The Abdul Shayek Directors Fellowship

There is still an urgent need to support talented creatives to be our next artistic directors. Tara Theatre is a leading voice in advocating and effecting change to address the lack of diversity and representation in the UK theatre sector. Change is possible.

In the three years Abdul Shayek was Artistic Director of Tara Theatre his impact was huge; championing the voices and stories of those not heard enough on our stages and providing opportunities for countless writers, creatives, actors and young people.

We continue to be inspired by Abdul and we will continue to make change.

Now is the moment. Please join us.


The Abdul Shayek Directors Fellowship is an industry-led training and development programme which will equip mid-career directors with the experience and skills they need to take on leadership positions in our theatres.

The fellowship will address the underrepresentation of practitioners from global majority and lower socio-economic backgrounds and create a network of industry partners working together to further diversity in artistic leadership.

Abdul Shayek was a working-class theatre director of Bangladeshi heritage. He was passionate about equality of access into the arts and supporting the next generation of theatre-makers and artistic leaders.

The programme will run in two-year cycles with an initial intake of two directors, with the following objectives:

  • Development of creative practice
  • Experience of artistic leadership and programming
  • Knowledge and experience of organisational management
  • Development and growth of networks and connections

Achieved through:

  • Associate Director salaried placements at regional venues
  • Ongoing support, advice and development from Tara Theatre
  • A comprehensive programme of masterclasses
  • Ongoing mentorship from industry leaders
  • A fully funded and resourced production for each recipient

The cost of the two-year programme is £380,000. We are inviting proposals from additional Principal Partners with a suggested initial investment of £30,000. Please get in touch with Helen Jeffreys at for further information.

Principal partners include Arts Council England and The Space.