MAKERS Profile

Jude Kelly

Artistic Director, Southbank Centre

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Jude Kelly talks about growing up in Liverpool, starting her own theater company, overcoming personal tragedy, and creating the Women of the World Festival.

Jude Kelly was appointed Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, Britain’s institution, in 2006.

She founded Solent People's Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, and was the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

In 1997, she was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre, and in 2015 she was made a CBE in the New Year honours for services to the Arts. She has directed over 100 productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company to the Châtalet in Paris.

In 2002, Kelly founded Metal, which provides a platform where artistic hunches can be pursued in community contexts, with bases in Liverpool, Southend-On-Sea and Peterborough.   Kelly led the cultural team for the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid and then served on the Board of the cultural Olympiad.

She is a regular broadcaster and commentator on a range of issues relating to society, art and education.

She created the WOW — Women of the World Festival in 2011, an ongoing event that takes place at Southbank Centre as well as in other parts of the UK and nine other countries around the world. The WOW festival is a platform that celebrates the achievements of women around the world and interrogates the question of gender equality that inhibits them from fulfilling their potential.

Today, she joins a diverse and accomplished board of advisors to serve in the role of MAKERS Global Partner Council Member. She has two children and loves to windsurf in her spare time.

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