At their first gathering, Black Women in Theatre compiled a slideshow of more than 130 black women over the last 30-40 years in British theatre. It proved a really powerful antidote to the idea that there are no black women in leadership in theatre: there are and always have been. This network was created to overcome the isolation often felt by black female leaders within organisations, to celebrate and champion their achievements, and to bring together all theatre staff and creatives across generations to see and help support each other in driving forward new innovations.
In this talk, BWiT Founder Stella Kanu, also Executive Director of LIFT Festival, reflects on the development of Black Women in Theatre and the wider importance of such networked collaboration for supporting talent, sparking new collaborations and ideas, and creating lasting change in the creative industries.
This talk is included in the REMIX Premium Archive. Access all global REMIX Summits from 2018-2020 for £72 (12 months access)
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Stella Kanu is Executive Director at LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) previously as Executive Producer at Ovalhouse she spent 4 years overseeing a comprehensive artistic, organisational and community-led transition as Ovalhouse constructed London’s newest purpose built £15m theatre in Brixton. She has worked in the theatre, festival and cultural sector for over 27 years shaping ideas, communities, events, people and organisations for great shifts. Working in the UK & US including Soundwave Cumbria where she was CEO, Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company, Harlem Stage, Dance UK, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Women and Girls Network and Clean Break Theatre, as well as arts, and regeneration directorates at numerous local and city councils. Stella created The Pivotal Place to coach and mentor emerging, mid-career and established leaders across multiple sectors, and is a long-term leadership mentor on Engage’s UK wide Leadership Programme, Extend. Stella is a former Powerbrokers International Leadership Fellow (Cultural Leadership Programme, 2008), she is a sought-after speaker, strategic brain and trainer on topics including Diversity in Theatre, Inspired leadership, Artivism and women & power. She has served on boards including Creative Margate (including interim Chair) and New Writing South, Stella is currently Chair at Eclipse Theatre, a Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and the UK’s Black Theatre & Production Company.
Photo credit: Sharron Wallace