Artistic Directors of the Future announces partners for its ground breaking Board Shadowing Programme 

Artistic Directors of the Future announces partners for its ground breaking Board Shadowing Programme 

Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) is pleased to announce it is partnering with Without Walls and Dance Umbrella as host organisations for their award-winning Board Shadowing Programme for 2022. The ground-breaking programme offers arts organisations the chance to meet and potentially develop relationships with Black, Asian and ethnically diverse board members. It is also an opportunity for companies to assess their engagement and retention strategies for ethnically diverse people.


Working with Dance Umbrella and Without Walls, ADF have developed a bespoke package which includes induction sessions, support, shadowing time, meet and greets, governance training, networking and evaluation; this ensures that members and host organisations gain a meaningful, informative and practical experience which will lead to positive change for the sector as a whole. The Board Shadowing Programme won The Stage Newspaper Award for Innovation in 2020. It was designed to demystify the roles and responsibilities of a board, broker relationships with aspiring trustees and create an even playing field for future opportunities. Since ADF’s Board Shadowing Programme begun in September 2018, four members have joined boards of influential organisations – Anni Domingo has become a Trustee for Sheffield Theatres, Anthony Almeida a Trustee for Nottingham Playhouse, Eileen Bellot a Trustee for Tamasha Theatre and Stage Sight and Artistic Directors of the Future’s Membership and Engagement Producer, Francesca Murray-Fuentes is now a Trustee for Oxford School of Drama.


‘As the largest outdoor arts consortium in England, Without Walls is thrilled to be one of the host organisations for the ADF Board Shadowing Programme. We welcome the opportunity and look forward to gaining new insights from the Board Shadowers, as well as providing pathways for a more representative cultural sector. This aligns with our existing commitment to diversify the outdoor arts sector and builds on an existing programme of activities to support Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse creatives working in the field of outdoor arts across the country. We look forward to welcoming the ADF shadowers in the months to come.’

David Morgan, Programme Manager, Without Walls

If you are an arts practitioner who would like to become a Board Member and benefit from help and guidance it is not too late, closing date is 15 November 2021, contact ADF at

‘Dance Umbrella is humbled to be part of ADF’s important Board Shadowing programme.  Giving emerging leaders exposure and insight into boards is a vital professional development opportunity. Boards that reflect a breadth of experience and perspectives are essential for future-facing organisations.’

Freddie Opoku-Addaie and Tania Wilmer, Dance Umbrella 

Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) is a charitable organisation dedicated to increasing the number of culturally diverse artistic directors of theatres and arts organisations. Since its inception in 2014, ADF has built a growing membership of culturally diverse practitioners and have forged strong relationships with venues, arts organisations and theatre companies across the UK. ADF works with a wide range of Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse artists and administrators to inspire, prepare, support and empower artistic leaders at the start of their career or mid-career and looking for a change. By working in collaboration with the theatre industry, academia and leading venues and arts organisations nationally, ADF delivers bespoke development programmes, generates access to positions of authority, and cultivates artistic leadership opportunities. In 2020 Artistic Directors of the Future was awarded The Stage Innovation Award for its trailblazing Board Shadowing Programme.  Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) was one of the first organisations in the UK that tried to address the lack of diversity in theatre at senior level. ADF has also developed other impactful initiatives such as Up Next, working in partnership with ACE’s Sustained Theatre initiative. Up Next catapulted six ADF members into positions of artistic leadership at the Bush and BAC, to create space for programmes that brought in new audiences and diverse voices. This resulted in Tarek Iskander becoming the Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre.

Dance Umbrella is London’s international dance festival, celebrating 21st century choreography across the capital and beyond. Their mission is to entice audiences, nurture artists, innovate practice, and stimulate interest in the power of the body in motion. Since 1978, their annual festival has brought outstanding contemporary dance to London, presenting more than 785 artists from 40 countries to over one million people. They were the first to present Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Akram Khan, Michael Clark and many more in the UK and performed at a range of places from Smithfield Market to the British Library; from canal long boats to Alexandra Palace Ice Rink; from inner city car park rooftops to outer London parks.

Established in 2007 Without Walls has grown into a consortium of 36 partners, spanning 3 strategic groups.  Together they create, develop and tour innovative new work and invest in the growth of the outdoor arts sector. Without Walls is made up of the Artistic Directorate, the Touring Network Partnership and the Creative Development Network. Since 2007, they have supported over 200 new shows made by artists working at the heart of the outdoor arts sector, encouraging them to explore ideas in a positive, supportive environment.

Photo shows Board Shadowing Cohorts 2018.

Leave a Comment