Northern School of Contemporary Dance

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Staff and Leadership

Interim Chief Executive Officer

Dr Nick Holland

Interim CEO & Academic Registrar

Conservatoire Executive Committee (please click to read bio)

Paul Rummer

Principal, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

On leaving Sussex University, where he studied French Literature, Paul immediately found work in technical theatre, working for Warwick Arts Centre, and then the Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton. It was here that he moved into stage management. Seasons at Chichester Festival Theatre and Bristol Old Vic followed, and subsequent main scale tours, company management on large commercial shows, and two years’ theatre in education work with the National Trust. He moved into freelance production management, worked for a new writing company in Cardiff, and joined the School in 1985 as Head of Stage Management courses.
Paul became Associate Principal in 1989 and concentrated on developing the technical training at the School to give it a national profile and broaden the range of courses on offer. He completed an MBA at UWE’s Bristol Business School in 1992. Consultancy has included reporting for funding councils and accrediting bodies in the performing arts, external examining and validation panels for UG and PG awards. He became Principal in 2007.

Heidi Hall

Director, Central School of Ballet

Heidi trained at Central School of Ballet and performed in the 10th Anniversary tour of Ballet Central. She was very fortunate not only to have been taught by the late Christopher Gable, but also to have worked with him in Northern Ballet Theatre's Cinderella at Sadler's Wells. Heidi has had an extensive performance career and was most recently invited to appear in the 25th Anniversary Concert of Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, this was an honour having been involved with the show for many years in the UK and Europe. She also played the principal role of Meg Giry in the West End production for four years. Heidi has worked with Cameron Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gillian Lynne and Hal Prince. She also appeared in The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum with the Bolshoi Ballet.

Alongside her performance career Heidi has taught in many vocational colleges and been involved in musical theatre workshops and various educational projects, including working for the educational department at English National Ballet. On retiring from the stage Heidi worked for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain working on concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Sage Gateshead and most notable the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

Clare Connor

Chief Executive and Interim Principal, London Contemporary Dance School

With a longstanding background in dance and performance, Clare trained at London Contemporary Dance School before embarking on a successful performing career with Phoenix Dance. She then worked as a teacher-artist in both further and higher education and collaboratively produced performing arts programmes for the University of East London, as well as supporting the validation of new arts programmes in several universities.

In 2014, Clare joined the team at Southbank Centre as Director of Business Development and took the lead on innovative large-scale capital fundraising programmes. Her previous roles, prior to that, include co-founding the national network Future Arts Centres and working as Director of Stratford Circus Arts Centre, from 2005-2014, where she led the re-imagining of the organisation to create a new charitable body to run it in 2012.

Kate White

Chief Executive, National Centre for Circus Arts

Kate White is Chief Executive of the National Centre for Circus Arts, which offers the UK’s first HE level education in Circus Arts as well as support and services for professional and aspiring performers, adults, young people and companies from its base in Hoxton. Kate joined the National Centre, previously Circus Space, in 2007 as Director of Marketing and Communications from a career in various regional multi art form venues. Her previous role was at the Courtyard Centre for the Arts in Hereford, where she had been responsible for developing artistic programming, brand development and marketing with an emphasis on creative collaboration and partnership working.

With responsibility for developing the Circus Space brand, marketing and both internal and external communication strategies for all of Circus Space’s activities, Kate was also acting as Director of Lifelong Learning through a period of change in the delivery of all pre vocational, widening participation and recreational training.

She took on the role of Deputy Chief Executive at Circus Space in 2008 and became Acting CEO covering Jane Rice-Bowen’s maternity leave in December 2009; leading the organisation through a major restructure during a crisis period triggered by the global economic downturn. When Jane returned to work in late 2010 they began a hugely successful and enjoyable job share arrangement that continued until 2015.

In March 2014 Circus Space was re-launched as the National Centre for Circus Arts having gained government support, along with that of the sector, to formalise its leadership role and to position circus alongside theatre, dance, music and visual arts as a critical part of the country’s cultural offer.

Kate is now leading the organisation as sole CEO and remains committed to the delivery of the highest quality vocational circus arts training and to the creation of a real culture of circus in the UK that will allow this remarkable art form to continue to flourish and grow.

Janet Smith MBE

Principal, Northern School of Contemporary Dance

Janet became Principal in February 2012. Prior to that she was Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre (SDT), Scotland’s major contemporary dance company, creating works for the company and also commissioning from both emerging and internationally established choreographers. SDT gained international recognition and won awards, including the Critic’s Circle Award for Best Contemporary Repertoire, and was nationally recognised for pioneering leadership in Arts and Disability.
Prior to leading SDT, Janet held taught at Bretton Hall College and London School of Contemporary Dance, worked widely as a freelance teacher and choreographer and as a guest performer with Rosemary Butcher and London Contemporary Dance Theatre. Choreographic credits include Batsheva (Israel), Frieberg Tanzteater and English National Ballet and in theatre working for directors Dominic Hill and Michael Boyd.
Janet initially began work as a solo choreographer/ performer before forming Janet Smith & Dancers, which toured nationally and internationally over 12 years, commissioning work and delivering residency programmes that broadened access to contemporary dance.
Janet has served on the Boards of Dance UK and London Contemporary Dance Trust. In 1999 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Dartington College of Arts. In 2008 she received the Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award, honouring an individual working in dance who has made an outstanding contribution to the art form and in 2015 was awarded an MBE for services to contemporary dance.

Amanda Britton

Principal and Artistic Director, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance

Amanda Britton has over 25 years of experience as a dancer, teacher, rehearsal director, mentor and course leader. Having trained at the Rambert Academy, she joined Ballet Rambert in 1984. She went on to become a leading dancer, creating roles in works by Christopher Bruce, Merce Cunningham, Richard Alston, Siobhan Davies, Ashley Page, Glen Tetley and Trisha Brown amongst others. She left Rambert in 1993, moving on to create and perform work with Siobhan Davies Dance Company, including the Olivier Award winning ‘Art of Touch’ (1995).

Amanda has taught as a freelance artist throughout the UK. After retiring from performance she joined the faculty at LCDS, where alongside a full-time teaching role she completed an MA in Dance Education and Training. She took up the post of Head of Undergraduate Studies at Rambert School in 1995, becoming Deputy Principal in 2014.

Amanda has retained her links with Rambert Dance Company, regularly teaching company class and overseeing a number of collaborative projects which have allowed Rambert School and Company to work together. Amanda has also worked as an External Examiner for several schools.

Amanda succeeded Dr Ross McKim as Principal and Artistic Director of Rambert School in July 2015.

Board of Governors

Chairman of Board of Governors

James Smith CBE

Independent Governors

Rosemary Boot

Piers Butler

Dr Michelle Castelletti

Dr Roderick Clayton

Emily Fletcher

Janice French

Prof Martin Halliwell

Robert Jude

Roger Miles FCA

Alison Morris

Lesley Payne

Julian Roskill

Sophie Stone

Prof Jean Woodall

Governors Nominated by Conservatoire Schools

Brian Brodie

Richard Cooper

Prof David Halton

Derek Hicks

Matthew Lloyd

Tamas Wood

Staff Governors

Pete Dunleavy

Matthew Slater

Student Governor

Elyssa Sena

Shared Services Staff

Dr Nick Holland

Interim CEO & Academic Registrar

Prof Paul Allain

Research Mentor

Dr Maxine Esser

Assistant Registrar (Quality)

Kathleen Formosa

Governance Support Officer & Clerk to the Governors

Samantha King

CDD Library Advisor & OpenAthens Administrator

Heather Newton

Quality Assurance Manager

Olivia Oakley

Office Manager and PA to the CEO

Vanessa Penzo

Finance Director

Gloria Price

Student Finance Coordinator

Jon Rainford

Widening Participation & Access Coordinator

Imran Sheikh

Data Officer

Sandra Surblyte

Assistant Registrar (Quality)

Emma Swift

Communications & Projects Coordinator