As part of our campaign to #BuildBackFairer, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the movers and shakers working in the creative and cultural sector and asking them to share their insight and advice for those at the start of their careers.

Suba Das
Artistic Director and CEO of HighTide

Can you tell us one thing about your job that we probably don’t know about?
Learning how to use Excel Spreadsheets has been a key factor in my success to date…

What’s the biggest challenge facing your sector right now?
Ensuring that the steps forward theatre has made in diversity and inclusion are held on to during the recovery period. There’s an understandable pressure to “play it safe” in the time ahead, and this could set our progress back by many years if organisations focus solely on existing audiences and don’t keep up the pressure on themselves to reach new and especially younger communities.

If you could give your 16-year-old self some career advice, what would it be?
Be authentic. Your greatest success will come from being clear about who you are, what matters to you, and what change you want to make in the world – not from conforming to any stereotypes or cliches of what a theatre director is. So don’t be embarrassed you grew up on benefits – the things you might think of as weaknesses are actually your superpower.

What’s been the most surprising moment of your career journey so far?
Becoming the first British Asian director for a world premiere at the Royal Opera House, and consequently having to meet The Queen. My mum certainly didn’t expect that choosing a life in the arts over a more “sensible” career route would lead to such things for me!

Who’s your professional hero?
Madonna, always. She’s not a UK theatre director obviously but she’s the pop artist who has always shown me what it means to use your platform fearlessly, standing up countless times for gay rights, racial justice, and the advancement of women; and also having quite a lot of fun while doing it.

Suba Das headshot

About Suba

Suba Das is the Artistic Director and CEO of HighTide, one of the UK’s leading new theatre writing companies, he recently featured in our podcast episode exploring class prejudice in the cultural sector – listen here.

Visit the HighTide website to find out more about their work.