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Birmingham Post Power 250 2017: Arts & Culture

See who keeps the West Midlands' arts and culture scene thriving

Nick Reed, chief executive of Town Hall and Symphony Hall

Fiona Allan, Birmingham Hippodrome

Fiona Allan became chief executive and artistic director of Birmingham Hippodrome in 2015, moving from Leicester's renowned Curve theatre, where she oversaw the development of a daytime programme of free performances and workshops. Before that, she was chief executive of the Sydney Film Festival and artistic director of the Wales Millennium Centre. Last year, she was appointed president of UK Theatre.

Anita Bhalla OBE

Anita Bhalla has worked at the BBC for more than 25 years. She has gone from being one of the first regionally based bi-media correspondents to being head of the BBC's Public Space Broadcasting. She has also presented Channel 4's Eastern Eye and other national programmes. She is chairman of Performances Birmingham (Symphony Hall and Town Hall), chairman of the Creative City Partnership and a board member of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. She is also a past chair of the Midlands Arts Centre. A trained teacher, she set up the BBC Asian Network in the West Midlands which is now a national digital service.

David Burbidge CBE, Coventry City of Culture Trust

David Burbidge leads Coventry's UK City of Culture 2021 bid. The bid is being run by the Coventry City of Culture Trust, an independent charity. Mr Burbidge is chairman of Burbidge & Son in Coventry and a former chairman of the Belgrade Theatre and served on the main board of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is a deputy lieutenant and former High Sheriff of the West Midlands. He was awarded a CBE for services to cultural philanthropy in the region.

Lee Child, novelist

Coventry-born Lee Child grew up in Birmingham before studying law and spending 18 years as a director with Granada Television. He was 40 before he began writing and his first book - Killing Floor - which introduced hero Jack Reacher, was an immediate success. Many top-selling books later, he won the Crime Writers' Association Diamond Dagger in 2013. The 22nd Jack Reacher book, The Midnight Line, has just been published. He has sold well over 100 million books and his latest short story collection - No Middle Name - was released this year. Real name James Grant, he is an Aston Villa fan and occasionally includes the names of Villa players in his books.

Author Lee Child

Gregory Doran, Royal Shakespeare Company

Gregory Doran has been artistic director of the RSC since 2012. Last year, to mark Shakespeare's birthday, he directed Shakespeare Live! in collaboration with the BBC, hosted by David Tenant. Also last year he directed King Lear and The Tempest. In February this year, he gave the sixth annual Shakespeare Lecture, having delivered the Richard Dimbleby Lecture in 2016. In 2012, he received the Sam Wanamaker award from the Globe Theatre recognising work that has increased the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla took up her post as musical director and chief conductor of the CBSO last September and she's has made a big impression on Birmingham concert-goers in her first year. The 30-year-old Lithuanian former assistant conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic was soon thrilling audiences with her distinctive style of conducting. She took up her first orchestral directorship in Heidleberg in 2010 and won the Nestle conducting competition two years later. She is confirming the CBSO's reputation for spotting and nurturing young talent and is being tipped as conducting's next superstar.

Sir Lenny Henry

Dudley-born Comic Relief co-founder Sir Lenny Henry was knighted in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours. The multi-talented comedian, actor and writer has helped Comic Relief raise more than £1 billion over three decades and has also led a campaign for greater diversity on British television. He first found fame on TV talent show New Faces in 1975. His work since then has encompassed everything from children's television to Shakespeare. His stage work has encompassed Othello, Comedy of Errors and Educating Rita and one of his most recent TV appearances was in ITV crime drama Broadchurch. In 2016, he was made chancellor of Birmingham City University.

Sir Lenny Henry at a Birmingham City University graduation ceremony(Image: BCU)

Deborah Kermode, mac Birmingham

Deborah Kermode joined mac Birmingham as chief executive and artistic director in August 2016. She was previously deputy director at the internationally acclaimed Ikon Gallery and Bright Apace, an arts education charity which delivered the Creative Partnerships programme for Birmingham's children and young people. She is only the seventh chief executive to lead the Cannon Hill Park-based centre in its 55-year history.

Julian Lloyd Webber, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Virtuoso cellist Julian Lloyd-Weber is the principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire which has built a world-class reputation as a provider of exceptional training for the musicians, performers, actors and stage managers of the future. Julian Lloyd Weber, a Royal College of Music scholar, he has worked with the world's finest musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and Sir George Solti. Married to fellow cellist Jiaxin Cheng, he was the only classical musician to perform at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012. In 2017, the Conservatoire merged with the Birmingham School of Acting opened its new building in Jennens Road.

Stephen Maddock OBE, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Lichfield-born Stephen Maddock became chief executive of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1999, responsible for all activities of one of the world's great symphony orchestras. Before coming to Birmingham, he oversaw the BBC Proms. He is a director of Culture Central, a trustee of the Henry Barber Trust, a Patron of Scola Cantorum in Oxford and one half of the Midlands team on the BBC's Round Britain Quiz. He received the OBE this year for services to music.

Laura McMillan, Coventry City of Culture Trust

Laura McMillan is manager of the bid team for Coventry to become UK City of Culture 2021. The bid was formally submitted in October. Since leaving university with a drama degree, she has lived in Coventry. Ms McMillan worked in the sales and marketing department at Warwick Castle before moving to the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the bid process.

Adil Ray OBE, comedian

Birmingham-born Adil Ray is probably best known as the creator and star of hit BBC comedy Citizen Khan. He is also an accomplished broadcaster and presenter with two decades' experience in television and radio, presenting serious documentaries and travel programmes across all BBC networks, including a Royal Television Society award-winning documentary on the controversial subject of young girls being groomed by some Pakistani men. A keen cricketer and Warwickshire fan, he was one of the subjects of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? earlier this year.

Adil Ray(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Nick Reed, Performances Birmingham

Nick Reed is chief executive of Performances Birmingham, the charity responsible for running two of the city's most important cultural venues - Town Hall and Symphony Hall. He was appointed to the role in summer 2015 ahead of the retirement of Andrew Jowett who had been in the job for nearly three decades. Mr Reed, who has previously run Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and also launched The Helix arts centre in Dublin, is steering the organisation through a key period as it battles to stay relevant in an ever-changing cultural landscape. With the new-look Centenary Square, tram extension and HSBC head office all under construction on their doorsteps, Town Hall and Symphony Hall find themselves at the epicentre of a new and exciting chapter in Birmingham's development.

Meera Syal CBE, actress/writer

Meera Syal has risen to prominence through her comedy roles in The Kumars at No 42 and Goodness Gracious Me but she is a prolific actress, writer, journalist, producer and playwright. Born in Wolverhampton and raised in Essington, she went to Queen Mary's High School in Walsall before graduating with a double first in English from University of Manchester. Her latest role is in the West End production of Annie, playing Miss Hannigan until February next year. She received a CBE in 2015 for services to drama and literature.

Jan Teo, Birmingham Royal Ballet

Jan Teo was appointed chief executive of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2015 after serving on the board for two years. Independent of the Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Royal Ballet is one of the UK's four major ballet companies. Ms Teo is a director of Birmingham Museums Trust and she has played a key part in the Deutsche Bank Creative Awards and the Women in European Business diversity group. She sits on the steering group of the Birmingham Creative Partnership board. She has a financial background and was chief operating officer for Deutsche Bank's European service centres.

Jan Teo, Birmingham Royal Ballet

Gary Topp, Culture Central

Gary Topp is director of Culture Centre, a cultural development agency for Birmingham's arts organisations and practitioners engaged in the cultural sector. He has been a chief executive and manager in several UK arts organisations including Yorkshire Culture and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. He was launch director for the University of Bristol Innovation Programme. Mr Topp began his career as a visual arts curator and museums professional and he is chairman of trustees at Circomedia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Gallery

Jonathan Watkins has been director of the Ikon Gallery since 1999 and has cemented its reputation for promoting contemporary art. Before coming to Birmingham, he was curator of galleries in London including the Serpentine and Chisenhale galleries. He has curated a number of large international art exhibitions in Sydney, Shanghai, Turin, Venice and London and has written extensively on contemporary art. He curated the Iraqi Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2013.

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