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30 Nov 2020

Photo of Solstice, choreographed by Kwesi Johnson. Dancer Rikkai Scott. Photo by Chris Nash.

DanceEast is delighted to have been awarded a grant of £60,000 from Jerwood Foundation in support of work to future proof the iconic Jerwood DanceHouse on Ipswich waterfront, through the creation of a digital suite. The funding will secure the organisation’s position at the heart of developments in digital dance innovation in the UK, whilst at the same time providing a vital facility for artists and freelancers across the sector – as they look to a future beyond the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

DanceEast moved to its new home in 2009 – a move made possible by a significant grant from Jerwood Foundation. The ambition at the time was to place the organisation at the forefront of dance development in the UK by providing a state-of-the-art dance house for artists and the wider community to create and experience great dance.

Ten years on, and despite the extreme circumstances created by Covid-19, DanceEast remains absolutely committed to its original ambition. To this end, DanceEast has a mission to enhance the Jerwood DanceHouse, not only future proofing it, but driving forward a new and exciting era for dance by creating a digitally friendly building. The organisation was first able to launch the project and invest in its digital infrastructure through a grant from the New Anglia LEP’s Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, along with generous contributions from other foundations and individuals.

DanceEast is delighted to have received this vital support from Jerwood Foundation which has enabled them to transform part of their building – including a flexible ‘green screen’ broadcast studio, with pre- and post-production facilities. This sector leading facility will enable the organisation to offer dance artists a ‘high end’ research and development space to create new work for digital distribution and provide a dynamic new resource for the East of England and beyond.

Brendan Keaney, DanceEast Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: ‘We are incredibly grateful to Jerwood Foundation for this funding to enable us to realise our ambition and position DanceEast at the centre of digital dance innovation in the UK. The foundation has been amazingly supportive of us in the past, having provided significant funding towards the capital campaign to create the beautiful purpose-built dance house that we are lucky enough to call home. They understood the DanceEast vision then, to provide state of the art facilities here in Ipswich that would attract the world’s most renowned choreographers and artists – it seems only fitting now that The Jerwood Foundation have invested in the next chapter for this wonderful dance house, helping both DanceEast and the sector move towards a brighter and more exciting future for dance.’

Alan Grieve, Chairman and Lara Wardle, Executive Director, Jerwood have stated: ‘This grant reaffirms our longstanding relationship with DanceEast. We continue to admire their vision and entrepreneurial spirit and are delighted to enable this future-facing and timely project to move ahead.’

The digital suite will also be available to hire to businesses and community organisations that want to extend their digital communications, conferences, broadcasts and networking events beyond simple ‘zoom’ and ‘teams’ and will support the organisation in their own delivery of online classes, training, workshops and projects for the local community.




This week we’ll be announcing two events to end our 2020 on high, which are only possible because of our exciting new Digital Suite. Pictured above is the creation of Solsticewatch this space!