Indhu Rubasingham to step down from Kiln Theatre

Kiln Theatre in North London has announced that their Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham is to step down, leaving early 2024.

Rubasingham has led the company for over 10 years, taking up the post in 2012.

The recruitment process for her replacement will begin later this month.

Her first production as Artistic Director of the Kiln was the critically acclaimed, award-winning Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti, starring Adrian Lester. The show was nominated for the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, and Chakrabarti won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright. The production transferred to St Ann’s Warehouse in New York and to the West End’s Garrick Theatre.

New writing became a mainstay of Rubasingham’s tenure including Philip Himberg’s new musical Paper Dolls, and Moira Buffini’s Handbagged, which won the Olivier Award for Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre before transferring to the West End and Washington.

At the theatre Rubasingham has also directed Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand and The Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, with long-term partners Lucian Msamati, Adjoa Andoh and Sharon D Clarke; and Ayad Akhtar’s The Invisible Hand, which was one of the last productions under the Tricycle Theatre name before it became the Kiln.

The company also presented Florian Zeller’s triptych of plays – The Father, The Mother and The Son, with The Father and The Son getting West End transfers; and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, adapted for the stage by Stephen Sharkey, and Smith’s original play The Wife of Willesden, which also transferred to the US.

Rubasingham also oversaw a £9m major capital refurbishment of the venue, and developed a number of creative engagement initiatives.

Kiln Theatre won The Stage 2021 Award for London Theatre of the Year.

About to start playing at the Kiln is new drama Es & Flo (from 5 June 2023), followed by drag king show Modest (from 29 June 2023). In autumn, the Kiln presents Lynn Nottage drama Mlima’s Tale (from 14 September 2023).

What they said

Indhu Rubasingham said today in a statement: “I never had an inkling of the journey ahead when I was first was appointed. I immediately felt the responsibility, but what emerged was both challenging and exhilarating, an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It has been an immense honour to be Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre. I have learnt and grown so much over these past 11 years. It has given me the privilege and opportunity to work with many brilliant people, who have contributed to the successes of Kiln; a theatre with a mission that is heartfelt and held by the whole team. I am deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees chaired by Sita McIntosh and former trustees and Chairs for their support and guidance and care of Kiln, and also to the many donors and Arts Council England who have allowed the Kiln to flourish and achieve all the things it has. It is a wonderful space, that welcomes us in to immerse ourselves in different worlds, narratives and experiences. I have been very lucky to be part of its story. It now feels the right moment to pass the baton and herald the next chapter of this unique theatre.”

Chair of the Board, Sita McIntosh said: “Indhu has brought so many incredible qualities to the role of Artistic Director – a flair for programming, the innate ability to combine the commercial with artistic risk, and to bring a wealth of voices into the Kiln, never afraid to challenge, to ask questions, and to bring out the very best in those whose work she champions. However, it’s not only on the stage that her presence is felt, she’s put creative engagement at the very forefront of the company’s ethos, firmly believing theatre should be accessible to everyone through the work and through training opportunities. She’s a rare talent, and she will be much missed. Her greatest legacy is the building, which through a major capital project, she has future proofed for generations, and it’s that building that will host the next chapter for the company as we look for a new Artistic Director to build on Indhu’s evident successes.”

Writer Ayad Aktar said: “Working with Indhu Rubasingham at the Kiln has been the high point of my career as a playwright. Full stop. She is a fearless and gifted director — with that rarest of capacities to give audiences a pleasure that transforms them.

Playwright Lynn Nottage said: “Kiln Theatre is a singular place, it is a theatre that reflects the diversity, vitality and distinctiveness of its neighbourhood, while at the same time inviting adventurous storytelling that embraces a multitude of perspectives.”

Actor Sharon D Clarke said: “This place was a special cocoon. Now she has grown and blossomed into a beautiful butterfly.”

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👤 📅1 June 2023
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📷 Main photo: Indhu Rubasingham Photo by Mark Douet

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