21st May 2019
We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Stella Kanu as our new Executive Director
Stella is currently Executive Producer at Ovalhouse and since 2015 has overseen a comprehensive organisational and community-led transition as Ovalhouse constructs London’s newest purpose built £15m theatre in Brixton. She has over 25 years’ experience of producing theatre, festivals and activities, having worked for organisations in the UK and beyond including Soundwave Cumbria where she was CEO, Cardboard Citizens, Harlem Stage, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Clean Break Theatre, to name a few. In addition to this, she has lead cultural projects for local councils and delivered government-backed cultural investment initiatives including the Aylesbury Estate New Deal for Communities. Stella also mentors and coaches emerging, mid-career and established leaders and has spoken at numerous conferences and symposiums, having most recently featured as part of Shakespeare’s Globe’s Women & Power festival in May 2019.
Stella Kanu had this to say:
‘It is an exciting time to be joining LIFT, a festival and programme that reclaims what internationalism means to Londoners and artists alike and is bold about localism. I am looking forward to joining Kris in developing those radical collaborations that LIFT is known for, and that audiences love, and I can’t wait to work with the whole team to propel LIFT into its dazzling future.’
Starting in July 2019, Stella joins us at an important and exciting moment. After almost four decades of iconic, inspiring programming, LIFT is embarking on the next significant chapter of the organisation’s life following the appointment of Kris Nelson as our Artistic Director & CEO in 2018. Stella will bring her extensive expertise to lead the team towards and beyond our next festival in June 2020, as we develop new and existing local, national and international partnerships and create the context for daring and resonant artistic projects to come to life.
Kris Nelson, Artistic Director & CEO said:
‘I am thrilled to welcome Stella to LIFT. Stella is a strategic, skilled and entrepreneurial producer who has worked across artforms. She is one of London’s leading champions of cultural democracy; her ability to connect art and communities makes her a perfect fit for LIFT. Stella oversaw a period of tremendous growth and change at Ovalhouse, attracting new audiences, new civic and community partners and a great deal of momentum for the organisation. I know that together we will bring LIFT to great new heights.’
Bernard Donoghue, Chair of the LIFT Board said:
‘I am absolutely delighted that Stella will be joining us as Executive Director. It’s a hugely important role as we prepare not only for next year’s festival but how we position the organisation to respond to, and influence the changing political, financial and cultural climate over the next few years. Having someone of Stella’s experience, passion, enthusiasm and energy is very exciting and I have every confidence that with Kris Nelson, our Artistic Director and CEO, we have secured the dream team.’