Ailin Conant takes the lead at New Earth

Published: 21 January 2024
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Ailin Conant, New Earth Theatre
Recent New Earth production, Worth Credit: Joanne Lau

This week Ailin Conant has been named new Artistic Director of British East and South East Asian (BESEA) theatre company New Earth Theatre.

A Japanese-American director, Conant is now a freelance based in London. Her credits include New Earth’s Typhoon Festival and as associate director on My Neighbour Totoro with the RSC and Improbable. She is also the artistic director and founder of Theatre Témoin, for whom she has directed commissions from The Lowry, Cheltenham Everyman and Without Walls amongst others.

Taking over from Kumiko Mendl later in January, Conant will be responsible for future productions, a professional writer’s programme, outreach activities and initiatives celebrating BESEA artists and communities.

Conant said, “it is an incredible honour to be appointed as artistic director of New Earth Theatre. Under Kumiko’s leadership, New Earth has forged lasting pathways into the industry for BESEA artists for over a decade. The fact that we are seeing inspiring BESEA creatives and stories on some of our nation’s biggest stages is a testament to Kumiko and her legacy.

“I am thrilled to be joining Lian Wilkinson in leading the company through the next critical chapter. In recent years our industry has become better networked and more self-aware, and New Earth has been a pioneer in this period both onstage and off. I am excited and determined to build on this work to develop authentic and reciprocal partnerships which drive change for all underrepresented groups, while elevating BESEA artists, companies, and aesthetics within the UK theatre ecology.”

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