Abdul Shayek

Abdul Shayek, Artistic Director and Joint CEO 2020-2023


It was with immense sadness that we announced the death of Abdul Shayek, beloved Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Tara Theatre, aged 39, in August 2023. We were heartbroken to share this news on behalf of his family. Abdul died at home unexpectedly, of natural causes.

Over the last three years, under Abdul’s artistic leadership, we re-established Tara Theatre as a flagship organisation leading change within the cultural sector nationally and internationally. Abdul was passionate about creating world class theatre and telling the stories of those often not seen or heard enough on our stages.

Abdul Shayek was previously the founding Artistic Director & CEO of Fio, an international theatre company based in Cardiff. Before this he was an Associate at the National Theatre of Wales.

A member of the British Council’s Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group, Vice Chair of the National Alliance of Arts in the Criminal Justice System, as well as a trustee of mid-Wales dance company Impelo. Abdul was a Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow (2013-14), during which he spent time at Film4 and M&C Saatchi. He is a visiting lecturer at the University of East London and has guest lectured at a host of other institutions.

As a director and theatre maker Abdul’s work is rooted in creating innovative participatory experiences, projects and productions and identifying and developing artists and new audiences. He has worked on TV documentaries, on operas (new and classics) with both ENO and WNO. Staged contemporary classics and adapted novels for stage.  While leading Tara Theatre, he has created an audio walking project in response to the pandemic which toured UK festivals, theatres and civic spaces in 2022; commissioned 12 new monologues with national and international writers; created a site-specific gig theatre piece in 2021 as well as a VR experience in 2022 for Bangladesh 50.

Abdul’s work at Tara Theatre was widely recognised including a nomination for the International Award at the Stage Awards 2023 as well as Winner for both the Digital Innovation Award at the UK Theatre Awards 2023 and the Business Innovation Award at the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

Explore further