With audiences up significantly and a dramatic increase in the number of artists supported, Kala Sangam is celebrating a record year. The Bradford city centre based arts venue is also delighted to announce that Jas Singh Athwal DL has been appointed as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Jas takes over the role of Chair from Caroline Harrison, who moves to the role of Treasurer.
With the introduction in January of Pay What You Decide pricing for most events this year, audiences for performances at Kala Sangam have increased by 39% on the previous year to over 3500. The growing programme of events, which includes contemporary and Indian classical dance, music, theatre, poetry and much more, has meant that the arts centre supported more artists to create new work in 2018/19, than in their previous 25 year history combined. The increased audience and artist figures are accompanied by overwhelming positive feedback and with strong ticket sales for the first three months of 2019/20, Kala Sangam looks set to continue to thrive.
Athwal, who is a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, is an entrepreneur and businessman. Known for his interest in sport, he was the UK’s first Sikh golf club captain and serves on a number of Boards including Welcome to Yorkshire. He is passionate about bringing arts and culture to the city.
Jas Athwal said: “I am delighted to be joining Kala Sangam at such an exciting and dynamic time for the organisation. With an expanding programme of events across a range of art forms, the new pay what you decide pricing structure and a clear vision for the future, Kala Sangam is bringing relevant and engaging work to Bradford residents and reestablishing itself as the city’s cultural hub. I am looking forward to supporting its work and development over the coming years.”
Outgoing Chair Caroline Harrison, whose strong leadership successfully steered the company through the organisational development which laid the platform for the company’s recent successes, said: “It has been a privilege to work with Kala Sangam, during a significant time in its development. The recent appointment of Alex Croft to the post of Creative Director has brought new energy and a new artistic vision. Building on the work of Dr’s Geetha and Shripati Upadhyaya, who did so much to establish Kala Sangam’s reputation at home and abroad, the company is now on a mission to ensure that people from all of Bradford’s diverse communities join us on a journey of discovery as we explore exciting new art forms, whilst keeping our commitment to South Asian arts as strong as ever. I am delighted that Jas has agreed to take over at the helm at the end of my 3 year term of appointment. I wish him every success in the role and look forward to supporting him in my new role as Treasurer.”
Alex Croft, Creative Director of Kala Sangam said: “2018/19 was a fantastic year for Kala Sangam and we are delighted to have grown our audiences and the number of artists we work with. We are looking forward to building on this success over the next few years and really cementing Kala Sangam’s reputation for working across the arts, across cultures and at the heart of Bradford.”