News & Blogs

8 March 2018
Author: The Place

Introducing our Chief Executive Clare Connor on International Women’s Day

There is a rich history of pioneering women in dance.

Our Chief Executive Clare Connor joined us seven months ago from the UK’s largest arts hub, Southbank Centre where she was Director of Business Development and led on innovative large-scale capital fundraising programmes. Previous roles include co-founding the national network Future Arts Centres and working as Director of Stratford Circus Arts Centre, from 2005-2014, where she led the re-imagining of the organisation to create a new charitable body to run it in 2012.

With a longstanding background in dance and performance, Clare trained at London Contemporary Dance School before embarking on a successful performing career with Phoenix Dance. She then worked as a teacher-artist in both further and higher education and collaboratively produced performing arts programmes for the University of East London, as well as supporting the validation of new arts programmes in several universities.

“There is a rich history of pioneering women in dance, however we are still writing the script about what it means to be a woman in the workplace. The unconscious bias operates within all of us, so the challenge is to find ways to combat this in a very positive way, but also to model the leadership and culture you want to reflect more widely.”

Clare Connor, Chief Executive of The Place & Interim Principal of London Contemporary Dance School 

What other people are saying about Clare:

“Clare Connor is a woman of immense integrity and intelligence, with a genuine commitment to providing world class artistic education for everyone. She's strategic, value driven with a great sense of humour.”  

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director Southbank Centre and Director of WOW – Women of the World festival

  “As a Dance Artist I have known Clare Connor for over 20 years. My introduction into the dance world was as a sixth form student when I decided to attend her dance class instead of the Art & Design course I was enrolled on. From that point on I have had the privilege of being taught, observed and mentored by Clare throughout my development as a student and then throughout my artistic career to date. Her support and insight has been invaluable. Her curiosity and diverse expertise across the dance form - as a professional dancer, teacher as well as an artistic and organisational leader -  has meant Clare has always had a wide range of advice to offer to me at each stage of my development. Clare’s advice has helped me make choices based on my personal values and ambitions and see/take opportunities that I might not have done without her encouragement.  It has also been inspiring to me to watch Clare as she has journeyed through her different roles in the arts sector and to see how she has done so whilst always striving for excellence and care  in practises across Dance in London and beyond.’  

Freddie Opoku-Addaie; Dance Artist & Guest Programmer Dance Umbrella International, London (2016-19)

  ‘What impressed me about working with Clare at Southbank, was her dynamism, integrity and ability to create resilient business models, she lead several innovative large-scale capital fundraising programmes at Southbank Centre including Let the Light In; supporting the refurbishment of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery, that will enable cultural exchange for generations to come. In her new role as Chief Executive of The Place I know she will drive the next era of growth and innovation for dance at The Place, whilst also advocating for progression routes in the work place for women to succeed and lead.’  

Susan Gilchrist, is Chair of Global Clients at international communications firm Brunswick Group

“The combination of her experience, both in the arts and in Higher Education, her incredible vision and her unique range of skills brings a positive new dynamism to take The Place forward.”  

Thomas Lynch, The Place’s Chairman

Find out more about what’s happening across the world for International Women’s Day.



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