New artistic director Kully Thiarai for National Theatre Wales

Kully Thiarai Image copyright National Theatre Wales

National Theatre Wales (NTW) has appointed Kully Thiarai as its new artistic director.

She replaces NTW's founding artistic director John McGrath, who left at the end of 2015 to lead the Manchester International Festival.

Thiarai currently runs Doncaster's Cast performance venue, and previously directed NTW's Soul Exchange show in Butetown in 2011.

She said she was "thrilled" to be joining NTW.

"I have been hugely inspired by the range and diversity of work that has taken place over the last five years under John McGrath's leadership. A wonderful artistic mapping of Wales and its people; extraordinary work that is daring, provocative and joyous, found in surprising places across the country.

"I intend to build on this legacy by ensuring that National Theatre Wales continues to be original, radical and relevant.

"Many people and organisations have contributed brilliantly to making the company such a national and international success, and I look forward to working with them all," she said.

Thiarai has overseen productions at Doncaster's Cast since it opened in 2013, while she previously worked on large-scale outdoor performances and intimate productions in the UK and internationally during a career spanning almost 30 years.

Her appointment to NTW means many of Wales's producing theatres are now led by women.

Women running Welsh theatres

Clwyd Theatr Cymru: Tamara Harvey

National Theatre Wales: Kully Thiarai

Pontio: Elen ap Robert

Sherman Cymru: Rachel O'Riordan

Chair of the Arts Council of Wales, Dai Smith, praised Kully Thiarai's appointment to National Theatre Wales following the success of John McGrath's tenure.

"Now comes the challenge of the second act: how to continue to be daring, radical, rooted and inspirational in the young tradition which NTW has created.

"In appointing Kully Thiarai, a creative talent whose own vision and practice clearly mirror what Wales has been enjoying from NTW, the signal given out is bright and confident."

Thiarai is expected to take up her role in May.

Welsh government deputy minister for culture Ken Skates welcomed the appointment, saying: "It is great to see the appointment of such a dynamic and well-respected person to this very important role.

"I want to see more people participating in and enjoying the arts in Wales and am therefore particularly excited about Kully's experience developing the arts in Doncaster."

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