Next Stage Grants

Culture of Inclusion: increasing representation in dance

United Kingdom
Sadler's Wells Theatre

Sadlers Wells Out the Box 1 - light
Culture of Inclusion will focus on tackling under-representation in dance, both on stage and behind the scenes, and will encourage a collaborative approach to changing the workforce demographic within the sector.


Sadler’s Wells (SW) seeks to promote equality, diversity and inclusion beyond statutory requirements. This reflects our commitment to an artform that is by definition multi-cultural, diverse and inclusive. Dance gives us a unique opportunity, and obligation, to seek to reflect its diversity on the stage, in the audience and in the team at SW. We strive to promote a culture that reflects and delights in difference.

We run a range of programmes to close skills gaps in dance, working with young people from underrepresented communities to support their arts career journey. With this project, we want to build and expand these programmes. Our Shared Training and Employment Programme (STEP), a 12-month paid traineeship, is designed to encourage a collaborative approach to changing the workforce demographic landscape in the arts. Young east Londoners match with arts organisations to experience an entry-level role. Participants are paid London Living Wage (or above) and develop a range of skills and creative approaches. Level Up and Out the Box are two programmes for young people which combine creative outputs with career development and advice from professional mentors, run by our hip hop department, Breakin’ Convention. Level Up is a conversation with industry professionals who offer their expertise & tips to participants. Out the Box is a project in which young people pitch a project to work on collectively in 12 weeks through workshops.

We want to expand the employment programme to include 6 new traineeships in the build up to the opening of our new theatre, Sadler’s Wells East (SWE) in 2023. We want to expand Level Up into a 5 day residency, which will develop skills in hip hop artforms and explore careers in the creative industries. We want to expand Out the Box to other areas of the UK and Europe. Both programmes will attract a diverse range of young people. They will inform the curriculum at the Hip Hop Theatre Academy, which we are opening as part of SWE in 2024.

Project Team

The project will be implemented and overseen by the Breakin’ Convention Project Manager, the Director of Breakin' Convention and the Head of People and Inclusion at Sadler's Wells. The Breakin' Convention Project Manager has extensive experience of working with young people, and is also an artist in her own right. The Head of People and Inclusion has extensive experience of working with trainees through the STEP scheme, and is a Trustee of A New Direction. The Director of Breakin' Convention has worked with SW for nearly 20 years, oversees all BC activity and strategy and sits on the Senior Management team at SW. The Head of People and Inclusion will work closely with Oliver Benjamin at A New Direction and the Project Manager will work with education and creative partners and independent artists.


A New Direction

United Kingdom


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