The programming team at The Place consists of Eddie Nixon, Artistic Director; Christina Elliot, Senior Producer; Jessica Greer, Theatre Programme Producer; Lia Prentaki, Youth and Families Producer, and Michael Kitchin, Assistant Producer. We work closely with our colleagues in the Public Programmes team (click HERE to see how these teams work together and ‘How to get in Contact’ information).
We often work with external partners – individual artists, producers or other organisations to collaborate on our programme selection, drawing on their diverse range of skills, backgrounds and influences.
What are The Place’s values in Programming?
Our main driver for programming the theatre are our audiences. Lots of different people enjoy coming to watch dance at The Place for many different reasons and we are always aiming to attract people to come to watch dance with us for the first time, as well as those who are already fans. Our programme is shaped to appeal to lots of different dance interests – some is for family audiences or performed by young people, some explores different dance forms and some explores complex social or political ideas. For this reason, the programme is formed of a breadth of dance from London, the UK, Europe, and sometimes further afield. We are committed to representing a range of lived experiences through our work and ensuring that our work is widely accessible. Performances are presented in our theatre, online and outdoors and we also support work to tour (see our Producing and Touring pages).
There are different routes into The Place’s theatre programme:
A large portion of our programme comes from artists and companies who we have met through our artist development programmes or through seeing their work live. We rarely programme works which we haven’t seen unless it is a premiere through a commissioned project. We are always interested in supporting and showing the work of artists & companies new to our programme, and there are several moments in the year where we focus on presenting work from artists who have never performed at The Place. We always welcome an invitation to see a live work and try our best to come along.
We divide our year up into three seasons:
Within these seasons we present festivals which may have a particular focus, for example our annual A Festival of Korean Dance.
How do we make decisions about what goes in the theatre programme?
When conceiving a theatre programme, we usually consider 3 main things: Quality, Context and Logistics.
When considering what to present in the programme, we usually start with quality as a key factor. We recognize that the concept of quality is subjective, and that taste plays a part in evaluating this, as does experience and bias. However, we aim to add rigour to this process by evaluating through the following framework:
We are looking for dance performance that is contemporary. That doesn’t mean it is anyone particular form or style, but that it has an ambition to look at ideas, movement, the body, identity in a way which is relevant to the world we are all sharing now.
We also often work with collaborative programming, across internal teams and departments but also external partnerships, panelists, or co-curators to help with this reflection and offer other perspectives.
Context for us means evaluating whether we have the right circumstances to bring the audience and the art together. For this we consider the physical space, but also the curatorial framework and audience. For some work, the conversation with the audience can be much richer if they have a frame around them - a festival or another work in a double bill for example. These give us a frame to help choose – does the work address the subject and how would it sit alongside the other works we choose for the programme?
Importantly, we also need to think about the wider social and cultural contexts of the moment. Does our programme give a platform to different voices and lived experiences, perspectives, different performance styles and ideas, different artist experience levels? Who is the artist, and do we get a sense of their perspective?
Ultimately, we need to believe we can find an audience for anything we choose to present. This doesn’t always mean it will be easy – it’s our job to put on things our audience isn’t familiar with. But we have to believe we have the means to connect the art to the audience. No one wants an empty theatre (or Zoom meeting).
This could involve discussion around:
Alongside the factors of quality and context, a large part of our process is logistics. Sometimes it can be obvious almost immediately that we will not be able to offer the technical set up required, or the financial model does not work. However, when it is possible, we work in open dialogue with companies to find the best fit for the work with the least amount of compromise for all.
We’re always happy to hear from artists who are interested in presenting their work in our programmes. If you would like to get in touch please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!