Access Croydon

Growing dance provision for children and young people in Croydon.
Dance Umbrella fundamentally believe children and young people are audiences of today as well as tomorrow and deserve access to high calibre dance provision that engages, excites and enables new ways of seeing the world.
We want to ensure children across London have access to contemporary dance regardless of their location, ethnicity or background. For the past five years we have been working with local arts centres, parks and outdoor spaces to take innovative national and international dance productions to outer London boroughs, where 64% of children and young people live work and study.
Building on this activity, we worked in depth in the borough of Croydon to undertake an 18-month Paul Hamlyn Foundation funded residency called Access Croydon to test new approaches to broadening access to dance activity for young people within the borough.
To deliver Access Croydon, Dance Umbrella worked in partnership with Croydon Council and Croydon Music & Arts as well as working closely with local artists, arts, culture and youth organisations.


Access Croydon’s aims:
  • To give young people in Croydon opportunities to access high quality contemporary dance experiences
  • To help develop and connect the dance community in Croydon
  • To test ways of overcoming barriers of attendance for young people
  • To build audiences for contemporary dance performance in Croydon
  • To offer creative development opportunities for young people




Ever wondered what Contemporary dance actually is?
From Martha Graham to Beyoncé; experience a blast from the past to a taster of today from this wildly diverse dance style as your host Jennifer Irons guides you through a live dancesploration of where contemporary dance came from, where it is now and how we got here.
Commissioned by Dance Umbrella, DanceStory is a dance-theatre piece that physically and verbally reveals the history of contemporary dance for a younger audience. The work includes historical information, physical demonstrations, visuals and moments of participation, as well as revealing what the world of dance looks like today. We are currently touring the work, including various wrap-around activities, to schools, libraries and community groups in Croydon until December 2020. The work will then be going on tour to other Greater London boroughs.
If you would be interested in finding out more about DanceStory or booking a performance please contact Bethan on: | 07498 232 515


Next Level was a new programme for Croydon-based choreographers aged 16-24. It was delivered by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Dance Festival Croydon. Over the course of the programme the selected choreographers developed their choreographic skills through a series of workshops and mentoring and were supported to apply for a Youth Arts Fund grant from Croydon Council in order to create a new piece of dance work, the final version of which was presented as a part of our DU: Fairfield Takeover.
The first two Next Level choreographers were: Aaron Baksh and Lucy Bennett.


This blog was a place for Creative Learning Producer, Bethan Peters and Evaluator, Elsa Urmston, to chart their learning and development over the course of Access Croydon. We shared posts reflecting on what we did, what we learned, how we changed and what we plan to do next as a result.


We are currently in the process of digesting all of our learning from Access Croydon and plans are afoot for 2020 to deliver more work of this kind in Croydon and Hounslow, so watch this space…


For more information about Access Croydon please email Bethan Peters at or call 07498 232 515