Phoenix Dance Theatre’s response to the murder of George Floyd and #BlackLivesMatter

5 Jun 2020

The brutal murder of George Floyd and the ongoing protests, in the US and across the world, are playing heavily in our minds. We know that the issue of racism does not just exist in the US and that it a significant problem here in the UK, and across the world. We stand alongside our Black colleagues and friends, as well as the community worldwide in the fight against racism, and the struggle for justice and a fairer world.


As an organisation, we take immense pride in our history. Phoenix Dance Theatre was founded in 1981 by three Black British men from Harehills, Leeds: David Hamilton (our first Artistic Director), Donald Edwards and Vilmore James. Encapsulating the diverse and vibrant spirit of multicultural Britain and drawing attention to untold or overlooked narratives has always been at the heart of what we do. Recent examples of this ethos in our programme include our productions of Windrush: Movement of the People and Black Waters, the latter of which explored the long-lasting effects of British colonialism.


We know, however, that there is much work to be done in our organisation, our sector and beyond when it comes to tackling racism. We know that like many other dance companies and organisations, we need to work harder to fight the structural racism which inherently exists in our society and which, sadly, is deeply entrenched in our sector and beyond. We know that we as an organisation have a part to play in ensuring that this painful moment brings about real and permanent change.


We remain committed as ever to ensuring our programme and workforce is representative of our diverse society. Our commitment to reach people from all backgrounds through our engagement work remains steadfast


We remain committed to increasing the intake of BAME students in our academies and Saturday Schools. We want the next generation of dancers to work and thrive in a sector that is fair and inclusive.


We will continue using our social media platforms to inform and educate our audiences on this issue and disseminate resources that can help better inform all of us. We’re incredibly privileged to have a platform, and we know it’s important that we use this platform wisely. We know that we need to do better and be part of the change.