Renowned choreographer and designer Theo Clinkard takes up his new role as lead artist of the Talent Hub this week, as a new cohort of dance artists with a learning disability or autism meets for its third residential training week.

Durham-based TIN Arts, which this year celebrates its 20th year delivering inclusive dance activities and programmes, and Leeds-based Yorkshire Dance, the region’s dance development organisation, have recruited ten talented dancers from across Yorkshire and the North East of England. Under Theo’s guidance, they will begin this week to create new work for national touring in late 2019 and throughout 2020.

The week-long residency at Kala Sangam in Bradford will also offer the Talent Hub members a programme of dance and personal development led by Artistic Director Tess Chaytor.

The dance artists have all been receiving individualised ‘wrap-around’ support, wherever they live, and have already spent two intensive periods of training and rehearsal together in Northumberland and County Durham.

The Talent Hub is a professional development programme made possible by awards from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Ambition for Excellence Fund programme and from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The Talent Hub is supported by Inclusion North, which exists to make inclusion real for all people with a learning disability and their families.

With the principles of co-design at its heart, the Talent Hub aims to provoke a step change in the sector, enabling dance artists with a learning disability, autism or both to progress professionally into dance companies or emerge as independent dance makers.

Martin Wilson, co-founder of TIN Arts, says, “We are thrilled and delighted that Theo is working with the Talent Hub dance artists. I have personally been a huge fan of his work for a long time and cant wait to see what will be created. It is crucial that our dance artists get to work with the very best in the industry to challenge and push them onto new heights and to realise new possibilities. It’s a fantastically exciting time for both the Talent Hub and for the wider dance sector”.

Theo Clinkard himself says, “Following months of anticipation and planning, I am incredibly excited to finally meet these dancers and get moving together in the studio. Whenever I approach the first day on a new project, I actively let go of any specific expectations and prepare to dive into leading a process that is a response to the people in the room. I know this group are going to teach me a great deal and I can’t wait to start dreaming together about what this creation could become.”

The names of the dancers will be announced after the residency is over.

TIN Arts

Founded in 1999, TIN Arts are passionate about dance, the performing arts and the difference these make to people’s lives.

From their Durham base in the North of England, TIN Arts work hard to identify and remove barriers to dance and the performing arts, increasing the levels of participation by people of all ages and abilities developing new skills, being creative and celebrating talents and achievements.

TIN Arts is one of few companies nationally delivering inclusive dance work as part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

Yorkshire Dance

Yorkshire Dance is a charity which champions the value of dance and its development in Yorkshire.

It creates opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to see, make and take part in high quality dance.

Inclusion North

Inclusion North exists to make inclusion real for all people with a learning disability and their families. Inclusion means everyone living full and active lives as valued members of society.

It works to change society so that everybody with a learning disability has a good life, and is valued and connected in their community. This means changing the way people think, and the way things are done, so that everyone can live well.

Inclusion North does this by working with people with a learning disability, family carers, the organisations that support them, and their communities.

Inclusion North works with local areas in the North East and Yorkshire and Humber.

It stands for equality, rights and justice.

Theo Clinkard

Brighton-based choreographer, performer and stage designer, Theo Clinkard has swiftly built an international reputation for creating compelling and visually arresting dance works.

Following twenty years performing in work by many of the UK’s most celebrated dance makers, he launched his own company in 2012 to develop a portfolio of work that explores the communicative potential of the body and the empathetic nature of dance in performance. His company have toured extensively across the UK and internationally, receiving critical and audience acclaim.

Theo has premiered 26 original dances to date including tow high profile international commissions, ‘Somewhat still, when seen from above’ for Tanztheatre Wuppertal Pina Bausch and ‘The Listening Room’ for Danza Contemporanea de Cuba.

This Bright Field is his first large scale company work. Created for a cast of twelve performers, the work premiered in Brighton Festival 2017 before touring UK in October 2017.

He is an Associate Artist at Brighton Dome & Festival and Dance4 and recently received an Honorary Fellowship from Plymouth University.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, Arts Council England plans to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. It does this by funding the charitable work of organisations that are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society.

The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK. In 2017 it made grants of £40.5 million towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. It also has a £45 million allocation to social investments for organisations with the aim of creating social impact.