/ TheatreNI News

Dance Resource Base and TheatreNI to join forces in 2020!

Dance Resource Base (DRB) and TheatreNI are delighted to announce that they are planning to join forces. From 1 April 2020 we will come together as a single, stronger support agency for theatre and dance in Northern Ireland.

Our objectives will be:

  • to continue to connect, develop, represent and champion the theatre and dance sectors
  • to support artists at grassroots level, and
  • to work with our partners to advocate for a thriving theatre and dance ecology in NI and beyond.

By joining forces, and putting the energies, skills, expertise and knowledge of our Boards, staff, and members under the one roof, we will be able to make a greater impact – and will create the right environment to ensure artists and creators have the best support available in order to thrive.

Both organisations aim to bring across their strengths – and plan to develop both bespoke and joint events, development and training, to benefit the members and the broader sectors and hope that this strategic development provides opportunities to leverage additional financial support from a wide variety of sources.

Louise Rossington, current Chairperson of TheatreNI, said:

It is critical at this time with so much uncertainty that we all work together more closely and effectively to secure and develop the future of theatre and the broader performing arts sector in Northern Ireland. Our role is to help support and develop and guide our members, who include professional, youth and amateur theatre makers, who make up this ecology, and to advocate for the critical role of performing arts in society.

Given the many shared objectives, vision and values, we believe that we will be able to make a greater impact working in partnership with DRB. TheatreNI will be able to bring across its networks, its membership, and some of its major initiatives including its, Captioning Service, Members Assistance Programme (MAP), Tourbook, Bursary and Archa Dvadlo Residency Programmes, and annual events including APAC, and Youth Theatre Symposium. We also hope to continue our work with Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council NI on developing the Edinburgh Fringe ‘Spotlight on Dance and Theatre from Northern Ireland’.

It has been my great privilege to lead TheatreNI and I look forward to working with DRB to build on the legacy we have each created and further develop events, development and training to benefit the members and the broader sector.”

Adam Knight, current Chair of Dance Resource Base, said:

Dance Resource Base is excited by the opportunity to come together with TheatreNI to build a transformative, ambitious and inclusive new organisation to strengthen and lead the performing arts sector as we look to the future. DRB has a long and happy history of working together with TNI, having collaborated on the delivery of a range of highly successful sector focused initiatives over recent years. Following the overwhelmingly positive feedback from Co-Motion (the first All-Ireland Dance Conference that took place in Belfast in October 2019), DRB looks forward to enthusiastically seizing the opportunities presented through combining the collective talents of our respective personnel, trustees and members over the years ahead. Coupled with our recent move to the Crescent Arts Centre, already a thriving hub for the performing arts, there is no better time for us to join forces and work in partnership with our stakeholders to build capacity within the sector and collectively champion the outstanding work of Northern Ireland’s dance and theatre community, both here at home and internationally.”

Caoileann Curry Thompson, ACNI, Arts Development Officer Drama and Dance said:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support the newly formed ‘Theatre and Dance NI’[1], an organisation which will boast the very best in sectoral support and advocacy across our performing arts. Within the current arts eco-system, distinctions between disciplines are blurring, with dance and theatre overlapping and bolstering one another. This merger is a strategic move to forge a larger, stronger entity which will strengthen and future-proof our vibrant theatre and dance sectors. Building on the fantastic track-record of TheatreNI and Dance Resource Base, this new organisation is perfectly positioned to provide specialist, energetic support to all our performance practitioners, artists and organisations.

We are very excited by the new opportunities that ‘Theatre and Dance NI’ will open up in terms support and advocacy. We wish the staff, board and members of ‘Theatre and Dance NI’ all the very best for the future.”

The new organisation will consult and listen to the sector in due course to ensure we work together to serve theatre and dance as strategically and impactfully as possible and continue or work in building a better support hub for the theatre and dance sector, with our partners.

We will also continue to work with others in the arts sector to advocate for increased public investment in the arts in Northern Ireland given their great value to our community.

We look forward to keeping you up to date on this exciting development for the theatre, dance and performing arts community.

Louise Rossington & Adam Knight

Chairs, TheatreNI & Dance Resource Base

[1] ‘Theatre and Dance NI’ is the working title of the new organisation.