Posted on July 29, 2014
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We’ve come to the penultimate blog post about our eighteen amazing ambassadors. With our launch event at The Science Museum taking place on Tuesday, it’s time to climax our campaign with a bang.
So we’d like to share Jude Kelly’s video with you. She’s worked hard from the get-go to be where she is – “When I was a little girl, I passionately wanted to be a ballet dancer… Then suddenly I read a play, and I could imagine doing it. From that point on, I wanted to be a theatre director” – and her childhood dream came true. Now she’s taken the reins of the Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution, as Artistic Director.
“I’ve also been someone that’s really tried to make communities come together – to enjoy stories together, to enjoy the arts together, and to respect and admire each other,” she says. “I’m very happy when I see evidence that humans are working to support each other. […] When I can see that you’ve got [everyone] enjoying the same thing and sharing that experience – I feel that’s another step towards the notion that we can live peacefully.”
She founded Solent People’s Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, and was the Artistic Director of the York Festival and Mystery Plays. She later became the founding director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. In 1997, she was awarded the OBE for her services to the theatre. She has directed over 100 productions, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, the English National Opera, the Chatelet in Paris and in the West End.
Jude left the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2002 to found Metal, which through its artistic laboratory spaces provides a platform where artistic hunches can be pursued in community contexts. It has creative bases in Liverpool and Southend-on-Sea. Jude is Chair of Metal, a member of the London Cultural Strategy Group, and is Visiting Professor at Kingston and Leeds Universities, as well as at the Shanghai Centre for the Performing Arts.
“I believe everyone has an imagination. Everybody is expressive. Everybody, therefore, can enjoy other people’s expressiveness. Art should be for everyone – it’s a human right,” she declares.
She was a member of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Board and has spent her life devoted to the arts, particularly encouraging young people to get involved. “I want them to believe that what they have in themselves is going to be good enough, not to try to imitate other people, and not to listen to the negative voices that sometimes really come at you when you’re trying to be all that you could be.“