28 January 2021
Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway, Founder and Artistic Director/CEO of Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) is to step down from her role in March 2021.
Founded in 2014 and awarded charitable status in 2016, ADF has been a forerunner in empowering and celebrating the Black, Asian, Middle Eastern and Ethnic Minority talent in the arts. Simeilia, the company’s visionary founder, will be stepping down from her post as Artistic Director and CEO of the organisation. Under Simeilia’s leadership, Artistic Directors of the Future has dedicated itself to demystifying the role of the artistic directors, board members and executive leadership in the cultural sector and this has led to significant change across the sector.
Last year ADF was awarded the 2020 The Stage Innovation Award and for five consecutive years Simeilia has been named in The Stage 100 Power List.
Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway commented: After seven wonderful years leading the UK’s foremost artistic leadership development organisation, it is time for a transition for both the organisation and for myself. I believe that real success for any start-up organisation is for it to exist beyond its founder and provide opportunities for a new wave of leaders, visionaries and changemakers. ADF was set up to do just that.
The ADF Co-chairs Jessica Brewster and Pooja Ghai, on behalf of the Board of Trustees have commented : Simeilia’s tenacity, drive, vision and entrepreneurship has built a mighty and viciously ambitious organisation. The last few years have seen a revolution in how theatres think about social commitment, equity and representation. This is due in no small part to Simeilia’s brave and creative leadership.
Her mentorship to ADF’s member base and her creation and facilitation of ADF’s flagship and pioneering Board Shadowing Programme has sent ripples across the sector initiating the restructuring and recruitment of boards in venues and organisations, so that they are inclusive and representative of the sector at large.
ADF’s innovative Up Next programme is another of Simielia’s visionary programmes that catapulted potential leaders of colour into established buildings, giving them hands-on experience of running and programming a venue. Up Next culminated in candidates going onto apply and be offered the Artistic Director position, including Tarek Iskander at the Battersea Arts Centre and Saad-Eddine Said at Home Slough. Her passion for change, representation and equality of opportunity has ensured a robust, resilient organisation that is at the forefront of change. We wish her the very best as she moves onto her next chapter.
Board Member, Matthew Xia further commented: In 2014 there was a very clear concern about the homogenous face of arts leadership, whilst there is still some distance to go, if we look around at some of the major theatre companies across the UK, now – there is a marked difference. Through the creation and leadership of ADF Simeilia has played a crucial role in helping to alter the landscape of British theatre leadership. I personally will be very sorry to see her go – but am equally excited to see what’s next for Simeilia, and for ADF.
Simeilia will be making her official US directorial film debut with RIDE SHARE by Reginald Edmund, co-produced by Black Lives Black Words International Project and Writers Theatre, filming in Los Angeles, USA. She has also secured a book deal with Bloomsbury Publishing and will continue her work as both Founder at Beyond The Canon and Curatorial Consultant for Manchester International Festival.
Recruitment for Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway’s role will take place later in 2021, with full application details to be announced on the company website. Alongside this recruitment drive, ADF will also be looking for new trustees.