Following a celebration of Abdul Shayek’s life and career at the National’s Olivier Theatre today, Tara Theatre announces the Abdul Shayek Directors Fellowship in honour of the late Artistic Director, who passed away in August 2023.
The fellowship is designed to address the underrepresentation of practitioners from global majority and lower socio-economic backgrounds in UK theatre, something Abdul fought for throughout his career. As a working-class theatre director of Bangladeshi heritage, Abdul was passionate about equality of access in the arts and supporting the next generation of theatre-makers and artistic leaders.
The fellowship will provide an industry-led training and development programme, equipping two mid-career directors per year with the experience and skills they need to take on leadership positions in theatres. It is designed to create a network of industry partners working together to further diversity in artistic leadership.
The programme will offer Associate Director salaried placements at producing theatres, ongoing support, advice and development from Tara Theatre, a comprehensive programme of masterclasses, ongoing mentorship from industry leaders and a fully funded and resourced production for each recipient. The programme will run in two-year cycles with an initial intake of two directors.
Principal partners for the Fellowship include Arts Council England and The Space.