Stella Kanu appointed Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s Globe

  Stella Kanu brings over 30 years of experience working in the theatre, festival, and cultural sectors

6 minute read

Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce the appointment of Stella Kanu as Chief Executive.

A timber-framed building in front of a blue sky

Shakespeare’s Globe is a world-renowned theatre, education centre, and cultural landmark on the south bank of Thames in London.

Stella brings over 30 years of experience working in the theatre, festival, and cultural sectors, and is currently Executive Director at LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre), leading the strategic strands of the business and executive producing of the biennial-festival.

During her tenure, Stella led the organisation through a challenging pandemic, despite this she has since built a healthy surplus for the first time in 10 years; secured international research partnerships focused on Climate Change and has overseen the creation of ‘LIFT the City’ – a new innovative partnership with City of London Corporation to reshape the square mile through Culture by 2025. She executive produced the UK premiere of the Lithuanian Venice Biennial Golden Lion winner Sun and Sea, bringing it to London for the first time in 2022. She leaves LIFT in a stronger financial position, with renewed operational strength, exciting partnerships, and a dynamic team.

A close-up photograph of a woman sitting in the Globe Theatre, smiling to camera.

Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce the appointment of Stella Kanu as Chief Executive. Photographer: Sarah Lee

‘Shakespeare’s Globe is more than a theatre or Shakespeare’s workplace. It is an extraordinary meeting place of the past and the future held together with storytelling that questions what it means to be human – flaws, triumphs, ambitions, and epic fails. It has proved it can hold the past while being responsive to the demands of now – inclusive, audience-engaging productions, great links in the community and across education, a great leadership team leading with heart and exceptional skills, supported by superb governance. I am thrilled to be building on the extraordinary foundation Neil has put in place in the pursuit of access for all. I remain humbled and ready to lead us into a future where access, equity and inclusion mean we can open our doors to everyone we can, where those who work with us are inspired to do their best work and those who support us see our true and lasting value. It’s an exciting time and I can’t wait to get started!’

— Stella Kanu, Incoming Chief Executive

A group of people stand together on and around the stage of the Globe Theatre, smiling at the camera.

At the Globe, Stella has spoken at the Women and Power: Women and Leadership Symposium (2019) and led the iconic photoshoot in 2019 for ‘Black Women in Theatre’ gathering more than 250 black women and non-binary people working in theatre together on the Globe stage to celebrate their contribution to the industry. Photographer: Sharron Wallace

Earlier this year, the Globe announced that current Chief Executive, Neil Constable, would step down from the role after almost 14 years leading the team which transformed the Globe into the world-class destination it is today. The competitive and thorough recruitment was led by the Globe’s Board. The nominations committee were supported by Global Talent Advisory Firm Green Park. Stella will join the Globe in Autumn 2023, allowing for a smooth leadership transition. It is an exciting week for us at the Globe with the opening of our summer season on 27 April, and our Artistic Director Michelle Terry appearing as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shakespeare’s Globe is a world-renowned theatre, education centre, and cultural landmark on the south bank of Thames in London, and an independent charity, operating without any regular subsidy or Arts Council England funding. This change of leadership takes place as audiences are returning to the theatre and London, following successive lockdowns and closure, and 3 years of Covid disruption during which the Globe has survived by virtue of necessary depletion of its reserves. The Globe is comprised of two theatres (open-air Globe Theatre and candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), a significant education department including in-house academics, and a year-round cultural tourism offer.

A man wearing a suit sits in the Globe Theatre, smiling to camera.

‘I am delighted both on behalf of the Globe and personally that Stella will be taking over as Chief Executive. I have absolute confidence that I will be leaving it in good hands and look forward to celebrating her achievements as she takes on leadership of our unique and talented people. It has been the greatest privilege to serve the Globe for half its lifespan. I feel honoured to have guided it through the most extraordinary of tough times. Whilst we are on firmer financial footing, there is a long journey ahead, and I know she will have the full support of our brilliant Board of Trustees in forging the way forward. Shakespeare’s ongoing importance and relevance is clear – his works offer endless opportunities for discovery and exploration. I am certain that Stella is the natural champion the Globe needs – as the house playwright put it ‘Good luck go with thee!”

— Neil Constable, Chief Executive

A woman sits before a blue background, smiling.

‘Neil Constable’s contribution to the Globe following 14 years of dedicated leadership has been immense. He has left big shoes to fill, working tirelessly with the Globe Board and the wider leadership team to ensure our beloved wooden ‘O’ remains a triumph to celebrate for years to come. Our wonderful incoming CEO Stella Kanu combines an impressive mix of commercial skill and experience with vision, she has a passion and great knowledge of theatre, a love of Shakespeare and new thinking. I greatly look forward to working with her as the Globe takes its next strategic leaps forward into a future of growth and continued success.’

— Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, Chair of Shakespeare’s Globe

A woman sits smiling on a row of wooden benches, her hand tucking her hair behind her ear

‘We could not be more proud or more excited about Stella Kanu joining us as CEO at the Globe. We owe a debt of gratitude to Neil Constable – what’s past is always prologue and we wouldn’t be here without standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before us. Stella joins an incredible, predominantly female leadership team, who are all so delighted with not only the great experience Stella brings, but also her heart, soul, values, strength and commitment to the profound impact that art, education, and culture can have. Stella is the embodiment of all the Globe stands for and we cannot wait for her to lead us into the next chapter of the Globe’s history, as we continue to put Shakespeare to work for all.’

— Michelle Terry, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, on behalf of the Directorate team

A black and white photograph of a woman looking into camera, her chin resting on crossed arms.

‘We had expected this to be a competitive recruitment drive, but were thrilled to find quite so many brilliant and talented leaders applying to become the new Chief Executive of the Globe. Out of all of them, Stella stood out with her vision and passion, which we all found contagious. I look forward to seeing the Globe continue to go from strength to strength under her leadership.’

— Nell Leyshon, Chair of the Nominations Committee

A man wearing a suit stands smiling to camera in front of a brick wall.

‘I am delighted to see Stella join the Globe. Having worked with her as former Chair of LIFT, I can attest without hesitation to her true skill and inspiring charisma. A responsible leader, with proven management skills, and a huge breadth of experience, Stella is brimming with vision and passion – I look forward to seeing her put her talents to work at Shakespeare’s Globe.’

— Bernard Donoghue, Chief Executive, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA)