Co-founded and led by Artistic Director Gary Clarke and Executive Producer Annabel Dunbar, GARY CLARKE COMPANY is a pioneering, award-winning dance theatre company based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Renowned for high impact, high quality and high legacy work, the company tours extensively on the mid-scale across the UK and continues to nurture new partners and touring networks at home and abroad.
Our mission is to create exceptional dance theatre projects which connect, strengthen and inspire communities, participants, audiences and artists. We work with professional artist’s and working class and marginalised people, forging enduring relationships to ensure authenticity in the telling of our and their stories. Our creative practice redefines the ways in which people can be part of creative processes and the making and performance of excellent shows and in doing so, we bring fresh voices, stories and perspectives to arts and culture. We work with care and respect for our family of artists, creative workers, collaborators, community participants and audiences.
Our aims are to:
→ Make extraordinary, powerful work that marks, reflects & comments on significant events in working-class social history, politics, culture & people. -involve & engage people from diverse communities in the research, development & performance of touring shows, local projects & digital works, empowering them through a sense of ownership & achievement
→ Be a force for good in Barnsley & South Yorkshire through working collaboratively with local partners & involving local people in high quality creative & cultural activities with the potential to effect transformational change. -build lasting partnerships with venues that nurture & grow audiences in areas of England (& beyond) where arts engagement is low
→ Demystify dance for venue staff with little experience of the art form, increasing their confidence & skill in promoting & presenting it
support the development of young, Northern producers & creatives from marginalised communities.
GARY CLARKE COMPANY’S place in the national dance ecology, the regional arts sector and in communities nationwide is clearly demonstrated by a successful track record of funding, levels of engagement, overwhelmingly positive feedback and numerous national awards including a UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance and A Critics Circle National Dance Award for Best Independent Company. Four and five-star reviews for the company’s shows have appeared in The Stage, The Herald on Sunday, Scottish Stage, The Times, and The Big Issue.
“An absorbing, immediate slice of history rendered with the kind of emotional truth that deepens its impact as popular entertainment”
GARY CLARKE COMPANY has created a robust network of national partners, particularly in areas of England where engagement in the arts is 20% or less, who have also co-produced, supported and presented the touring shows over several years. These partners – venues, festivals, dance agencies, further and higher education institutions – recognise the inspirational quality of Gary’s artistic work. They value the company’s conscientious, research-based approach to its creation and to connecting with, engaging, and sustaining audiences.
→ Between 2016 and 2023 GARY CLARKE COMPANY co-created and toured extensively two full length theatre shows: COAL and WASTELAND, presenting 100 shows (54 x COAL and 46 x WASTELAND ) across 51 venues, primarily on the mid-scale in England, as well as touring into Scotland and venues in Northern Ireland, Wales and Germany.
→ Attracting over 30,000 show audiences of which 42% were first time attenders with 36% from the lowest 20% of arts engagement (in England) alongside engaging over 17,000 people as participants across the combined tours.
→ Raising nearly £2 million through co-commissioning funds and venue fees, workshops, public grants (Arts Council of England, National Lottery Programmes and Creative Scotland, Open Projects), recent Local Authority support and a dash of private income.
Board of Trustees
Our current committed Board of Trustees have an oversight on everything we do, support and drive us in achieving our ambitions and ensure we are compliant as a registered company and soon to be registered charity.
Janet Smith, MBE Former Principal, Northern School of Contemporary Dance (Chair)
Clare Clarkson Deputy Director, Cast, Doncaster (Company Secretary)
Adam Knight Chief Executive, Blackpool Grand Theatre
Paul Russ CEO and Artistic Director, Fabric