Thanks for joining us! This blog is a place for Creative Learning Producer, Bethan Peters and Evaluator, Elsa Urmston, to chart our learning and development over the course of the next 18 months or so, as we deliver Access Croydon. We aim to post a reflective post on a monthly basis, reflecting on what we have done, what we have learnt, how we have changed and what we plan to do next as a result.

Reflective practice is “a dialogue of thinking and doing through which I become more skillful.” – Donald Schön (1983)


Growing dance provision for children and young people in Croydon.

Dance Umbrella fundamentally believes children and young people are audiences of today as well as tomorrow and deserve access to high calibre dance provision that engages, excites and enables new ways of seeing the world.

We want ensure children across London have access to contemporary dance regardless of their location, ethnicity or background. For the past five years we have been working with local arts centres, parks and outdoor spaces to take innovative national and international dance productions to outer London boroughs, where 64% of children and young people live work and study.

Building on this activity, we are working in depth in the borough of Croydon to undertake an 18-month Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded residency called Access Croydon to test new approaches to broadening access to dance activity for young people within the borough.

To deliver Access Croydon Dance Umbrella will be working in partnership with Croydon Council and Croydon Music & Arts as well as working closely with local artists, arts, culture and youth organisations.

Access Croydon aims to:

  • To give young people in Croydon opportunities to access high quality contemporary dance experiences
  • To help develop and connect the dance community in Croydon
  • To test ways of overcoming barriers of attendance for young people
  • To build audiences for contemporary dance performance in Croydon
  • To offer creative development opportunities for young people


We have different strands of activity that we are planning:


Light bulbs

As a part of Access Croydon we are bringing together a network of local teachers, dance artists, community/youth dance leaders to devise bespoke programme of dance activity. We will be engaging local children and young people to test out how to best raise awareness and general engagement in dance across the borough.


A Danced History pic

We have commissioned Jennifer Irons to create a performance piece that physically and verbally reveals the history of contemporary dance for a younger audience. The work will include historical information, physical demonstrations, visuals and moments of participation, as well as revealing what the world of dance looks like today. We will tour the work, including various wrap-around activities, to schools, libraries and community groups in Croydon.



A free, fun and empowering dance project for girls aged 11-18 years in Croydon. A chance to develop your dance skills, build confidence and make new friends. No previous dance experience necessary.

Stanley Halls, 12 South Norwood Hill, SE25 6AB

To book a place on the project contact Bethan Peters: / 020 7257 9380



Of Riders and Running Horses, DUFEST15, Rooftop, NCP Car Park, Farringdon

As a part of Access Croydon we will develop Croydon Youth Dance Leaders; a steering group made up of young people aged 13-25 years from across the borough who are interested in dance and would like to contribute to the residency programme. We are looking for driven, committed and enthusiastic young people to join the group who are eager to have a voice on the development of dance activity and presence within Croydon. 

Croydon Youth Dance Leaders will:

• Consult with partners about the Access Croydon residency programme & specific projects
• Have the opportunity to take part in dance projects
• Advocate for the residency & dance more broadly in Croydon
• Take part in co-curation opportunities
• Have the opportunity to develop skills in dance assisting, arts administration & festival producing


FAIRFIELDS-600x430The Access Croydon residency will culminate with a weekend takeover of Fairfields Halls as part of the Dance Umbrella festival 2019, comprising new world class commissions, a platform for home grown talent and a special programme around the building featuring a range of children and young people we will have worked with during our residency.