As we celebrate the last 40 years, the next chapter in our history is just beginning!
Last month our performance of 40 Years of Phoenix in Newcastle marked the end of an incredible and critically acclaimed tour. Since its premiere at York Theatre Royal in November 2021 to mark the beginning of our 40th anniversary celebrations, we were delighted to perform at 11 different venues to a total audience of nearly 4,500 people. Thank you to each and every one of you who came to join in the birthday party.
We may be hanging up our party hats for now but we are delighted that our birthday celebrations will continue through the remainder of our anniversary year. We can’t wait to update you about our plans, and more of what the company has been working towards, in the coming months – we think you are going to be captivated by our walk (or should that be dance?) down memory lane!
On the back of our tour celebrating Phoenix’s remarkable four decades, and as we come out of a period of unrest with the pandemic, we find ourselves in a natural period of reflection. For Phoenix to thrive we need to ensure that we make the right changes to address the challenges we have faced and to take advantage of the many opportunities before us.
To give us time and capacity to review what the company can – and should – offer, we have taken the difficult decision to pause touring and live performance for the remainder of 2022. We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause. Phoenix is a small organisation with a modest staff base so this will give us the much-needed opportunity to redeploy resources to allow for a period of strategic reflection, detailed planning and stakeholder engagement.
We want to remain loyal to our roots and heritage as well as enabling the company to grow. It is our aim to deliver dance where it is needed, responding to the changing cultural context and what audiences want to see from us in the future. With a refreshed focus we can ensure that Phoenix continues to be a vital and vibrant contributor to the dance sector, both nationally and internationally.
As Jennifer Coleman-Peers, CEO, explains: “There are few contemporary dance companies that have had the impact that Phoenix Dance Theatre has had over its 40-year history. From its earliest days in Harehills, the company has been pioneering in its practice and steadfast in its commitment to providing opportunities for professional and emerging artists, as well as for children and young people.
Our ambition for the future is equally bold. The past two years have been incredibly tough for Phoenix, as indeed they have been for the whole sector. As we come out the other side of the pandemic, we need to take stock and re-connect with our audiences. We will be engaging with all our key stakeholders, from the young people we work with, to the venues we perform in, and we would love to hear from you. In light of the feedback we receive, we will review the scope of our work, our strategic goals and plans, and will set a course for the future.”
In the next few months we will be embarking on a period of engagement with key stakeholders, including company members, education partners, communities, funders and industry peers. And we will want to hear from you – our loyal audiences! You, too, will play an important role in this process. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and hopes for our future. More information will follow about how you can get involved so keep an eye on your inbox for updates.
With everyone’s input and support it is our aim to ensure that Phoenix has the vision, focus, resources and resilience to deliver another incredible 40 years of dance. We thank you for your continued support of Phoenix. We cannot wait to return to the stage next year and share the start of our next exciting chapter in our history with you.
Photo credit: Foteini Christofilopoulou