The current Executive Director of the Gate Theatre praised the ambition and perseverance of the company she will join in October.

Photo of Jo Royce

Jo Royce has been appointed as the new Executive Director of Candoco Dance Company, the integrated dance company that came to the attention of the world for its role in the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 

She will take up the role in October, moving from The Gate Theatre, where she has been Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive since July 2016.

Her previous roles include five years as Development Manager at Serious, which produces the London Jazz Festival, and four years as Senior Corporate Development Manager at the National Theatre. 

“I have worked in companies of different sizes and I love smaller organisations with massive ambitions and a track regard of delivering huge projects,” Royce told AP. “Candoco have a really exciting level of perseverance – I can’t wait to start working with them.”

Her appointment follows a period of change at Candoco, which recently began a new four-year term as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations. Pedro Machado and Stine Nilsen, Artistic Co-Directors of the company from 2007, stepped down in late 2017 and were replaced by first-time Artistic Directors Ben Wright and Charlotte Darbyshire.

“I’m going to an organisation that is artistically exceptional and has a fantastic social mission at the core of what it does,” said Royce, praising the company for being “at the forefront of discussions about who is able to dance”.

She also enthused about the company’s “exceptional” international links – outlined by Machado in AP – and responded to the former Artistic Director’s comments about challenges companies like Candoco face when touring. 

“There are buildings that are less accessible than others, and for any company touring can be difficult – but inclusiveness is becoming more and more part of the language the sector as whole is using,” Royce added. “That’s why we need to continue the diversity conversation”.