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Today the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Shriti Vadera as the new Chair of the RSC.  Shriti will take up the role at the AGM this Autumn when the current Chair, Nigel Hugill, steps down after ten years.

The search for the new Chair was led by RSC Board Deputy Chair, Miranda Curtis CMG, working with leading search firm Perrett Laver.  The recruitment brief was to identify a candidate to Chair the RSC who was a highly experienced, inclusive leader, committed to the Company’s vision, mission and values, and with a proven track record of leading an organisation through significant strategic transformation.  Candidates also needed to demonstrate a deep appreciation for the power of theatre, education and culture to enrich society, and a proven commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion. As part of the process, all shortlisted candidates were interviewed by members of the RSC’s Youth Advisory Board, who described their meeting with Shriti as ‘inspirational’.

Shriti will be the first female Chair and first person of colour to lead the RSC Board.  She was recently appointed Chair of Prudential plc and was previously Chair of Santander UK (the first woman to Chair a major British bank) and served on the Boards of Astra Zeneca and BHP. Shriti has over 30 years of experience spanning both public and private sectors, domestically as well as internationally, and early in her career served as a Minister in the Cabinet Office and in the International Development and Business Departments.  After leaving government she served as an adviser to the G20, and to governments across the globe. Her areas of expertise include strategic change management, cross-cutting policy making and international negotiations. Shriti is a member of the House of Lords, on leave of absence since 2011.

On accepting the appointment Shriti commented:

‘I grew up in Uganda and India, in a traditional community where expectations of the development of girls were narrow and strict. I read and imagined Shakespeare before I saw it performed and it opened up a different world, giving me the courage to aspire to possibilities that transformed my life.

‘I am passionate about the arts and the impact they can have on the lives of individuals and communities.  I have long been a supporter of the RSC, a Company rooted in history and which is modern, innovative and dynamic, uniquely national but also global.  It is a Company that is dedicated to the excellence of its art while being acutely aware of its wider roles and responsibilities. As the RSC emerges from one of its most difficult years, responding to the global pandemic, I am excited to be supporting and championing the RSC as its new Chair and to look to the future.  It is a joy and an honour.’

Current Chair Nigel Hugill added:

‘When you step down as Chair from a place that you care about so deeply, you want to be able to anticipate ongoing success with confidence and to know that responsibility is being passed on to the best of hands.  Shriti Vadera believes strongly in the Company's teaching, values and reach and is a marvellous choice as next Chair of the RSC.  I could not be more delighted.’ 

Commenting on the process, which was observed by Arts Council England, Miranda Curtis said:

‘In a highly competitive field, Shriti stood out for her professionalism and relevant experience, her profound passion for Shakespeare and the transformative power of theatre, her clarity of vision and understanding of the strategic challenges facing the RSC, and her personal warmth.’

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said:

‘We’re delighted to welcome Baroness Vadera as the new Chair of the RSC, she brings with her a real passion for arts and culture, a wealth of leadership skills melded with business experience.

‘The RSC has an international reputation for excellence, producing great theatre that inspires people across the country and the rest of the world, ensuring millions of people can access world class cultural activities and share in creative experiences. A strong, diverse and forward-thinking board is key to this success and I must also pay tribute to Nigel Hugill, as the departing Chair, who has led with innovation, professionalism and commitment for 10 years.’

The post of Chair is held at the discretion of the Board of the RSC, which is a registered Charity (No. 212481). Expenses are paid when claimed, but the post itself is not remunerated. 


For further information contact:, 07966295032 or 07920244434.


Current RSC Board members: Nigel Hugill (Chair), Sir William Atkinson, Miranda Curtis, Gregory Doran, Catherine Mallyon, Genista McIntosh, Andrew Miller, Amanda Parker, Winsome Pinnock, Clare Reddington, James Shapiro, Mark Smith, Ian Squires, Justine Themen, Ayanna Thompson, Mark Thompson, Liz Vernon, Lucy Williams.

The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England

The RSC is generously supported by RSC America

The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund

The RSC is a recipient of the Weston Culture Fund

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Kovner Foundation

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates world class theatre, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world, performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as well as commissioning an exceptionally wide range of original work from contemporary writers.  Our purpose is to ensure that Shakespeare is for everyone, and we do that by unlocking the power of his plays and of live performance, throughout the UK and across the world.

We believe everybody’s life is enriched by culture and creativity.  We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future.  Our transformative Learning Programmes reach over half a million young people and adults each year, and through our Placemaking and Public Programme we create projects with and for communities who have not historically engaged with our work.  We are a leader in creative immersive technologies and digital development. 

We have a proud record of innovation, diversity and excellence on stage and are determined to grasp the opportunity to become an even more inclusive, progressive, relevant and ambitious organisation. 

We recognise the climate emergency and work hard to embed environmental sustainability into our operations, creative work and business practice, making a commitment to continually reduce our carbon footprint.

Registered charity no. 212481


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