Artistic Director Announcement

Morag Deyes MBE

20 years since we opened our purpose-built studios for Scotland’s National Centre for Dance and close to 30 years on from the founding of the organisation, Dance Base is at a moment of generational change. Having set and reset the creative vision for Dance Base since 1994, Morag Deyes MBE will pass on the role of Artistic Director in September 2021 and will bid her final farewell after delivering our 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.

Among Morag’s many achievements in her time at Dance Base, she steered the creative vision of our extraordinary, custom-built dance centre, developed the artistic voice of the organisation as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, won the 2009 Spirit of the Fringe Award, hosted and programmed the major UK dance platform British Dance Edition in 2014, founded PRIME (Scotland’s first semi-professional dance company for over-60s), curated two versions of the large-scale stage show Off Kilter and was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for ‘Services to Dance in Scotland’

‘If I had one word to choose to describe my time with at Dance Base, it would be gratitude. What a gift to have seen this wonderful place grow and to have played a part in it. This gratitude also goes to those people who believed a national centre could happen and truly invested in it. People who believed that dancers in Scotland should and could have a permanent, beautiful and welcoming home, and individuals who went to those often-intangible places with me over the years as Dance Base evolved.

‘The managers and chief executives who played a massive part in what we see now were Dr Cindy Sughrue OBE, Lindsay Robertson, Lucy Mason, Katie Stuart, Jenny Langlands, Emma Stewart-Jones, Matt Roe and our current CEO, Jim Hollington. Without their support and without the wonderful energy and love of dance from everyone at Dance Base, the organisation would never have arrived at this proud home – made precisely for dance and designed by the great Edinburgh architect Malcolm Fraser. Such strong foundations hold the roots for an amazing future for Dance Base.

‘Throughout my time here, I have experienced unerring respect and admiration for the independent dance sector of Scotland; the courage and diversity, imagination and tenacity they have is astonishing. So many dance artists are great teachers too, and they bring those skills to our wonderful class participants who dance for the joy of it. Let’s make sure all of them always enjoy this place that celebrates what they love to do.’
Morag Deyes MBE, Artistic Director

This is a time of significant change. The COVID pandemic has brought into sharp focus many of the challenges that dance artists already face in Scotland and challenged us to respond to the new realities. Throughout the last year, we’ve responded by accessing significant new funding to support dance artists across the country and moving much of our activity online. With a new Chief Executive and Chair and some significant recent board and executive team appointments, we’re finalising a strategy for the future that’s ambitious and collaborative.

Our new Artistic Director is the lynchpin to deliver that strategy. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the right person (or people) to help lead Dance Base into the future, ensuring that Dance Base is supporting the talents and the needs of the diverse range of dance artists who choose to live and work in Scotland, and for making our country a place where dance fulfils its potential across society.

If Dance Base is a place for all dance artists to feel at home, then the Artistic Director is the host. They will draw on their own experience as an artist who has worked in dance and movement, ensuring the welcome is as broad as possible, providing a range of support and opportunities that are open to many as well as more tailored help for individuals at important points in their careers.

We’re advertising the role on a four-year term – we see this as the right period for a talented individual to build on what’s been achieved and bring their own artistic vision to the organisation, while ensuring that others can prepare to take the opportunity later. 

It’s a wide-ranging role with an ambitious job description and we’re committed to providing support for the successful candidate to develop over the four years in the role. We encourage anyone interested to submit an expression of interest, and we’ll offer as many people as possible a conversation with the Dance Base team to help them decide if they would like to submit a full application.

‘I applied to the organisation in large part to work with Morag, having seen her ability to champion artists and dance from Scotland around the world. Finding an Artistic Director to succeed Morag will be a defining moment of my time at Dance Base, and I encourage everyone who is attracted to the role in any way to get in touch and to submit an expression of interest.’
Jim Hollington, Chief Executive

‘Morag has been an indefatigable advocate for dance and dance artists in Scotland. As a Board member and practicing artist, it has been a joy and a privilege to be able to support the planning process for artistic succession at this crucial moment of generational change
– Joan Clevillé, Artistic Director, Scottish Dance Theatre & Board Member, Dance Base

‘Morag leaves an extraordinarily brilliant legacy for Dance Base, not just in Scotland but around the world. We're looking for someone who can build on that and lead us confidently into the future’
– Robert Dawson Scott, Chair of the Dance Base Board

We anticipate our new Artistic Director taking up post in autumn 2021, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the opening of the National Centre for Dance. Morag will continue to programme her final Dance Base Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme in 2022 and support a number of existing projects during the transition year. The festivities around our 20th anniversary will celebrate Morag’s extraordinary accomplishments and will look ahead to the exciting future in store for dance in Scotland.

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Creative Scotland
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Supported by the City of Edinburgh Council
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