New Adventures is delighted to announce their Overture dance artist cohort for 2020/2021. Established in 2016, Overture is the annual New Adventures professional development programme for dance artists and dance teachers from a variety of genres who have been working in community or education settings for less than five years. Each year, the group of artists are chosen for their work that spans both urban and rural settings, representing the diversity of contemporary England.
New Adventures is passionate about creating pathways through the company and this year’s cohort include Felipe Pacheco who was part of the young ensemble in Matthew Bourne’s production of Lord of the Flies in 2014, and Roisin Whelan who performed in Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet in its world premiere last year.
Found through an open call and through our dance networks, this year’s 16 talented community dance artists are:
- Callum Anderson, 28, Hove, East Sussex
- Phoebe Chung, 26, Ipswich, Suffolk
- Stephanie Donohoe, 25, Leeds, West Yorkshire
- Ellen Hathaway Spence, 25, Gateshead
- Sally Hendry, 22, Manchester
- Kirsty Holmes, 25, Tonbridge, Kent
- Stephanie Jenner, 28, Newton Abbot, Devon
- Rebecca Mulvihill, 25, Canterbury, Kent
- Felipe Pacheco, 23, Heswall, Merseyside
- Hannah Raynor, 30, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
- Lewis Sharp, 24, Barking, Essex
- Michael Sookhan, 22, Croydon, London
- Kashmira Sunni, 38, Northolt, London
- Jessica Truslove, 24, Rowley Regis, West Midlands
- Patrick Webster, 27, Croydon, London
- Roisin Whelan, 24, Woking, Surrey
Full biographies and link to headshots below.
Facilitated by Resident Artist Kerry Biggin and Community Dance Practice Educator Tom Hobden, the cohort of dance artists participate in three residential weekends at the Company’s base in Farnham Maltings, Surrey over a six-month period, as well as digital sessions during this current period of lockdown. Each residential comprises of practical workshops, class and skills-sharing as well as inspirational guest teachers from a variety of dance backgrounds sharing their practice. With workshops in areas such as personal development and networking, New Adventures aim to provide the cohort with a range of skills to support them in reaching the next level of their careers as community dance artists.
Kerry Biggin said today.’It is wonderful to be part of the journey and development of the dance artists and teachers that we work with each year on Overture. It is continually inspiring to see how each cohort grow and build their network, confidence and aspiration. It is always inspiring to see alumni continue to strive for their goals and ambitions & stay connected to their Overture network well after the programme has finished.
Tom Hobden said today ‘It has been my absolute pleasure to co-lead OVERTURE with New Adventures for 5 years and it has been a wonderful journey for myself and the 70+ young dance artists we have worked with. To know we are sending out charged and inspiring artists into the sector gives real hope for the future of dance and in our uncertain times when the need will be greatest to move, we will thankfully have the OVERTURE artists ready to help.’
New Adventures and the Overture Programme is supported using public funds from Arts Council England.
Callum Anderson is a Brighton-based contemporary dance artist and screendance director working across live and digital performance. He holds a BA (Hons) in dance, and an MA in dance performance from the University of Chichester. While training, Callum worked with choreographers such as Filip van Huffel, Shobana Jeyasingh and Lea Anderson. Callum has danced in physical theatre and 360º sound performances, performance-art events and music videos, alongside traditional theatre settings. Callum has been a supported artist of the Sussex Dance Network, mixing community focused choreography with digital technologies as part of a promenade performance for the Brighton Fringe.
Phoebe Chung trained on the dance course at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire. Following this she went on to study at University of Suffolk, graduating with a Dance degree. Since then she has been working as a community dance artist at DanceEast, assisting and delivering in various community programme for individuals with additional need as well as Early Years and older adults. Apart from that, she also teaches Ballet to children and adults at a local dance school. Phoebe believes that dance is accessible to everyone and she is looking forward to being part of this year’s Overture cohort.
Stephanie Donohoe is a freelance dance artist based in Leeds, originally from Birmingham. She graduated from Leeds Beckett University in 2018 with a Master’s degree in Choreography. Since graduating she has worked on multiple research projects in both Yorkshire and the Midlands, performing both her work and working for independent choreographers such as Genevieve Say. She is also an ‘accelerate’ emerging artist supported by Leeds dance partnership. Stephanie has always been passionate about working in communities and has most recently been working as a dance artist for Dance United Yorkshire on their Resi-Dance program and as a lead artist for Yorkshire Dance Youth company.
Ellen Hathaway Spence graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2016, before continuing her training in Israel with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company Masa programme. Ellen then moved to Lebanon to teach contemporary dance and perform in Beirut. In the UK, Ellen has worked for companies including Pro-Excel for Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Southpaw Dance Company, Dance United Yorkshire and Exit12 Dance Company. Recently, Ellen has created her own company where she delivers dance projects to refugee communities. Since 2020, Ellen has received commissions from Arts Council England and Dance City’s Charlotte Grant Early Career Artist Award for international research.
Sally Hendry is a Glaswegian freelance dance artist based in Manchester. She trained at the University of Salford, where she graduated with a first class degree. She has worked with a range of artists and organizations across the UK and Europe. Her practice is focused on finding joy through a range of styles and art forms. Her ethos based on celebrating the individual and creating as a team to push individuals artistic boundaries and collaborate to create interesting work. Sally’s established Company DNA which is an interdisciplinary group set up to promote collaborative working across a range of art forms.
Kirsty Holmes studied BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance at Bath Spa University, she graduated in 2016. She is now a dance artist in the southeast, teaching youth companies in and across Kent. Currently Kirsty is training to become an NATD teacher with Cascade Dance and is looking at continuing her professional development to gain more qualifications. Kirsty wants to share her passion for dance to those of all ages and make it accessible for everyone.
Stephanie Jenner studied BA (Hons) Dance at the University of Chichester, after which she completed a PGCE at the University of Exeter and recently graduated with a Masters Degree specialising in Teaching and Learning from the University of Kent. Steph was appointed at Plympton Academy to launch Dance as a discreet and artistic subject within the curriculum. As the Lead Practitioner of Dance she has ignited a passion for the subject across all year groups; with extensive uptake in extracurricular classes and examination pathways in BTEC at Level 2 and Level 3. Steph’s preferred style is rooted in Contemporary, particularly release based technique. Her vision is to establish a leading inclusive hub for aspiring dancers and graduates based in the South-West so that communities in rural areas have access to high-quality classes, workshops, discussions and platforms.
Rebecca Mulvihill as a dance practitioner who works in Kent; Rebecca works in secondary education, specialising in delivering GCSE and A Level dance at Brompton Academy in Gillingham. Rebecca is looking forward to developing her professional practice with this year’s Overture cohort, and is thrilled to have been selected for the Overture scheme.
Felipe Pacheco is a Brazilian-English performer and movement practitioner based in the North West and London. His journey in dance began with New Adventures’ Lord of the Flies (2014), after which he went to study ballet, modern and West African dance for a semester at Columbia College Chicago. More recently, he trained with Frantic Assembly in their 2017 Ignition cohort, and in 2019, graduated from the University of Surrey with a BA (Hons) in Theatre and Performance. He is now a practitioner for Frantic, hoping to inspire the next generation of movers/dancers, that, like him, may not have had traditional dance training.
Hannah Raynor is a Dance Artist and Actress based in Buckinghamshire who is passionate about challenging preconceptions, authenticity and storytelling. Having trained as a dancer from the age of three, Hannah became disabled overnight and has now adapted her craft with a focus on transforming obstacles into creative opportunities instead of seeing them as limitations. Having performed as an actress in Theatre, TV and Audio Work, Hannah has a rich variety of interdisciplinary skills which she will be using as she re-joins the community practitioner setting after a few years working as a performer.
Lewis Sharp was born, raised and is based in London, Lewis trained in Contemporary Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and went on to be a company member of Transitions Dance Company. He is currently doing an MFA in Dance Performance, also at Laban. Alongside his studies, Lewis has been a teaching assistant for the Children’s Classes at Laban and would like to develop his teaching practice to support his work in the community and within education. Having choreographed for Opera festivals in France, Lewis aims to extend his work into other areas such as theatre and opera. Lewis aims to fulfil his aspirations as an artist, researcher and teacher, and would one day like to work within higher education.
Michael Sookham is an interdisciplinary artist who has been performing from a young age. He focuses on blending different styles of movement into his practice and choreography. Apart from his physical background, he is also an actor, writer and musician. Having performed at venues such as Young Vic, Ovalhouse, Lyric Hammersmith and Kiln. Michael is excited to share his passion with others
Kashmira Sunni’s training began at the age of 3, with Bharatnatyam, Indian Folk, Ballet Kathak and Drama, and by 17, she was choreographing solo/group performances. Her work breaks the mould with fusions of contrasting genres and atypical interpretations of music. A week after graduating in Psychology, Kashmira landed a role in her first Bollywood Film. This took her to India where she worked for several years as an Actor & Choreographer. On returning to London, she founded performing arts company ‘KASHAK Arts’ which she now runs alongside a career in the NHS. The company has performed, by invitation, in front of dignitaries such as the Prime Minister of India – Narendra Modi, while also being involved in large-scale community events such as RISE for BRENT 2020, for which Kashmira was a Community Cast Dance Lead. She now passionately promotes dance for mental health.
Jessica Truslove is a Midlands Dance Teacher, graduating with first class BA Hons in Dance at Wolverhampton University. Developing a love for teaching and learning, completing a PGCE in Dance, she has experience in leading a secondary dance department, specialising in KS3 and 4 Dance during her NQT year. Now studying an MA in Dance Technique Pedagogy at Middlesex, working in community dance, and advocating for dance within secondary education. Developing a love for theory and practice with an interest in cognition, Jessica is excited to develop her teaching learning a multitude of skills, benefiting both her community and curriculum practice. Jessica hopes Overture will provide her with the tools to become an aspirational leader in the future.
Patrick Webster is a Croydon-based dance artist whose journey began at the age of 19 during a contemporary dance technique class, before going on to graduate with first-class honours from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Patrick strongly believes in the freedom and joy of dancing and so places humanity above technique in dance practice. Patrick is rehearsal assistant and contemporary dance technique teacher for Grand Gesture; has performed in opera, screen dance and site-specific productions; and aspires to unveil the relationship between drag and black metal through contemporary dance. Patrick knows that dance is a connector of people and that everybody should have the opportunity to experience dance.
Roisin Whelan is originally from Ireland where she trained at the Aedeen O’Hagan School of Ballet, Shawbrook and Dublin Youth Dance Company. Roisin completed her BPA and MA at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Roisin joined Black Box Dance Company upon graduation and toured with the company throughout 2019 across Denmark, Sweden and Germany. Following her time in Scandinavia, she then joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures for their tour of Romeo + Juliet and now works with the company as a dance artist, teaching for the company’s education strand. Roisin teaches various community groups from a range of ages and abilities across Ireland.
New Adventures is proud to be a truly national dance-theatre touring company and is one of Britain’s leading exporters of dance internationally. Over the past 30 years New Adventures has transformed the popularity of dance in Britain, creating works that have altered the public perception of what is possible when it comes to telling stories without words.
New Adventures has received numerous international awards and an incredible 12 Olivier Award nominations resulting in 6 wins. Over the past 30 years New Adventures has created 12 full-length productions and a mixed-bill of shorter works. This award-winning repertoire has inspired and thrilled millions of people worldwide.
New Adventures is passionate about diversifying the dance landscape and investing in the future of dance, through delivering inclusive projects for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, and developing and inspiring emerging artists. https://new-adventures.net/