June 11, 2015

South East Dance shines a spotlight on dramaturgy

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South East Dance, the national development organisation for dance in South East England, has secured investment from Jerwood Charitable Foundation to pilot the first year of a three year Dramaturg in Residence programme scheduled to start in September 2015.

Through the programme, South East Dance aims to introduce more UK artists to the potential of dramaturgy within the creative process, provide artists with the resources to collaborate with a dramaturg and develop its own learning in this area of practice. The programme is particularly timely for South East Dance as it continues to pave the way to opening The Dance Space, an ambitious new build in Brighton that is central to its vision to develop a home for choreographic research and development.

Lou Cope has been invited to be South East Dance’s first dramaturg in residence. Based in the UK, Lou has an impressive track record collaborating with such artists as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jose Agudo and Koen de Preter. She will work with South East Dance to drive the project forward whilst collaborating with a range of artists both within and beyond South East Dance’s programme.

Jamie Watton, CEO/Artistic Director, South East Dance said: “This is one of a number of projects we are developing to support artists to adopt entrepreneurial approaches to creating new work in a competitive and shifting funding landscape. However we’re also committed to ensuring their practice can grow in interesting and new ways so dance continues to experiment and evolve. The Dramaturg in Residence programme contributes to this and we’re delighted that Jerwood Charitable Foundation has chosen to support us in this journey”.

Lou Cope said:“I am thrilled to be working with South East Dance to expand awareness, understanding and use of dramaturgs and dramaturgy in the South East and beyond. As part of this project, I hope to work with a wide range of choreographers to help develop a culture of rigorous, supportive and critical reflection in approaches to dance. This is an exciting time to be working with South East Dance as they plan for The Dance Space in Brighton – this promises to be a new British dance house comparable to the great dance houses across Europe, where dramaturgical discourse is put at the heart of creative practice”.  

Shonagh Manson, Director, Jerwood Charitable Foundation said: “Jerwood Charitable Foundation seeks imaginative opportunities to address the creative and professional development needs of dance makers today. Through this new Dramaturg in Residence programme, South East Dance has identified a generous and expert way of strengthening the practice of independent artists, whilst also furthering South East Dance’s own artistic leadership and development. We are delighted to be working with Jamie, Lou and the team to launch this important residency”.


South East Dance. Image: John Hunter