Tharp appointed chief exec of The Place and Thiarai joins Theatre Writing Partnership

Kenneth Tharp has been appointed as chief executive of The Place – the central London-based centre for contemporary dance.

Tharp, who gave his farewell performance as a dancer at The Place in 2005, will be the first person to take on the role, which was created by the organisation earlier this year as part of a restructure. He takes up his position in September and will head a management team, including artistic director Richard Alston, theatre director John Ashford and school director Veronica Lewis.

“Dance in the UK is currently on a high, and much of this current success can be traced to The Place’s outstanding accomplishments over the past decades,” Tharp commented. “As a student at the school and as a dancer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre, I had the huge privilege of experiencing first-hand the pioneering influence of giants like Robin Howard and Robert Cohan, and of working with many other remarkable individuals. Looking to the future, I am certain that The Place will continue to inspire, as a magnet for extraordinarily talented and diverse artists, a beacon of access and excellence and an exemplar of support and creativity.”

Awarded an OBE for services to dance in 2003, Tharp is currently artistic advisor and lead artist for the Royal Ballet School’s Dance Partnership and Access Programme and assistant to the head of contemporary dance at Millennium Dance 2000. He is also currently completing a fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme.

Previously, he has served as artistic director of Sadler’s Wells Youth Dance Company, associate artistic director of the National Youth Dance Company and education co-ordinator for Arc Dance Company. He also serves on the boards of both the Royal Opera House and Phoenix Dance Theatre.

*Meanwhile, former Leicester Haymarket Theatre artistic director Kully Thiarai has been appointed as the new director of Theatre Writing Partnership. Prior to her work at the Haymarket, she served as artistic advisor at Contact Theatre in Manchester and as artistic director of Red Ladder Theatre Company. While at TWP, Thiarai will also continue to pursue her own freelance projects.

Thiarai commented: “It is a very exciting time for Theatre Writing Partnership as it continues to grow as an independent organisation. I am delighted by the opportunity afforded me to work with the board and team to build on the excellent work that has been done so far and find new ways in which the company might grow, strengthen and celebrate the work of writers and artists in the region and beyond.”

TWP is a new writing organisation based in the East Midlands, which was set up in 2001 to enable a greater creative collaboration on the development of new writing across the region’s producing theatres, such as the Derby Playhouse, Leicester Haymarket, New Perspectives, Nottingham Playhouse and Northampton Theatres.

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