We have some key creative relationships with dance-makers, teachers and artists in and out of Cornwall. These associates are not a finite group we are constantly engaged in evolving creative relationships with interesting dance artists and artists from other disciplines.
- Anthony Waller, Director
- Simon Birch, Co-Director
Antony was born in Birmingham in 1959 at the same time and place as the Mini. He studied dance at Worcester College from 1977-1980 under the late Joan Russell (hence the fundamental interest in dance in education). He worked in production in theatres for a year before setting up a touring company in the early 1980's.
Little Kids Construction Company travelled all over the UK making site-specific dance-theatre with thousands of young people, working in schools, galleries, theatres, museums, detention centres, rural settings and back-streets.
In 1986 he moved to South Yorkshire to set up Sheffield and Rotherham Dance Project where he designed and managed dance development programmes for both education authorities, delivering inset training for teachers and driving development of dance in schools. He created graduate training programmes, youth dance networks and large-scale performance events in a variety of settings. He also worked to create a consortium of local theatres to develop an extensive international dance programme. This gave rise to the creation of the Danceworks Festival.
In 1997 Antony moved to Cornwall with his soon-to-be wife, Sarah, to take up the post of Director of Dance Agency Cornwall. He set about re-vitalising the dance and theatre culture, working with theatres, audiences, schools, youth and community groups, dancers, artists and musicians. Part of this process was a five-year programme of international dance development bringing the best of UK and overseas dance into Cornwall on a range of scales. With a small group of colleagues, Antony set up KEAP, the Arts Education Agency for Cornwall. A major feature of his work has been the creation of extraordinary performance-based events with large numbers of young people in special sites, including, amongst many others, Road to the Beach 2004 (with Motionhouse Dance Theatre and Landings 2005 with National Trust. He has worked closely with the English Heritage, National Trust and a host of other partner organizations, producing some of these events in ancient houses, gardens, woods, beaches and harbours.
In 2002, Antony led the organisational transition of Dance Agency Cornwall to The Works a development agency for theatre and dance, the first of its kind in the UK.
In 2005 Antony took up a one-year secondment to Creative Partnerships to explore new regional partnership models. In 2006 he resigned the Directorship of The Works to work as an independent producer based across the South West. With Dance South West and the National Trust, he developed Unlocked, a series of creative projects between properties, sites and cultural organizations across the South West. He also produced a number of site-based performance events including the final celebratory event for Bournemouth and Poole's Cultural Hub, scheduled for 2008 and Imagineers, a large scale performance and exhibition event in Cornwall in 2008. During 2010/11 Antony worked with Brightspace, Birmingham and RIO in the SW as a Creative Producer working with schools in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and the South West.
In August 2012 having returned to Cornwall after 3 years based in the midlands he and Sarah founded Dance Republic 2 CIC, a vehicle for the development and delivery of a range of dance programmes in Cornwall including producing roles for dance companies.
He is an active Board member of Kernow Education Arts Partnership (KEAP), the arts education agency for Cornwall.
As well as being a co-director of Dance Republic 2, Simon directs his own project company SIMON BIRCH DANCE and is a part time senior lecturer at Falmouth University.
Simon trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance after which he performed in works created by Nigel Charnock, Liv Lorent, Gill Clarke, Emilyn Claid, Herve Jourdet and others. As a choreographer Simon not only devises his own performance projects but also creates work for other dance companies, his work has been toured throughout the UK and abroad.
He has worked across art forms, most notably collaborating with visual artist Trish O’Shea, creating artwork that uses film, text, movement and visual imagery. Simon frequently works as a rehearsal director and guest teacher for professional dance companies. He has been Associate Director with balletLORENT where he was involved in developing and staging many works from the company’s repertoire, touring throughout the UK and abroad.
Simon has worked in Higher Education in roles such as Head of Performance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and guest lecturer at York St John University. He was the recipient of the Wooda Art Award 2008 and was a choreographer on the International Dance Course for Professional Choreographers and Composer in 1995, directed by Sara Rudner and Nigel Osborne.