Jude Kelly OBE

Founder, WOW - Women of the World Festivals

United Kingdom
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Projects credited in

About me

In theatre, Jude Kelly has directed over a hundred productions in the UK and internationally, and her work in both theatre and opera has been recognised in a number of ways, including two Laurence Olivier awards. She has been founder Artistic Director of a series of institutions, including Solent Peoples Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and her own charity Metal – a laboratory for artistic practise in community settings. She led the cultural bid for the UK’s Olympic and Paralympic celebrations, based on the concept of ensuring the widest possible involvement of people across all nations and regions to celebrate their identity through cultural activity and shape the stories that are told. She’s the recipient of 17 honorary doctorates for her work in the field of cultural access and received an OBE and a CBE for services to the Arts. She is currently the Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, one of the largest cultural centres in Europe. In 2010 Kelly founded the WOW –- Women of the World festivals, which have now become a global movement. To date, there have been over 42 WOWs in 23 countries across five continents. WOW celebrates the history and potential of girls and women in all fields of life and highlights the obstacles that prevent gender equality from being achieved. In 2014, she also founded BAM – Being a Man to support men and boys explore issues arising from narrow definitions of masculine identity. Kelly is currently establishing a new charity, Drivers for Change, to support young creative entrepreneurs from a wide range of social backgrounds to be given skills and networks to affect change in marginalised communities.

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  • Producing

People I’ve worked with

Companies I’ve worked with

  • Creative Equals

    Creative Equals

    • Social Enterprise
  • Southbank Centre

    Southbank Centre

    • Events
  • BrewDog


    • Retail
  • WOW - Women of the World

    WOW - Women of the World

    • Events

Work history


Jan 2010
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Full Time
  • Global movement of festivals celebrating women and girls, and looking at obstacles they face.


Artistic Director

Southbank Centre

Sep 2005
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Full Time