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Kully Thiarai will become Artistic Director and Chief Executive of National Theatre Wales in May 2016, succeeding the theatre company's founding chief John McGrath

National Theatre Wales names Kully Thiarai as Artistic Director. National Theatre Wales names Kully Thiarai as Artistic Director. Image courtesy of NTW.

Kully Thiaraithe founding Executive and Artistic Director of Doncaster's contemporary performance centre, Cast was yesterday named the new Artistic Director and Chief Executive of National Theatre Wales (NTW). Thiarai was appointed to lead the country's English-language national theatre, following John McGrath s departure to run the Manchester International Festival.

Thiarai said of her new job:It is fantastically exciting. A bit scary and thrilling all at the same time, as these things are. The scale of the ambition at National Theatre Wales and the vision it has, embedded in artistic integrity and aspiration and reach it is very exciting.
Thiarai is credited with putting Doncaster firmly on the UK s cultural map and giving the town s artistic appetite an astonishing transformation since the22million venue Cast was opened in September 2013, drawing 40,000 people through its doors in its first three months.

She has led some of the UK s best-loved theatre venues and producing companies, including Contact Theatre in Manchester, Leicester Haymarket Theatre, Theatre Writing Partnership Nottingham and Red Ladder Theatre Company, Leeds.

Her directing credits for productions staged in Wales, across the UK and internationally over three decades span a range of work; from large-scale outdoor shows to intimate theatre performances with a demonstrable emphasis on new writing, genuine diversity both on and off-stage, truly inclusive audience development and meaningful community engagement.

Thiarai is not unfamiliar with NTW. She directed NTW s production of The Soul Exchange in 2011, using a fleet of taxis to ferry audiences around Cardiff while they were told stories about the historical city's inhabitants and their lives.

The Soul Exchange The Soul Exchange, 2013. Performance Still. Image: Rhodri Jones. Courtesy of National Theatre Wales.

Thairai revealed she had been hugely inspired by the diversity of productions under McGrath s five year leadership. She said of the production: "It was daring and provocative and joyous and asks big questions about who we are...All of that is thrilling to play with as an artistic director.

She added:I intend to build on this legacy by ensuring National Theatre Wales continues to be original, radical and relevant. Many organisations have contributed brilliantly to making the company such a national and international success and I look forward to working with them all.

CCQ toasts the future of NTW under Thiarai's leadership and looks forward to the continuation of a thrilling English-language theatrical programme in Wales.