News: Green Candle Dance Company

Tuesday 5 February 2002

Green Candle Dance Company
On 17 January, Green Candle Dance Company was officially informed in a ten line letter from the Arts Council of England (ACE) that its application for two year’s core funding has been unsuccessful. The company has been funded by ACE for the past fifteen years, the last six of which were on fixed term, three year funding agreements amounting to approximately £170,000 per year. Without continued core funding, it is unlikely that the company will survive.
The news has been met by both Green Candle Dance Company and its partners and supporters with great shock and disappointment, particularly after Tessa Blackstone, Minister of State of the Arts, cited Green Candle as an example of an arts organisation working successfully in partnership with other agencies to deal with ‘…issues of inequality, poverty and social inclusion’ in an article published in Arts News, Winter 2001.

ACE’s letter of rejection said that they “…fully appreciate and applaud the pioneering role the company has played in developing projects for sectors of the community with little or no access to professional dance”, and officers have recognised that the evaluation by its own assessors of the company’s work has been good.
In response, Fergus Early, states, “In these circumstances, Green Candle questions the true commitment of ACE to the new agendas so strongly championed by Tessa Blackstone and the government. Some recent statements suggest that ACE has a perception that working with communities is something that can be simply tacked onto the portfolios of their mainstream ‘artistic’ clients. If ACE ceases to fund Green Candle, no dance company dedicated to taking dance directly to disadvantaged young and old people in community and educational contexts will be receiving ongoing funding from ACE. Green Candle feels this is cause for great concern.”

Green Candle has been the only dance company funded by ACE which is dedicated to working nationally in community and education contexts, often in non-theatrical environments. As Director Fergus Early says in an open letter to the company’s supporters:

“As a company we have pioneered touring shows and workshops to older people in day centres and residential homes and shows and workshops for children in hospitals. We have made many shows for children in nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools and schools for children with learning and physical disabilities. We have pioneered an annual Dance Summer School for Deaf Children and training courses for care workers and dance workers who wish to run dance sessions with older people. We have created several large-scale community dance projects, involving up to a hundred non-professional performers working alongside professionals. Plans for the future included an international performance project involving refugee artists in three European countries.”

Green Candle Dance Company is now embarking on a major fund-raising campaign in an attempt to maintain its level of activity and retain its position as the UK’s premier provider of community dance.

They are asking supporters to write to Tessa Blackstone, Minister for the Arts,House of Lords, Westminster SW1 OPW, copying it to Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Great Britain, 14 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 3NQ and if possible to Green Candle themselves.

For more information, please contact Green Candle’s Press Officer, Jacqui Gellman on:
telephone: +44 (0)20 7359 8776
mobile: +44 (0)7970 552 809, or
and check the website for full statements

The Arts Council have released the following statement:
The Arts Council of England’s three year term of funding to Green Candle Dance Company is due to come to an end in March 2002. The Council acknowledges the pioneering work that the company has undertaken since its formation in 1987 in providing access to dance for people who have not traditionally had this opportunity. However, it is also felt that this type of work has developed significantly through work by a number of other companies, as well as by Green Candle.

Although the Arts Council will no longer be allocating fixed term funding to Green Candle, it has encouraged the company to apply to a range of Arts Council funds to support their project work.
In recognition of the changes which have occurred in this sector, the Dance Department is developing a fund of money targeted at a group of dance and social inclusion projects being developed and presented in 2002/3 and 2003/4. There is likely to be a significant emphasis on determining models of good practice and conducting research which will inform future funding decisions in this area, and act as a legacy for companies working in this field. Further details of this fund will be announced in the spring. Green Candle will be eligible to apply for this project funding.

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