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Kully Thiarai is the Creative Director and CEO of Leeds 2023, Year of Culture. She has spent her career changing systems and structures in the arts world that are barriers to inclusion, including pioneering the ways that theatres involve young people and taking performances to spaces that could be more easily accessible by the public. The former artistic director of National Theatre Wales and the first Artistic Director of Cast at Doncaster, Thiarai knows Leeds well, as she was Artistic Director of Leeds theatre company Red Ladder, and launched the Transform Festival at Leeds Playhouse. In 2020, Kully won the inaugural Cultural Icon category of the Northern Asian Power List.