Jude Kelly CBE

Jude Kelly CBE

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Former Artistic Director, South Bank Centre

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Alongside her role in the London Olympics, Jude was the Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre. She made her reputation attracting huge new audiences to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, then launched regional arts labs to encourage and develop creative ‘hunches’ without feeling the pressure to create product within a fixed timescale. She is the Founder of the Women of the World Festival (WOW), an annual arts and science festival which celebrates the achievements of women and girls.


Jude Kelly is CEO and Founder of The Women of the World (WOW) Foundation. She founded WOW to celebrate the achievements of women and girls and confront global gender injustice. Starting as a three-day festival at London’s Southbank Centre where Jude was Artistic Director for twelve years, the festival now takes place in thirty locations across six continents.

Jude has directed over twelve theatre and opera productions, is the recipient of two Olivier Awards, a BASCA Gold Badge Award for contribution to music, a Southbank Award for opera, an RPO award for her festival The Rest is Noise, Women’s Hour’s one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK, Red Magazine’s Creative Woman of the Year, CBIs First Woman Award for Tourism and Leisure and in the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Woman of the Year Social Purpose Award. She was also headhunted to join the bidding team for the 2012 London Olympics and create the programme for culture and ceremonies, she subsequently advised both Rio and Tokyo on their successful bids.

Jude has founded a range of arts institutions and has commissioned and supported the work of thousands of female artists across all genres.

Her TED Talk on ‘Why women should tell the stories of humanity’ has had over one million views. Jude has given keynote talks at UNESCO, COP 22, and CHOGM.

She was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre and was made a CBE for services to the Arts.

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