Justine Themen, Corey Campbell and Balisha Karra will be handed the keys to the theatre for Coventry’s year as City of Culture.

The Belgrade Theatre Coventry is delighted to announce the appointment of Corey Campbell, Balisha Karra and Justine Themen as the three Co-Artistic Directors who will oversee its producing programme for Coventry’s year as City of Culture in 2021.

The recruitment follows a call-out for two theatre-makers to join the Belgrade’s Deputy Artistic Director Justine Themen in taking over the planning and programming of the Belgrade’s home-produced work for 2021. As well as introducing fresh perspectives to the Belgrade, it is hoped that the appointments will provide a new model for lasting change across the theatre industry.

Working collaboratively with emerging artists, diverse talent and local communities, the three Co-Artistic Directors will deliver an ambitious programme of produced work for the year. This will sit alongside the Theatre’s usual variety of presented work, including a wide range of touring musicals, classic drama, live music and family shows.

Titled “Keys”, the project was partly inspired by the story of the African-American actor Ira Aldridge who, at the age of 21, became the first person of colour to manage a British theatre when he was handed the keys of the Coventry Theatre in 1828. At the time, slavery was still legal throughout the British Empire, and Aldridge’s speeches on the subject spurred on the people of Coventry to campaign for its abolition.