Primary objectives will be:

  • to continue to connect, develop, represent and champion the theatre dance and performing arts sectors
  • to support and champion all our members, and
  • to work with our partners to advocate for a thriving theatre, dance and performing arts ecology in NI and beyond.

Our priority going forward is to support all our members, particularly, our freelance and independent artists who need our voice and support more than ever as they navigate these insecure, challenging and uncertain times. They are the backbone of our industry and deserve our full effort and focus. We, as one stronger agency, will work together with them to advocate and do our utmost to improve and increase the range and variety of support services available to them. This important structural change, will bring together the energies, skills, expertise and knowledge of our Boards, staff, and members, enabling us to better support the sector.

 Responding to the completion of the merger, Co-Chairs, Louise Rossington and Adam Knight, said

“We are excited about the opportunity to build a transformative, ambitious and inclusive organisation to strengthen and lead the performing arts sector in Northern Ireland. We have been privileged to lead our respective organisations and look forward to building on the legacy they have each created.

We look forward enthusiastically to seizing the opportunities presented, combining the collective talents of our respective staff, trustees and supporters in the years ahead and to returning to the Crescent Arts Centre, already a thriving hub for the performing arts. It is critical with so much uncertainty that we all work together more closely and effectively to advocate for our members.

We are part of one of Northern Ireland’s vital industries, and it is our job to work to promote, secure and develop its future and those of our members. Theatre and Dance NI will consult and listen to the sector to ensure we serve theatre and dance strategically. We will collectively champion the outstanding work of Northern Ireland’s dance and theatre community, both here at home and internationally.  We will also continue our work with others in the broader arts sector and beyond to advocate for increased public investment in the arts in Northern Ireland and for the contribution our industry makes to broader society to be recognised and valued appropriately.”

Caoileann Curry Thompson, ACNI, Arts Development Officer Drama and Dance said:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland wholeheartedly welcomes the formation of Theatre and Dance NI, the new sectoral body for the live performing arts in Northern Ireland. The turmoil and uncertainty that the current Covid 19 crisis has wreaked on our drama and dance sectors has demonstrated sharply how invaluable a strong, proactive and dedicated sectoral support organisation is. The staff of Theatre and Dance NI bring unparalleled expertise and passion to the organisation, and have already proven themselves to be worth their weight in gold to their members and our wider performance community, as we all try to make our way through these unparalleled testing times. We at the Arts Council look forward to working with Theatre and Dance NI as they continue the sterling work of TheatreNI and Dance Resource Base in working tirelessly on behalf of all artists, professionals and organisations in the sector. Here’s to the future!”

Finally, it is no small task to engage in a merger process and, given the myriad of issues that still need to be dealt with, the Board and small staff team will need some time to transition into one fully functioning organisation so please do bear with us during this time. We look forward to working with you and continuing to champion you and your work through Theatre & Dance NI. – Louise Rossington and Adam Knight