Homegrown Associate Producers

In conversations with our artistic community we’re often asked:

“Where are all the dance producers?”

We decided to help answer that question more directly.

With generous support from Arts Council, England, CDS is proud to pilot a producer-training programme. The Homegrown Associate Producer programme gives on-the-job and bespoke training opportunities to aspiring and early-career producers. Producers work in-house at CDS and are partnered with an independent artist.

Joining the team at CDS as Homegrown Associate Producers for 2015/2016 are:

Simon James Holton (CDS and Project O)

Simon is just completing an MA in Performance and Culture at Goldsmiths College. His interest in performance began from a very young age, but didn’t begin in earnest until he completed a years’ acting training with a repertory theatre company. Quickly realising that the life of the actor was not for him, but enjoying most of all the creative and collaborative process, he side-stepped into producing. After working front-of-house at The Yard Theatre and completing internships at Arcola Theatre and BAC, he worked on a number of projects including the very first Incoming Festival at New Diorama theatre, Forest Fringe, and curating performance for Goldsmiths Students’ Union. His decision to further his study in performance came out of a desire to better understand the industry and cultural phenomena he was beginning to work with. He joins us at an exciting time in his career, as he begins to produce the work he loves full-time.

Sheena Khanna (CDS and Dan Watson)

Our Associates will assist our members via our Allotment programme, support Chisenhale Arts Place in an Open Studio Weekend (Oct 2-4, 2015) and run our free Arts Counselling programme.

Read short interviews with Simon and Sheena here.

More about the 2015/16 independent artists:

Dan Watson is a London based artist working somewhere between dance, performance and messing about. Originally a member of StopGAP Dance Company he went on to work with artists such as Wendy Houstoun, Nigel Charnock, Stan Wont Dance, 5 Men Dancing, Sweetshop Revolution and Seven Sisters Group amongst others. In 2012 Dan was the choreographic assistant for the movie “Les Miserables”. Dan has created two solo projects; Semi Detached and Precariously as well as the duet Jacket Dance. He has also created work for StopGAP, Flight Effect Dance and Them Two Dance.

Find out more about Dan and his work here: www.danwatsonperforms.co.uk

Project O is the performative fruits of conversations between independent dance artists Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small. The London-based project explores ideas around visibility and marginalisation whilst looking to the body as a site – and agent – of politics, desire and dance. Their work has included choreographies for the stage (O, SWAGGA), performative interventions in public spaces (BYBG: Be Your Black Girlfriend), a publication (A Contemporary Struggle), a performance lecture (Benz Punany) and a free training programme (The New Empowering School). Project O are associate artists at Dance Research Studio and 2014 Artsadmin Bursary recipients.

Find out more about Project O and their work here: www.acontemporarystruggle.com

Simon James Holton


Hometown: Epsom, Surrey

How did you come to producing performance?

I began by acting in various things at university before pursuing my dreams of being an actor by completing a years’ acting training with a repertory theatre company. I quickly realised that actual performance was not my strong point, but that I loved the process of creating and facilitating the work. At the same time I realised there was a whole wide world of exciting types of performers, producers and contexts out there that I wanted to explore.

I have interned, volunteered and worked with a number of venues and festivals, as well as working on a number of smaller projects with artists, and am just completing an MA in Performance and Culture at Goldsmiths. I feel ready to focus my freelance producing to the area that really excites me: powerful, political, artistically exciting work that sits on the boundary of live art, theatre and dance.

What’s your favourite piece of work you’ve seen recently?

Of course I loved Project O’s SWAGGA at The Yard! Really enjoy curated nights of risky performance and dance, like the evening of solo dance performance and films curated by Jamila Johnson-Small from Project O at Tripspace called The Eye of the Strong Female Maker. Particularly enjoyed the climax of the night: Lady Vendredi’s Urban Rites: Possession.

In the same vein I enjoyed Steakhouse Live‘s evening of short performances at Arts Admin, called Tender Loin. Particularly enjoyed the magical stylings of Vincent Gambini and the warped minds of Ellis D. and Saliva Dentata. Didn’t really follow the brief there – so hard to pick favourites!

What excites you most about Project O’s work?

That it can be so uncompromising, political and angry without being didactic or simplistic, and while remaining entertaining and often funny. Project O are not afraid to tackle sometimes painful issues and make big statements; their work retains a nuanced, metalinguistic feel.

How can our artistic community contact you?

Tweet me @simonjholton, find me on Instagram at simonjamesholton, or email me at simon@chisenhaledancespace.co.uk

SK Headshot


Hometown: South West London

How did you come to producing performance?

I was always passionate about theatre and performance and fancied myself as an actor. The trouble is I’m just not very good. After graduating with a drama degree I went into arts marketing for a while, and then took an internship at the Gate Theatre where I learnt what a producer does. The mix of organisational skills and creativity really appealed to me. I took a role at the Arts Council that was invaluable for soaking up loads of knowledge about funding and the industry. I did bits and pieces of producing on the side whilst at ACE, but in November last year I decided to give it all up and make a go of being a ‘real’ producer.

What’s your favourite piece of work you’ve seen recently?

I loved PanicLab’s R.I.O.T. – it was just a really fun evening. The show is a ‘comic book come to life’, which is something I’d never seen on stage, and that’s the kind of performance I love to experience. It uses a combination of superbly choreographed fight sequences, original illustrated projections, narration and tongue-in-cheek humour. There were loads cult and political references that were cleverly and humorously pitched. And you could tell that the performers were having a great time which made their energy infectious.

What excites you most about your lead artists’ work?

I can’t wait to work with Dan. I really like the sense of humour that runs through his work, and the skill involved in performing. What excites me most is that he does so many different things and his work can’t be labeled or put into a box.

How can our artistic community contact you?

Tweet me @sheena_khanna, or email me at sheena@chisenhaledancespace.co.uk