Jude Kelly joined Southbank Centre as Artistic Director in September 2005 and is responsible for creating a unified artistic vision for the whole 21-acre site. She has held a number of important positions in the world of arts and culture. She made her name as Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre in the 1980s establishing it as a national venue. In 1986, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company before becoming the first Artistic Director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse (WYP) in Leeds. As Artistic Director and CEO of the country’s largest regional theatre, she established the WYP as an acknowledged centre of excellence. Jude left the WYP in 2002 to establish a series of arts spaces called Metal, an artistic ‘laboratory’ that develops creative ideas in a number of contexts.
In her career, she has directed over 100 productions with actors including Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, Alan Rickman and Alison Steadman. Jude directed On The Town with English National Opera in 2007, a revival of the successful 2005 production; and Carmen Jones in 2007 as part of the reopening celebrations of the refurbished Royal Festival Hall. More recently, Jude directed Paco Pena’s Flamenco sin Fronteras in 2009 and Quimeras, also by Paco Pena, which had its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in September 2010.