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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Jude Kelly
On Sunday 18 September 2005 Andrew Marr interviewed Jude Kelly, South Bank Artistic Director

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Jude Kelly
Jude Kelly, South Bank Artistic Director

ANDREW MARR: Now Jude Kelly's been praised as one of the most influential and inspirational figures on the arts scene and a times survey recently named her the most powerful woman in the arts in the UK.

She turned the West Yorkshire Playhouse into one of our most exciting theatres; Tony Blair put her in charge of all the cultural events linked to the 2012 Olympics. Her latest challenge is to totally revamp London's South Bank and turn it into a cultural epicentre of the country.

We're going to talk about that in a moment but first a glimpse of her most recent hit production the classical musical On the Town.


ANDREW MARR: Great stuff Jude. People say that you are not sufficiently a music person and the South Bank is above all a music place.

JUDE KELLY: Well, I mean the first thing to say about the South Bank is that it's one of the most treasured places that British people have in their hearts - because obviously it was built when the Festival of Britain was, was celebrating the end of the Second World War, all the hopes and all the aspirations, and it was intended to be a place where many art forms and many kinds of people and many kinds of publics could all join together and celebrate.

And I think that it's got a fantastic tradition in all art forms but of course it has a wonderful tradition for serious music of all kinds and I don't see that as changing.

ANDREW MARR: What about the, the Hayward Gallery, because now sandwiched between Saatchi on the one side and Tate Modern on the other, some people say it should actually be closed down?

JUDE KELLY: Yes, that would be unthinkable. But I think that the, the interesting thing for all the arts in the country is that they're constantly responding to different shifts, different moods and different tastes. It's always a good thing, in my opinion, when sort of the eco system changes - I think the Tate's magnificent and I think the Saatchi Gallery is very entrepreneurial and I think it positions the Hayward in a new light - and I think that's what's got to happen.

I also want to say that, you know, one of the reasons I've come to the South Bank is because when Michael Linch who is the chief executive, came over from the Sydney Opera House to take on this massive challenge of reframing the landscape, he's done it so successfully that we've really got a new opportunity, as we're heading for the Olympics, to do something completely different there.

And one of your young researchers was just saying "I love the South Bank, it's got such a great vibe" and I think this idea that it's sort of for young people and for people who have known it since the beginning, that's what makes it so amazing.

ANDREW MARR: Is it going to physically possible to do the, the big Olympics job, and this job, and you also want to carry on directing your own shows - I mean you've given yourself a heck of a schedule?

JUDE KELLY: Well I think I ought to clarify this - I mean I'm chair of culture, ... and education for the Olympics for the bid and I'm chair of it going forward - but that's not the same as running it, and we're about to a point, we're about to advertise anyway, for a director to take on that executive role. So as a chair, overseeing some of the journey, that will be very exciting, but it's a hands off role.

You know, my commitment is to making the South Bank a place that is vivid, artistically fresh and, you know, what could be a more amazing challenge than that, but doing it at the same time as the country is heading for 2012, that's very inspiring for me.

ANDREW MARR: If there's one show, or one kind of event, that symbolises to you what you want to be at the heart of the South Bank, what would it be?

JUDE KELLY: Well I think that's the point - there isn't one show, because if there was why would you have all this amazing collection of buildings, galleries, theatres, spaces, operas - you know concert halls - and indeed the landscape on the river, it's the lot. It's the combination of the lot.

My intention with Michael is to make this a real festival site again, where the world festivals one - it's the epicentre of world festivals - and that's a very sort of exotic and exciting place.

ANDREW MARR: Exotic and exciting - Jude Kelly thank you very much indeed.


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy

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