Breaking: Jude Kelly quits South Bank

Breaking: Jude Kelly quits South Bank


norman lebrecht

January 18, 2018

The artistic director of London’s sinking South Bank Centre has gone overboard.

press release:

Jude Kelly CBE  (pic, left) has announced that, after 12 years at the artistic helm of the UK’s largest arts centre, she will leave Southbank Centre in May following the reopening of the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room. Jude will be moving on to focus on the worldwide development of the influential festival she founded in 2010, WOW – Women of the World.



  • FS60103 says:


  • DigbyW says:

    Is the Southbank really sinking, Norman? And, “chief quits after 12 years in charge” is hardly a story worthy of your snidey slant. Which, by the way does nothing to help the classical music scene in an increasingly difficult climate.

  • Lawrence Kershaw says:

    I just hope she’ll return to directing, whether theatre or opera. Her ENO ‘On the Town’ and RCM ‘Dialogue of the Carmelites’ were wonderful!

  • erich says:

    Artistic helm??? Don’t make me laugh. Dumbed down and Opportunist more like. Good riddance!

  • Doctor Zaius says:

    Both of the women in this photo made a laughing stock of the Southbank Centre. For good chamber music, recitals, and songs, one goes to Wigmore. For exceptionally interesting programming, talks, and film one goes to Barbican (yes, even with the acoustics). For an increasingly high-profile set of chamber concerts, one goes to Milton Court. But Jude Kelly and Gillian Moore were always working so hard to try to please the trendy audience-of-the-moment that…oops… Good riddance to her.

  • Tityrus says:

    This has made my day.

  • Polly P says:

    Sunk not sinking. Now it can start to innovate again and return to being an inspirational arts centre and forget its current jumble sale of self congratulatory incoherent mini-festival led programming.

  • Iain Scott says:

    What a sordid set of misogynistic comments.

    • anon says:

      Forgive me, but I cannot locate any misogyny in the comments above. Some robust criticism, yes, but that does not make it “sordid” nor “misogynistic”… Unless we are now to define any criticism of a person who happens to be a woman as /ipso facto/ misogyny?

  • Peter Smith says:

    The Royal Festival Hall remains one of the UK’s premier classical music venues. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at Southbank Centre’s web site – you have to scroll down a long way before there’s any mention of classical music. Let’s hope that Ms Kelly’s successor will restore classical music to its rightful place.

  • Lucy Listweil says:

    Jude Kelly’s “The teat is noise” will probably go down in history as one of the best concert series ever.
    Not only were the concerts well attended, but met with critical acclaim. It is a great shame she is leaving.

  • Oliver says:

    “Sinking”. In the year to 31st March the South Bank Centre’s net assets increased by £18m, from £203m to £221m. That doesn’t look very much like sinking to me.