Up Next Success Stories

Revolutionary Leadership

In 2017 Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) catapulted six extraordinary ADF members, from a wide range of culturally diverse backgrounds, into positions of leadership to create tomorrow’s arts and culture landscape. 

UP NEXT is a take over initiative designed to catapult visionary Global Majority artists into leadership roles in the UK’s theatre industry. In July 2017 six directors were selected, with 3 placed at Battersea Arts Centre and 3 placed at Bush Theatre. Each responded widely different ways, exploring themes of identity, representation, community and collaboration.

Three men outdoors smiling standing against a Battersea sign

Up Next success for director Tarek

We are proud to announce that our ADF Up Next Artistic Directors, Tarek Iskander was  appointed Artistic Director of Battersea Arts Centre in the same year he completed his Up Next placement at the venue, read the the article in the Guardian Newspaper.

Meet the Up Next Artistic Directors

In 2017 Tarek Iskander, Lekan Lawal, Saad-Eddine Said, Tobi Kyeremateng, Ruthie Osterman and Sita Thomas became the first Up Next cohort.

Each were required to carry out the same duties as any existing artistic director of a building, including: pitching ideas to a board of directors, fundraising over £35,000 for each establishment and delivering an artistic season of work that will take the building and audiences to new heights.

Tarek Iskander

“It is a unique privilege to work with the wonderful team at Battersea Arts Centre and have the opportunity to co-lead the organisation through a season. We have an enormous amount to learn from David Jubb and our new colleagues – their expertise, skill and enthusiasm is infectious and inspiring."

Lekan Lawal

“Through Up Next, Simielia Hodge-Dallaway has distilled two bespoke opportunities in these organisations that feel genuinely groundbreaking. Battersea Arts Centre is a creative powerhouse and I’m incredibly happy to be joining the team with Saad and Tarek.”

Saad-Eddine Said

“As a cultural leader, I am really excited to bring my skills and expertise to Up Next. Having the opportunity to diversify leadership within the creative sector and give a platform to many unheard stories is a huge milestone for the industry, mirroring the diverse society we live in.”

Tobi Kyeremateng

“This is a huge endeavour for me. Up Next really has the potential for us to create a whole new methodology, a way of working, and one that could really shift not just the industry, but also the cultures that already exist inside Bush Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre.”

Ruthie Osterman

“Through Up Next, Simielia Hodge-Dallaway has distilled Up Next is a huge opportunity for me and I feel grateful and honoured to be part of it. There is a real sense of possibilities and responsibility that comes with it. We are culturally charged and ready to take risks and do our very best to create meaningful change within our organisations and beyond.”

Sita Thomas

“To make real change in terms of representation and diversity on Britain’s stages, we need a change in leadership. Having just finished my PhD where I examined issues of cultural diversity in British theatre, I am delighted now to be in a position to implement this research practically.”


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