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Jude Kelly to leave Southbank Centre

Jude Kelly. Photo: Southbank Centre

Jude Kelly is to step down as artistic director of the Southbank Centre after 12 years.

She will leave in May to focus on the international development of Women of the World, a festival she founded in 2010.

She said: “It is difficult to imagine a more stimulating and enjoyable time than the 12 years I’ve spent at Southbank Centre – and I shall miss it terribly. With the centre in excellent hands, now is the perfect time for me to move on.

“In seven years, Women of the World has grown from a single Southbank Centre festival to a significant presence on six continents and is now both intensely challenging and rewarding, with a terrific future ahead.”

She added that she would be developing “new artistic projects” that arise from the WOW idea.

Kelly joined the organisation in 2006 and currently oversees a venue that attracts more than 25 million people annually.

She has overseen a programme that has included the Imagine Children’s Festival and classical music event The Rest Is Noise.

Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England chair, said Kelly’s direction had made Southbank Centre the “natural home for some of the world’s most celebrated artists and organisations”.

Plans for her succession will be announced in due course. In the interim, Southbank Centre’s artistic programme will continue to be developed by the senior team including chief executive Elaine Bedell and director of music Gillian Moore.