Opoku-Addaie takes on Dance Umbrella

The performer/choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie is to be the next CEO/artistic director of Dance Umbrella, succeeding Emma Gladstone and becoming  only the fourth head of the festival since its foundation 43 years ago.

Born in East London with a Ghanaian heritage, Opoku-Addaie was a guest programmer for the annual event for three years. “I’m seeing and listening to a generation of artists, creatives and communities who are fuelling a shared movement beyond the established mainstream platforms” he said. “This is an opportunity for a generation to tangibly expand the global festival stage for contemporary dance and performance.

“The artist and audience experience has shifted beyond 3Ts (Tick Box/Tokenism/Tolerated) of diversity. In challenging times it’s more essential than ever that we collaborate to deliver some exciting moves.’ 

Dance Umbrella was founded in 1978 by Val Bourne and Jeremy Alliger to nurture contemporary dance and its audiences, bringing more than 785 artists from 40 countries to combined audience of over a million. It has commissioned over 85 new works and presented at 136 different venues ranging from Smithfield Market to the British Library; from canal long boats to Alexandra Palace Ice Rink; from inner city car park rooftops to outer London parks. It was first to present Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Akram Khan and Michael Clark.

The festival’s board chair, Jake Ulrich, said of Opoku-Addaie: “Our long-standing relationship with him, coupled with his vision and expertise, made him a stand-out candidate in a very strong field. This is a game-changing appointment for us. I cannot wait to see how his plans and ideas develop”.


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