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Leeds 2023 appoints creative director to oversee £35m programme


The CEO and artistic director of National Theatre Wales has been appointed CEO and creative director of Leeds 2023.

Kully Thiarai will oversee a five-year, £35 million cultural investment programme culminating in a spectacular one-year cultural festival for the city in 2023.

Her 30-year career has included spells with Leeds Playhouse and the city’s Transform Festival, and she’s also been artistic director at Red Ladder Theatre in Leeds, the Contact Theatre in Manchester and Cast in Doncaster.

Kully said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining Leeds 2023 and to be returning to a city that was instrumental in launching my career and is filled with so much incredible passion and immense potential.

“It was always going to have to be something special to entice me away from the extraordinary company that is National Theatre Wales. To lead the cultural year for Leeds 2023 is that special something – a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to my roots and play my part in inspiring a whole new generation of artists and audiences.

“I can’t wait to explore more of what the city and its communities have to offer and to work together to create a unique, daring and ambitious range of diverse and compelling work for Leeds 2023.”

Earlier this year, media executive and former journalist Ruth Pitt was announced as the new chair of Leeds 2023.

Pitt said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Kully will be joining us on this journey and it’s testament to just how exciting the Leeds 2023 project is that we’ve been able to attract someone with such a prestigious track record in creating ground-breaking work.”

Kully will continue to work at National Theatre Wales and will officially join Leeds 2023 towards the end of the year.

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