The 10 most powerful women in the arts in the UK
10. Emily Eavis - Glastonbury, co-organiser
The daughter of Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has been sharing her father’s responsibilities for organizing the UK’s biggest music and arts festival since 2000. Eavis curates her own stage called The Park, where musicians such as Yoko Ono and James Blake performed in 2014, and also books acts for sought-after slots on the iconic Pyramid stage.
Prior to her role as the Royal Court’s first female director, Featherstone was the inaugural artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland and a BBC drama executive, creating original drama series such as Silent Witness. She is known for championing new writing talent and has said, “The notion of producing classics really bores me. What challenges me is being the first person to uncover a play.”
8. Amanda Sharp - Frieze Art Fair, co-founder
The co-founder of Frieze Art Fair has transformed London’s art scene into an essential stop on the global calendar. The fair, which features more than 170 contemporary art galleries, has more recently attracted a particularly fashion-forward crowd, which has led some to label it the world’s fifth fashion week. Two new branches, Frieze New York and Frieze Masters, were launched in 2012.
7. Amanda Berry - BAFTA. chief executive
The chief executive of BAFTA is acknowledged to have one of the most powerful jobs in British film. Since her appointment in 2000, she has transformed the Academy board, which was financially flailing at the time, to hold its own against its glitzy American counterparts during award season. She oversees BAFTA’s nine awards ceremonies as well as its charitable learning program that consists of more than 200 events each year.
6. Penelope Curtis - Tate Britain, director
Though 2014 was a year of mixed reviews for the director of the Tate Britain (a schedule of unsatisfactory exhibitions left critics calling for her to go) she undoubtedly holds one of the most high-profile positions in the male-dominated museum world. Appointed in 2010, she oversaw the £45 million redevelopment and rehang of the gallery, whilst simultaneously staging blockbuster exhibitions including Picasso and Modern British Art and LS Lowry.
5. Kanya King - MOBO Awards, founder
King established the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards in 1996 with an aim to bring black music and culture to the mainstream, providing a platform for artists from Craig David to Amy Winehouse along the way. Such is the power of the awards ceremony, before he was well known in Europe, Kanye West’s MOBO nominations led to his record sales increasing by 62 per cent in the year he was nominated.
4. Tamara Rojo - English National Ballet, artistic director and dancer
The Spanish ballerina, who combines her role as artistic director of the English National Ballet with lead principle dancer, has ambitiously revitalized the company’s repertoire by commissioning leading contemporary choreographers such as Akram Khan – to great critical success.
3. Tessa Ross, National Theater - chief executive
The award-winning film executive has been responsible for producing iconic British films including Billy Elliot, The Last King of Scotland, Slumdog Millionaire and The Iron Lady. She is the director of the Royal National Theater, the governor of the National Film and Television school and received a BAFTA award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in 2013.
2. Jude Kelly - Southbank Centre, artistic director
Kelly is the artistic director of London’s sprawling Southbank Centre, Britain’s largest cultural institution, where she founded the annual Women of the World Festival in 2011. She led the cultural team for the successful London 2012 Olympic bid, and has also directed numerous award-winning theatrical productions, including The Seagull and The Tempest with Sir Ian McKellen, and When We Were Married with Dawn French.
1. Iwona Blazwick - Whitechapel gallery, Director
Rumoured to be next in line to succeed Sir Nicholas Serota as director of the Tate, the revered gallery director and curator Iwona Blazwick currently oversees a program that champions emerging and overlooked artists at the Whitechapel. As a young curator she was the first person to stage a solo show of Damien Hirst’s work in a public gallery, and has been credited for raising the profile of artists Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley. Blazwick was appointed an OBE in 2008 and is the chair of the London Cultural Strategy Group.