South East Dance has established a fund in memory of its former artistic director and chief executive Jamie Watton, who died earlier this year.
The Brighton-based company is aiming to raise £100,000 as a legacy for Watton, a dancer and choreographer, who died in July following a short illness.
The Jamie Watton Fund will provide bursaries for emerging artists and support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue career in dance.
It will also contribute to the completion of the company’s new home, the Dance Space, which is due to open in 2020 and for which Watton was described as “the driving force”.
Watton performed as one of six dancers in the first full-length piece choreographed in 1991 by Matthew Bourne, who said: “Jamie’s vision for a space in which dance artist can create and rehearse work under one roof is such a vital one for the industry and I share that passion. I’m looking forward to seeing his vision become a reality.”
Watton led South East Dance for almost a decade, during which time he developed plans for the £6.5 million Dance Space, where work for South East Dance will be rehearsed and performed. It will also offer classes and community-led projects and provide residencies for local dance artists and companies.