Professor Christopher Bannerman
First posted: July 2018
Update: March 2021

The series of interviews that follows provides an opportunity to hear from each of DU’s past directors: Val Bourne the founding director, Betsy Gregory, who took over from Val and then Emma Gladstone, the current CEO/Artistic Director and Anu Giri, DU’s Executive Director. In each case we discuss the way in which they became involved in DU and their work as part of the festival.

This is followed by a series of interviews with DU’s four 2018 Re-Search artists three of whom are supported to develop an initial idea and to present it in sessions that may be open to the public or as part of Studio Sessions which are for arts professionals who may be interested in presenting or supporting further development.

The exception to this model is Freddie Opoku-Addaie who is an artist-curator responsible for Out of the System which is described as a ‘festival-within-a-festival’ with performances, talks and events all grouped around that theme. Nonetheless the questions were adapted to his work and followed the same pattern. The interviews were semi-structured to allow the artist to follow their line of thought and for me to respond appropriately.

The six questions I sent to them were designed to represent a chronological order from their backgrounds, the present work and their hopes and plans for developing it further, although I recognise that each artist may have a creative process that does not unfold in chronologically logical ways. My voice is removed from the video so the artist and their responses can be the main focus, and I add the questions here as they may be helpful.

1. What is your artistic background, your training, influences, general reference points?
2. What was/were the starting point(s) for the work you are doing as part of the DU Re-Search programme?
3. What methods have you used to develop the ideas? Is anything pre-planned, have structural decisions been made, does the work emerge solely from the studio explorations, or?
4. What role do the performers play in the creative process?
5. Do you have a strategy for selecting material that has been generated?
6. How do you plan to take forward the research process?
7. Is there anything you would like to add?

Each artist, as might be expected, is individual in the ways that their work has been initiated and developed, but their ability to engage verbally to express the concerns of their work and their generosity in doing so made this work a pleasure to do.

DU Directors:

In conversation with Emma Gladstone, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella, July 2018

In conversation with Anu Giri, Executive Director of Dance Umbrella, July 2018

In conversation with Val Bourne, Artistic Director of Dance Umbrella (1978-2006), September 2018

In conversation with Betsy Gregory, Artistic Director of Dance Umbrella (2007-2013), September 2018

Re-Search Artists:

In conversation with Aakash Odedra, DU Re-Search Artist, September 2018

In conversation with Janine Harrington, DU Re-Search Artist, September 2018

In conversation with Freddie Opoku-Addaie, DU Re-Search Artist, September 2018

In conversation with Oona Doherty, DU Re-Search Artist, October 2018