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 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 are working 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 will be working in partnership with Croydon Council and Croydon Music & Arts as well as working closely with local artists, arts, culture and youth organisations.


Access Croydon aims to:
  • 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




As a part of Access Croydon we are bringing together a network of local teachers, dance artists, community/youth dance leaders to devise a bespoke programme of dance activity. We will be engaging local children and young people to test out how to best raise awareness and general engagement in dance across the borough.


We are commissioning a UK dance artist to create a performance piece that physically and verbally reveals the history of contemporary dance for a younger audience. The work will include historical information, physical demonstrations, visuals and moments of participation, as well as revealing what the world of dance looks like today. We will tour the work, including various wrap-around activities, to schools, libraries and community groups in Croydon.


A free, fun and empowering dance project for girls aged 11-18 years in Croydon in partnership with Palace for Life Foundation. A chance to develop your dance skills, build confidence and make new friends. No previous dance experience necessary to participate. The programme is delivered by professional female dance artists.
For more information and to find out about upcoming sessions, email


As a part of Access Croydon we will develop Croydon Youth Dance Leaders; a steering group made up of young people aged 13-25 years from across the borough who are interested in dance and would like to contribute to the residency programme. We are looking for driven, committed and enthusiastic young people to join the group who are eager to have a voice on the development of dance activity and presence within Croydon.
As a Croydon Youth Dance Leader you can:
  • Get involved in Dance Festival Croydon 2019 events
  • Take part in Dance Umbrella projects
  • Get involved with Dance Umbrella’s Fairfield Halls Takeover
  • Develop skills in dance assisting, events coordination, arts administration, festival producing & leadership
If you are interested in becoming a Croydon Youth Dance Leader please email Bethan on


Are you a musician or dancer aged 14-19 based in Croydon? 
Are you interested in creatively collaborating with other young people? 
If so, Assemble could be for you! 
Assemble is a new, exciting and free project for emerging dance and music makers in Croydon led by Drum The Bass and Dance Umbrella. It provides you with the opportunity to work collaboratively with other young artists across dance and music, enhance your composition and/or choreographic skills and develop new works together for a public performance at Fairfield Halls.
Come along to one of our taster workshops on:
  • Sunday 26thMay 2019, 1-4pm  OR
  • Sunday 23rdJune 2019, 1-4pm
At Oasis Academy Shirley Park School, Shirley Rd, Croydon CR9 7AL
For more information, & to book a place at a taster workshop contact:
Bethan Peters – | 020 7257 9380


Choreography programme for young people aged 16-24
April—October 2019
We are looking for Croydon-based choreographers who are 16-24 years old and want to take their dance experience to the next level.  Over the course of the programme you can develop your choreographic skills and be supported to create a new dance piece to present on a professional stage.
  • Support to apply for Croydon Council’s Youth Arts Fund 
  • Choreographic mentoring
  • Take part in workshops with professional choreographers
  • Opportunity to show work in progress at Dance Festival Croydon events
  • Opportunity to showcase your final work at Fairfield Halls
WHEN? Between April – October 2019
WHAT NOW? Applications are now closed and the choreographers will be announced shortly. If you have any further questions, please email


This blog is a place for Creative Learning Producer, Bethan Peters and Evaluator, Elsa Urmston, to chart our learning and development over the course of the next 18 months or so, as we deliver Access Croydon. We aim to post a reflective post on a monthly basis, reflecting on what we have done, what we have learned, how we have changed and what we plan to do next as a result.


The Access Croydon residency will culminate with a weekend takeover of Fairfields Halls as part of the Dance Umbrella festival 2019. Vibrantly filling and spilling out of Fairfield Halls’ beautifully redeveloped spaces, our weekend Takeover brings a sensational mix of international dance, pop-up events, performance-parkour, homegrown talent, workshops and mayhem to the heart of Croydon.


Explore the programme for Dance Umbrella’s Fairfield Takeover, 18 – 19 Oct


For more information about Access Croydon please email Bethan Peters at