19 Apr 2023

We are excited to begin the latest chapter in Phoenix Dance Theatre’s history by launching the search for our next Artistic Director. We are also delighted to announce the appointment of nine new Trustees.

Phoenix has an incredible history spanning more than forty years. Following a recent strategic review, we have devised a robust forward strategy and positive organisational culture that are underpinned by a clear set of values. We are now seeking a talented and ambitious Artistic Director to drive the artistic vision of the company for the next four years.

Following the end of our 40th anniversary tour last year Phoenix embarked on a strategic review and detailed stakeholder research project in partnership with AKD Solutions. Our aim through this process was to ensure that Phoenix has the focus, resources, culture, resilience, energy and agility to deliver another incredible 40 years of dance.

One of the key insights that emerged from the strategic review was a collective sense that Phoenix’s story is one of opportunity. The Board have therefore considered how they can redefine the role of Artistic Director to ensure it offers an opportunity, both to the sector and to the individual appointed.

Delia Barker, Chair of the Board of Trustees: When it came to considering the search for our new Artistic Director, we asked ourselves what we could do to support the development of great artistic talent. We recognise that there are many barriers that prevent people from minoritised groups progressing to the level of AD, and that even when those barriers are surmounted further barriers can prevent individuals from thriving in the role. We are therefore looking to appoint based on talent – we are looking for someone with a strong track record of creation and delivery but not necessarily the typical credentials for securing an AD role. The successful candidate will be provided with training and support and an Artistic Coach to enable them to grow and develop during their time with the company. In return, they will deliver an exciting, truly contemporary programme that engages existing and new, young audiences. At the end of their four-year term, they will pass the baton to the next Artistic Director and will be able to take their experience at Phoenix on into the next stage of their career.

Applications are now being welcomed, with a closing date of midday Wednesday 17 May 2023.

Alongside the Executive Team, the Artistic Director will be supported by a renewed Board of Trustees. Following an open recruitment process led by Delia Barker and supported by independent consultant Jen McLachlan the company has appointed nine new trustees.

We selected individuals who will bring a wealth of knowledge, lived experience and expertise to the company at a time of change and renewal. The trustees include movement director, theatre choreographer and movement coach Diane Alison-Mitchell; Feimatta Conteh, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Factory International; John Nicholls, Founder of Arts Quarter; Philippa Plumtree-Varley, Principal Legal Officer at Leeds City Council; and Josh Rivers, podcaster, communications professional and creator and host of Busy Being Black podcast.

They are joined by Errol White, choreographer and Co-Artistic Director of White & Givan; Creative Producer Chris Wright, and Lauren Van Zyl, Director of Finance at the Donmar Warehouse. In a move to encourage applications from people aged 25 and under for the first time, Phoenix is pleased to appoint Luella Rebbeck, second year Contemporary Dance student at London Contemporary Dance School and former Phoenix Youth Academy student. Together with existing trustees, Delia Barker (Chair), Louise Katerega and Bobsie Robinson, this new cohort will help ensure the Leeds-based dance company builds on the incredible achievements of the past forty years and continues to blaze a trail for the next forty.

Jennifer Coleman-Peers, CEO of Phoenix Dance Theatre: The Board have helped to steer Phoenix through the challenges of the past few years. I thank all those who have served and offer a warm welcome to those who are joining us now as we embark on the next exciting chapter of the Phoenix story. Phoenix Dance Theatre is a special company, held dear by those in Leeds and with influence both nationally and internationally. It is bigger than any one of us, we are all simply custodians. It is our job to ensure that the company continues to deliver impact for the next generation, and with these new Board members and the addition of a new Artistic Director I know Phoenix is in safe hands.

Further information regarding the Artistic Director vacancy, including the recruitment pack, can be found here.

Image (top-bottom, l-r): New Trustees – Diane Alison-Mitchell, Feimatta Conteh, John Nicholls,
Philippa Plumtree-Varley, Luella Rebbeck, Josh Rivers, Lauren van Zyl, Errol White, Chris Wright