Southbank Centre appoints new artistic director

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Southbank Centre appoints new artistic director
Mark Ball is currently Creative Director at Manchester International Festival. Photo: Rebecca Lupton.

LONDON.- Mark Ball has been appointed the new Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre.

Currently Creative Director at Manchester International Festival (MIF), Mark will join the multi-arts centre in January 2022 and will have overall responsibility for the artistic direction of the largest cultural centre in the UK, leading the organisation as it enters a new era. Mark will report to Elaine Bedell, CEO.

The Artistic Director is responsible for setting and delivering an overall artistic strategy and has a mandate to drive a broader UK-wide reach and expand the organisation’s digital offer. Mark will be responsible for the delivery of the entire artistic programme, working with the Southbank Centre’s talented artistic team and extensive creative network to produce a dynamic and world class programme at the heart of London.

In his current role as Creative Director at Manchester International Festival (MIF), Mark is responsible for leading the artistic programme for The Factory, the new cultural space currently being built in Manchester. He was previously Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), Head of Events and Exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Artistic Director of Fierce! Mark is Chair of Belarus Free Theatre and an Advisory Board Member of the Science and Industry Museum.

On joining the Southbank Centre, Mark Ball, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the talented and passionate team at the Southbank Centre as Artistic Director. As we emerge from the pandemic it will be our shared cultural experiences that will help us unite and create a positive and optimistic future together. I’m keen to build on the unique legacy of the Southbank Centre, which emerged from the Festival of Britain, and build a bold, inclusive and collaborative international programme that’s seared with artistic innovation and experiment and that excites the imaginations of artists and audiences across London and the UK.”

Elaine Bedell, CEO of the Southbank Centre, said: “As we enter a new era, Mark will bring a uniting vision to our mix of music, visual art, literature and performance. He has a clear and ambitious vision for the artistic future of the Southbank Centre, with excellence, digital innovation and international collaboration at its heart. Mark will join me, Misan and the rest of the team in developing an exciting new chapter for the Southbank Centre - and I can't wait to start working with him.”

Misan Harriman, Chair of the Southbank Centre, added: “Mark will bring a fresh perspective on how we deliver a cultural programme that appeals to the many audiences we serve, and I’m excited at how he will also bring new energy and innovation to the remarkable artistic community we work with. Lockdown has shown us how many people turned to culture, both online and outside, so we’re aware of huge potential as we explore new ways to bring arts to our communities. Mark’s commitment to a wide range of voices in the arts will be invaluable as we develop a modern, post-lockdown cultural institution, and a beating heart at the centre of the capital.”

Tonya Nelson, Area Director, London, Arts Council England, said: “Arts Council England is pleased to welcome Mark Ball as the new Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre. His proven commitment to creative engagement and bringing people together from all backgrounds and ages to enjoy culture will be especially valuable as the Southbank Centre welcomes back visitors to its exhibition spaces, concert halls and outdoor programme. This is an exciting appointment for the Southbank Centre and we look forward to working with Mark.”

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