News: Dance Umbrella founder to retire

Wednesday 28 December 2005

Val Bourne CBE has announced that she will stand down as Artistic Director of Dance Umbrella at the end of 2006. Talking about her decision she said “Dance Umbrella is currently in great shape and this seems to be as good a time as any to hand over a vibrant organisation to someone else who will lead it into the future” she said “The job will be advertised in the New Year and an appointment made in the Spring. It is hoped that the Artistic Director Designate will be available to work alongside me and the rest of the excellent Dance Umbrella team throughout the 2006 festival.”.

Dance Umbrella 2005 was the biggest and most successful yet, with 25 companies from around the world, 16 premieres and an audience of 39,000 plus.

Richard Jarman, Chairman of Dance Umbrella, paid tribute to Val’s immeasurable contribution to the UK dance industry: “In the 27 years since she founded Dance Umbrella, Val has made an incalculable contribution to the development of contemporary dance in Britain. Her faith in backing outstanding talent has helped a great number of choreographers to develop their work over a long period. Alongside Val’s work with UK artists and companies, she has introduced a huge range of companies to Britain from overseas. Through these and many other initiatives, Val has made a crucial contribution to building a healthy and critically aware audience for contemporary dance throughout the country. I am sure that her last festival will be as vital and compelling as ever.”

“By the end of 2006 I will have had twenty-eight fantastic years with Dance Umbrella. I am the last remaining member of the team, which included Jan Murray, Jeremy Rees, David Gothard and Nicholas Hooton, that launched the first festival in 1978. None of us expected then that there would be even a second festival and to have been part of the organisation’s growth and development over the intervening years has been a great privilege.”

Under the leadership of Val Bourne, Dance Umbrella has been responsible for introducing into this country some of the greatest international contemporary dance companies as well as nurturing, promoting and sponsoring some of the best of British modern dance. This was acknowledged and rewarded in June 2004 when Val received a CBE.

The post of Artistic Director will be advertised early next year – and the organisation expects to receive applications from the UK and beyond.


What’s On