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Jude Kelly talking on stage

About Jude Kelly

Jude Kelly stands behind a lectern

Jude Kelly CBE is CEO and Founder of The WOW Foundation. She founded WOW to celebrate the achievements of women and girls and confront global gender injustice. Starting as a three-day festival at London’s Southbank Centre in 2010, where Jude was Artistic Director for 12 years, the festival now takes place in 30 locations across six continents.

In 2018 Jude established The WOW Foundation, an independent charity dedicated to building the WOW movement as a force for change.

Jude has directed over 200 theatre and opera productions, is the recipient of two Olivier Awards, a BASCA Gold Badge Award for contribution to music, a Southbank Award for opera, an RPO award for her festival The Rest is Noise, Women’s Hour’s one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK in 2013, Red Magazine’s 2014 Creative Woman of the Year, CBIs 2016 First Woman Award for Tourism and Leisure and in 2017 the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Woman of the Year Social Purpose Award. She was also headhunted to join the bidding team for the 2012 London Olympics and create the programme for culture and ceremonies, she subsequently advised both Rio and Tokyo on their successful bids.

Jude has founded a range of arts institutions and has commissioned and supported the work of thousands of female artists across all genres.

In 1997, she was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre and in 2015 she was made a CBE for services to the Arts.

Support WOW

We are a small female-led charity that believes a gender equal world is desirable, possible and urgently required. Support us in our mission to build a global movement that celebrates women and girls.You can donate here.

Your support helps to make WOW UK Festival our most wide-reaching and accessible programme yet. Find out how you can Support WOW here.