natalie ibu’s speech at the launch of the artistic director leadership programme

Yesterday tiata fahodzi launched the Artistic Director Leadership Programme – a two-year training programme for future theatre leaders, delivered by 20 Stories HighFreedom StudiosTalawa Theatre Company and tiata fahodzi, supported by the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) and Independent Theatre Council (ITC) – with a speech from AD Natalie Ibu. Read on to see what she had to say to 30 of the leaders of tomorrow.

“Welcome to the launch of the Artistic Director Leadership Programme – a two year, two strand project supported by the Arts Council’s Sustained Theatre strategic fund, focused on changing the face of leadership. It’s my absolute privilege to lead a consortium of my esteemed peer companies who do the important work of representing the Britain I know and live in – every day – whose commitment to diversity is not just in their mission but in their DNA.

We – 20 Stories High, Freedom Studios, Talawa Theatre Company and tiata fahodzi – are joined in delivery by the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme and Independent Theatre Council – both at the forefront of developing leaders and providing arts management training.

It’s my pleasure to introduce all of you to 30 of England’s most exciting arts professionals of today and leaders of tomorrow. 

Our leaders come from Plymouth, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Essex and Leeds and are directors, producers, administrators, stage managers, choreographers, theatre-makers, writers, designers, participation practitioners, performers, arts managers and lighting designers. It is thrilling to imagine what the sector might look and feel like with these talented creatives in executive positions.

Over the next two years, our four trainee artistic directors will take up space in our companies, working closely with the Artistic Director and executive teams and contributing to the daily life of running our theatre companies. Our 26 leaders of tomorrow will – led by the industry training leaders ITC – explore the role of leader, building toolkits of contacts, skills and courage.

Together, they are the change we all want to see. It starts here, with them and with us. Here’s to the change.”


natalie ibu is the Artistic Director & CEO of tiata fahodzi. Learn more about the Artistic Director Leadership Programme on its website.

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