Market Theatre appoints second woman chief executive officer

By Edward Tsumele

Next month is women’s month and the appointment of a female chief executive officer of the Market Theatre Foundation, one of the much sought after positions in arts administration could not have come at an appropriate time.

Tshiamo Mokgadi was appointed to this position after a highly competitive process that saw leading individuals in the arts sector put up their hands as candidates for this position, including well known male candidates in the arts sector. But unfortunately only one candidate could be chosen by the Council of this Newtown based historic institution, and that person is the diminutive arts administrator that sees her becoming the second female to occupy that position. The first woman who was appointed to this position is Annabell Lebethe who is now the chief executive officer of the Ditsong National Museums of South Africa.

The Market Theatre announced the new appointment over the weekend. Mokgadi succeeds Ismail Mahomed who resigned to take up a position with the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as director. The Market Theatre foundation runs the Market Theatre Laboratory, The Market Photo Workshop and Windybrow Centre of the Arts in Hillbrow that have their own heads who report to the chief executive officer of the Market theatre Foundation alongside the artistic director in charge of programming.

Mokgadi will take up this influential theatre position on August 1, at the begging of Women’s Month celebrations, which this year will be marked differently due to the rampaging coronavirus which continues to ravage the world, forcing South Africans to exercise social distancing.

“In announcing the appointment, the Council of the Market Theatre Foundation affirmed that Ms Mokgadi is no newcomer to corridors of this prestigious institution. Her in-depth knowledge comes from over a decade’s experience in cultural and theatre management, at three major cultural institutions – the Market Theatre Foundation in Johannesburg, the Playhouse Company in Durban, and the State Theatre in Pretoria. Her academic background includes a BA degree in Dramatic Arts from Wits University, and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Henley Business School,” the statement from the Market Theatre released on Saturday read.

 “It’s a privilege to be handed the baton to contribute to the leadership of this iconic African cultural institution. This is such an honour to be part of those people, who I have always looked up to. Since my formative years at school, I wanted to be part of the fold that leads and continues to contribute to the creative economy and cultural business success, rooted in the arts,” commented Mokgadi about her appointment.  

During her previous tenure at the Market Theatre, Mokgadi worked as producer and brings extensive knowledge and first-hand understanding to the MTF’s operations.

“Mokgadi’s return to the MTF, is like the coming home of one of its own after they have honed their skills and knowledge elsewhere. The MTF Council has faith that, after a tumultuous period for our institution, she has the requisite skillset and persona to lead the organisation through the current challenges posed the COVID-19 pandemic in the performing arts sector and beyond.

Tshiamo has worked her way through the ranks of the cultural landscape with tenacity and commitment, and the Council has confidence that together, the image of the Market Theatre Foundation, which includes the Market Theatre Laboratory, Photo Workshop, Windybrow Arts Centre and the prestigious Market Theatre, can be restored,” the council added. Leading the Market Theatre as chief executive is regarded highly in arts circles in South Africa due to the institution’s role in the fight for freedom and the international networks and relationships the organisation has built over the years.

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