Memorandum submitted by DV8 Physical Theatre
DV8 Physical Theatre is a contemporary dance
company in receipt of regular funding from Arts Council England.
The Company aims to break down the barriers between dance, theatre
and personal politics and to communicate ideas clearly and unpretentiously.
Under the artistic direction of Lloyd Newson,
the Company has toured 13 highly-acclaimed productions internationally
and made three films for television: Dead Dreams of Monochrome
Men (LWT), Strange Fish (BBC), and Enter Achilles
(BBC). Among the many awards the company has won are two Prix
Italia and an International Emmy.
DV8 represents a huge success story for the
UK dance industry. The Company has secured a massive international
following, and its stage and screen productions have helped to
place contemporary dance on the UK's cultural and academic agenda.
All of DV8's films have featured on GCSE, A Level and degree/diploma
syllabuses for Dance and Performing Arts, and the Company web
site is a key educational resource for students, teachers and
members of the public. DV8's performances are extremely well-attended
by under 25s in the UK, drawing in the dance theatre audience
and practitioners of the future.
However, this success has been extremely hard-won
within the current climate of arts funding, and has placed a huge
strain on DV8's artists and administrators. In order to meet the
demand for its work the Company has had to raise ever-increasing
amounts of additional funding, causing company members to deplete
their energies and resources with fundraising, when that energy
should be used to create innovative new work.
A YEAR IN
OF DV8: 2003
DV8's Artistic Director Lloyd Newson had previously
been commissioned by the Sydney Olympic Committee to create a
new dance production for their Olympic Festival. This show, the
cost of living, was a spectacular, thought-provoking work
on the themes of perfection and pretence. It featured a range
of performers: ballet and contemporary dancers, circus artists,
those with "perfect" bodies and those whom society deemed
to be physically imperfect.
This artistic creation was so powerful that
that it was able to cross media and artform boundaries and transfer
from the stage, to art gallery, to television. In 2003 the Company
was commissioned to produce three separate works, based on the
original production of the cost of living.
The cost of living, a large-scale theatre
production which was commissioned by major festivals in the Netherlands,
Germany, Italy, and France, and toured to eight countries. Over
27,500 people attended this sell-out production, including over
8,000 people in England alone.
The Company had to raise £270,000
in foreign investment in order to realise this project.
Living Costs, a site-specific multi-media
event commissioned by the Tate Modern as part of the Tate &
Egg Live series of works aimed at encouraging new audiences to
visit the Tate. The twenty performances sold out very quickly,
attracting a total audience of 3,675.
The Company had to raise £98,000
in commission fees, box office and grant funding in order to realise
The Cost of Living, a dance film commissioned
by Channel 4 Television. Work on the film has just been completed,
and Channel 4 plan to premiere it as part of their Autumn season.
There has been great interest in the film from foreign distributors
and international film festivals.
The Company had to raise £250,000
in commission fees to realise this project.
These commissions raised the profile of DV8,
and of dance as a whole, building new audiences and broadening
dance's cultural appeal.
In addition in 2003, the company produced a
short research and development project that has led directly
into the development and rehearsal of a new full-length touring
piece for the company in 2004. A UK, European and Asian tour of
this piece is currently being booked for 2005.
These four successful projects were created,
managed and produced by a core staff of:
One General Manager; and
and employed the paid services of 100 people directly,
and 14 talented volunteer performers.
In order for companies like DV8 fully to exploit
and build upon its current success, we would like the Committee
to consider the following areas for increased investment in the
Core funding for revenue-funded companies;
Pay levels for artists and managers,
to enable the sector to nurture and retain talent;
Recognition and funding for UK-based
companies who have acquired an international reputation for excellence
and perform world-wide; and
Recognition and funding for cross
art form and media initiatives, including dance on film and dance
in non-traditional spaces.
30 April 2004