Remembering Abdul Shayek: Trailblazing Artistic Director Leaves Behind Legacy of Inclusivity in Theatre
London, UK – Abdul Shayek, the groundbreaking Artistic Director and joint CEO of the esteemed Tara Theatre, passed away on 2nd August, 2023 at the age of 39 details shared by Tara Theatre official Facebook page. Shayek leaves behind an impressive legacy of advancing inclusion and diversity in British theatre over his long career.
Tara Theatre shares the demise of Abdul Shayek on Facebook by writing:-
It is with immense sadness that we are announcing the death of Abdul Shayek, beloved Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Tara Theatre, aged 39. We are heartbroken to share this news on behalf of his family. Abdul died at home unexpectedly, of natural causes.
Abdul’s family and Tara Theatre respectfully request privacy and space to come to terms with our devastating loss.
A native of Bangladesh, Shayek relocated to London in the 1960s where his bold vision for multicultural theatre took root. In 1977, he co-founded Tara Theatre, the UK’s first major Asian theatre company.
As Artistic Director, Shayek ushered in a new era of Asian and multicultural voices on the British stage. He directed over 100 thought-provoking productions that confronted stereotypes and explored the complexity of the immigrant experience in the UK.
“Shayek was a pioneer who gave opportunities to minority artists overlooked by mainstream British theatre. His passion for nurturing new talent is unparalleled,” said award-winning playwright Ava Wesley, who had her first production under Shayek’s mentorship.
Shayek’s productions seamlessly blended Eastern and Western influences, combining evocative staging with powerful storytelling. Leading actors like Sanjeev Bhaskar, Meera Syal and Nina Wadia credit Shayek for giving them their first big breaks.
For his trailblazing work, Shayek received prestigious honours including an OBE and the Hinduja Foundation Arts Prize. He continued leading Tara Theatre until his retirement earlier this year.
Though Shayek may be gone, his legacy burns bright in every minority artist, writer and director he inspired throughout his prolific career. British theatre is unquestionably richer for his vision and leadership.