Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Tiata Fahodzi and Talawa launch scheme to nurture black artistic directors

Anton Cross in Arinze Kene's Good Dog, produced by Tiata Fahodzi. Photo: Wasi Daniju Anton Cross in Arinze Kene's Good Dog, produced by Tiata Fahodzi. Photo: Wasi Daniju
by -

A major new training programme for future theatre leaders from minority ethnic backgrounds is being launched, part of which will create associate artistic director posts at four companies including Tiata Fahodzi and Talawa.

It follows criticisms about the lack of diverse theatre leaders in the UK form figures including Rifco Arts’ Pravesh Kumar and Kwame Kwei-Armah.

The scheme’s trainee artistic director initiative will offer paid, two-year residencies to theatre directors, based at one of the four companies partnering on the programme.

It is led by British-African theatre company Tiata Fahodzi, which is based at Watford Palace Theatre, alongside London-based Talawa, 20 Stories High in Liverpool and Freedom Studios in Bradford. The overall scheme is being administered by the Regional Theatres Young Director Scheme.

The programme will see the four chosen individuals work full-time at their host organisation as associate artistic directors, receiving bursaries of up to £25,000 each per year. As part of their role the associates will work alongside the executive team to establish a co-production, which they will then direct.

They will also be given mentoring by their artistic directors and boards, as well as areas of autonomy within the company to gain senior management experience and knowledge of running a theatre.

Introducing the initiative, Tiata Fahodzi artistic director and chief executive Natalie Ibu said: “We believe that the future of theatre leadership should look and feel different, that is why, with our partners, we delighted to announce the launch of this groundbreaking programme.”

The second part of the programme, called Leaders of Tomorrow, is aimed not just at directors but anyone with an interest in artistic leadership.

Successful applicants will be given free training at hubs in Manchester and Watford, with travel and expenses provided.

Participants will attend a range of workshops led by artistic and executive directors of leading theatres, the Independent Theatre Council and the four partner theatres.

Spread over the course of a year, the workshops will cover areas such as programming, implementing artistic vision, creating collaborations, fundraising, governance, financial management and contracts.

The initiative also offers access to the Regional Theatres Young Director Scheme’s career development workshops.

Applications for both schemes are now open and close on March 29.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.