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Demystifying Arts Leadership

26 November 3pm

Join us for a dynamic panel discussion and Q & A to demystify the roles of an Artistic Director, Executive Director and trustee. ADF is pleased to be collaborating with tiata fahodzi on this free online membership event.

tiata fahodzi’s Artistic Director, Chinonyerem Odimba and trustee Alisha Artry, will be joined by ADF’s co-Chair Pooja Ghai and Tamasha Theatre Company’s Executive Director, Valerie Synmoie.

The panel will explore various pathways into these leadership positions and shed light on the relationship between the job roles. This is an exciting opportunity to discover how close you are to your dream role and the next steps you can take to get there.

Register for the event here: Demystifying Arts Leadership Registration Form

In partnership with Artistic Directors Of The Future


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Demystifying Arts Leadership
Chinonyerem Odimba
tiata fahodzi Artistic Director

Chinonyerem Odimba is a Nigerian British playwright, screenwriter, and poet. Her recent work ranges from Medea at Bristol Old Vic, We Too, Are Giants for Kiln Theatre, Unknown Rivers at Hampstead Theatre, Prince and the Pauper at Watermill Theatre, The Seven Ages of Patience at Kiln Theatre, and Princess & The Hustler which toured across the UK for Eclipse Theatre/Bristol Old Vic/Hull Truck. She is currently working on commissions for Young Vic, RSC, and Paines Plough.

She is also Writer-in-Residence at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Her work for theatre includes The Bird Woman of Lewisham at the Arcola; Rainy Season, and His Name is Ishmael for Bristol Old Vic; Joanne for Clean Break, and Amongst the Reeds for Clean Break/The Yard Theatre.

Her work for young people includes a modern retelling of Twist for Theatre Centre and Sweetness of a Sting for NT Connections.

Her work has been shortlisted for several awards including the Adrienne Benham and Alfred Fagon awards. In 2015 her unproduced play Wild is De Wind was shortlisted to the final ten for the Bruntwood Playwriting Award. She is the winner for the 2018 Sonia Friedman Award (Channel 4 Playwright Bursary) for a new play ‘How to Walk on the Moon’, and a finalist for the inaugural Women Playwriting Prize 2020 for her play Paradise Street.

Chinonyerem’s TV credits includes Scotch Bonnet for BBC Three and A Blues for Nia for BBC/Eclipse Theatre, Adulting for Channel 4, and more recently My Best Friend Married a Warrior for CBBC. Chinonyerem is currently developing TV series ideas for Popcorn Productions and BlackLight.

For radio, credits include The Last Flag, and Eve as part of This Is Your Country, Now series on BBC Radio 4.

As a director, Chinonyerem has worked for Bristol Old Vic, Theatre503 and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She will be co-directing her new musical play Black Love for Paines Plough, as well an audio drama for Live Theatre/BBC Radio 4 in March 2021.

Demystifying Arts Leadership
Alisha Artry
tiata fahodzi trustee

Alisha is a Creative Producer from South London and advocate for change through the arts.

She has been working in Theatre since graduating from the University of Kent with a Drama and Film degree.

She has worked in Participation at the Lyric Hammersmith, Frantic Assembly and is currently the Neighbourhood Theatre Producer in the Taking Part department at the Young Vic.

Alisha is the Co-Founder of the producing company Sculptress working with talent to cultivate new and exciting stories to share with audiences.


Demystifying Arts Leadership
Pooja Ghai
Tamasha Artistic Director

Pooja is an award-winning director, actor, and mentor whose recognised as a fierce advocate for giving voice to marginalised groups. Pooja is at the forefront of leadership change and active in organisations whose ethos helps achieve this. She is co-chair of Artistic Directors of the Future and trustee of Stage directors UK and Pop-Up Org CIC

Winner, Best Director, Lions and Tigers, Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Awards (ACTA)

Clore Theatre Fellow (Clore #17)

Project leader/Creative producer for Up Next with ADF/ Battersea Arts Centre (BAC) & The Bush Theatre (TBT); UP NEXT is a takeover initiative designed to catapult visionary culturally diverse artists into leadership roles in the UK’s theatre industry..

Mentor for the Old Vic Bayliss Director Scheme

Associate Artist, Kali Theatre; A company dedicated to developing ground-breaking, thought provoking contemporary theatre by female South Asian writers.

Judge for James Tait Black Prize for Drama. Celebrating innovative drama produced worldwide. Plays that challenge structure, content and form.

Associate Director Theatre Royal Stratford East 2015 – 2017. Senior Management Team. Led the new writing department. Directed Rapunzel (2017)

Directing Credits: Seriously Annoying by Mark Thomas (Tin Cat Productions), 2020 (Tara Theatre), Underlying Conditions (World Theatre Lab), Approaching Empty (Tamasha, Kiln, Live Theatre), Rapunzel (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Lions and Tigers (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), Counting Stars, The House of In Between, Home Theatre, Angelic Tales (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Tamasha 25, Shakti & Seva, Mother India (Rich Mix), The Accordian Shop (NT Connections), The Tune is Always Better on the Outside, Oysters, Mirad a boy from Bosnia (The Bedford), The Difference (Soho Theatre).

Dramaturg for Dance: Vestige, Out Late (Voxed)

Drama School: Love and Information (Guildhall) The Cherry Orchard (Guildhall), Much Ado About Nothing (Rose Bruford Theatre), Blue Stockings (East 15), The Empress (Central School of Speech and Drama), As You Like It (Ellen Terry Theatre), 13 (East 15),

Governance Roles: Co-chair of Stage Directors UK, we offer personal practical advice and ongoing advocacy with organisations and agents to improve fees, rights and royalties. We provide mediation and intervention in challenging work circumstances as well as offering bespoke training and development programmes.

Co-chair of Artistic Directors of the Future, we challenge the current structures of leadership and governance in arts organisations. We develop initiatives that create pathways to leadership, build networks, and demystify executive leadership roles. We nurture leaders of tomorrow who are from the Global Majority.


Demystifying Arts Leadership
Valerie Synmoie
CEO Tamasha

Valerie joined Tamasha in 2012 as the Developing Artists Producer and became the Executive Director in 2015. Prior to Tamasha she was a freelance producer / project manager working for a variety of organisations including the Cultural Leadership Programme, Africa Calling, The Advance Network (a partnership between the Royal Academy of Music, Kuumba Music and Tomorrows Warriors to diversify the classical music sector), Arts Council England (ACE), and Cultural Brokers.

Valerie worked at Arts Council England between 2000 and 2010, firstly leading on audience development and engagement and then becoming Head of Development in the London office. She also undertook a secondment during this period – to lead the development of ACE’s first International Policy. Prior to ACE Valerie has worked for a range of arts organisations including Bush Theatre, The Albany, the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, and the International Arts Bureau.

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Everything we do best, we do together. 
There are many ways to join us.

Support us

Everything we do best, we do together. There are many ways to join us.