Women & Theatre announce Adaya Henry as Artistic Director and Katherine Hewitt as Executive Director

Posted on Aug 17, 2023

Photo credit: Hannah Adereti

Women & Theatre are delighted to announce two new appointments. Adaya Henry will take up the role of Artistic Director and Katherine Hewitt as Executive Director, both will join this thriving and impactful organisation during our 40th Anniversary Season.

The appointments follow the announcement that Founder member and Artistic Director Janice Connolly and Executive Director Jess Pearson, will stand down later this year following 40- and 20-years’ service respectively.

Ellie Griffiths, Chair of the Board Women & Theatre said:I am delighted to welcome Adaya and Katherine to the team. After an extensive search, we have found two exceptional individuals who embody the values and vision of Women & Theatre. We are confident that under their leadership, Women & Theatre will continue to thrive and make a significant impact on our community, building on the legacy that Janice and Jess have built over the last 40 years.”

Adaya is a multidisciplinary artist with nearly a decade’s experience of working in theatre, film and spoken word. She has been hailed as an ambassador for the city after being at the forefront of the #WMGeneration campaign and Be Bold Be Brum campaign with self-written spoken word pieces. For the last two years she has been working with MAIA, an arts and social justice organisation, where she has produced, facilitated and designed events and programmes rooted in world building and imagination.

She has had commissions from Create Central,  Birmingham Live, Shout Festival, HomeGrown31 and Tinker Taylor Video Agency and was a guest on Sky Arts show Life & Rhymes with Benjamin Zephaniah. Adaya has had an extensive acting career performing at venues such as The Belgrade, The Other Place, Birmingham REP, The Albany and a number of site specific pieces of work. She has been in a number of short films and appeared on Doctors and The Archers.

Adaya said: “I am over the moon to be taking on this role. Women and Theatre are a part of my heart; after working with them for the first time in 2016, Janice and the team have been some of my greatest teachers in using art to create social change. I can’t wait to reach more communities and work with more incredible artists in this city. We will continue to make high quality theatre about stories that matter. I am becoming a part of an already incredible legacy and I’m honoured to be bringing to it my love for art, people and Birmingham.”

Katherine Hewitt has over a decade of third sector management experience having been Chief Executive of Gateway Family Services CIC from June 2014 until October 2022 and before that, from 2011, their Operations Manager and Deputy CEO.  Katherine’s career background is in community development and capacity building, initially starting out as a frontline worker.

Katherine said: “I am excited about working with the talented team at Women & Theatre.  I’ve seen for myself how powerful theatre can be in terms of inclusivity, building confidence and helping people find their voice. They have built an excellent reputation and I want to assist them in continuing to deliver the valuable work they have over the past 40 years for many years to come.” 

Peter Knott, Midlands Director, Arts Council England said: “We’re delighted to welcome Adaya Henry and Katherine Hewitt to Women & Theatre as they join the National Portfolio for the first time.  It will be great to work with them as they enter the next decade, bringing more theatre to more people across Birmingham and the Black Country.

“Tribute must be paid to Janice Connolly, co-founder of the organisation, and Jess Pearson who between them have dedicated 60 years to ensure that Women & Theatre is the thriving organisation it is today.”

Adaya and Katherine will join Women &Theatre in the Autumn to coincide with the 40th Anniversary season which includes a new theatre production Not the Last which will be performed by Janice Connolly and Adaya Henry, rehearsed readings from the company’s back catalogue, and exciting community projects.