  23. ^ Merrifield, Nicola (23 October 2013). "Jude Kelly: arts sector must take education into its own hands". The Stage. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  24. ^ "Jude Kelly OBE criticises new music education plans". M magazine – PRS for Music. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  25. ^ "The Power List 2013". Woman's Hour. BBC Radio 4. 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  26. ^ "100 Women: Who took part?". BBC News. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2022.
  27. ^ "No. 61092". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2014. p. N9.
  28. ^ "New Years Honours 2015: Queen's List" (PDF). Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  29. ^ Alim Kheraj and Time Out editors, "50 Londoners who make the city awesome", Time Out, 14 September 2018.

External links edit