Image: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Graduate Business Support Day 2018

Business Support Day for CDD Graduates

Tuesday 26 June, 10.00am – 5.00pm (registration from 9.30am)

Woburn House Conference Centre

20 – 24 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HQ

Business skills for performing artists and production professionals

Are you a recent graduate of a CDD school? Are you interested to develop your business and entrepreneurial skills as a creative artist or production professional?

On Tuesday 26 June we are holding a free Business Support Day for recent graduates to support you in your professional career development, refresh your knowledge or develop new skills.

Training sessions will cover topics such as:

  • Finance, freelance and company set-ups
  • Fundraising
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Marketing and showreels

This will also be an opportunity to meet graduates working in different disciplines and make new connections across dance, drama and circus arts.

Details of session leaders will be announced nearer the time.

How to book a place

The day is free to attend and open to graduates of CDD schools* who have graduated from a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate course within the last 5 years (i.e. graduated in 2012 or since then).

To book your place on the Business Support Day, please RSVP to with the following information:

  • Name
  • Contact email
  • The CDD school where you trained
  • The course you graduated from
  • Year of graduation

There are limited places available per school, so book early to secure your place. If places are over-subscribed we will add you to a waiting list.

If you would like to attend the event, but are based outside London and would find the travel costs prohibitive, please get in touch with Emma Swift.

*The CDD schools are: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Central School of Ballet, LAMDA, London Contemporary Dance School, National Centre for Circus Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, RADA


On the day you will be able to choose from a number of different sessions.

Confirmed speakers include:

Penny Mayes, Creative Producer

Over a twenty two year tenure with Trestle Theatre Company, Penny played a major role in establishing it as one of Britain’s leading national and international touring theatre companies.  On leaving Trestle in 2002, she set up her freelance business, Dramatic Solutions. A wide variety of jobs include capital fundraiser for artsdepot, co-produced Feeast, a major festival of Central and Eastern European Arts, setting up Free Word, the first home for literature, literacy and free expression, General Manager for Clod Ensemble, securing over half a million £s towards its Performing Medicine programme. She produced Helen Chadwick / Steven Hoggett collaboration, War Correspondents with an extensive 22 venue tour to include Durham Cathedral and Sage Gateshead. She is currently producing Lucy Steven’s Kathleen Ferrier, Whattalife! and Ethel Smyth:Grasp The Nettle and is General Manager for The Brook Street Band. She is a regular tutor for the MA Cultural Policy and BA Arts Administration courses at Goldsmiths University, National Centre of Circus Arts and East 15, University of Essex. She regularly assists performing arts companies in all aspects of arts mangement and company development.


Penny will offer sessions on PAYE and company set-ups, budgeting and financial controls, arts and the law, and going on tour.

David Johnson, Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy, Cause4

David joined Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy in March 2018. Previously he worked at the Albany, an arts centre in South East London and was responsible for earned and raised income generation, partnership development and contract management for the organisation. He also oversaw the strategic leadership of the national Family Arts Campaign. During his tenure the organisation more than doubled its turnover.

David trained at the Royal Ballet School and Central School of Ballet and was a professional ballet dancer and choreographer prior to moving into arts management. He has developed and delivered national sales training programmes and been an assessor on talent development projects. He sits on the board of Babylon Arts in Ely and is part of a steering group supporting C-12, a dance theatre company. David is a member of the Institute of Fundraising.


David will deliver sessions on Introduction to Fundraising, covering vision and mission, types of income generation, cultivating supporters, thanking and reporting.

David Roylance, Leadership and Presentation Coaching

David Roylance is a leadership coach and a professional actor having studied acting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After working for several years as an actor and theatre director, running his own theatre company touring Shakespeare plays and Christmas pantomime around schools, David found that the most money he made as an actor was in representing corporate businesses from the stage. When those businesses asked him to teach them how to do it themselves, David began working as a trainer and coach as an associate of a few companies.

David has over 20 years of experience working with FTSE 250 companies, SMEs, entrepreneurs and charities. He has been responsible for fast tracking the first woman onto the board of the RBS and teaching skills that have allowed executives to double their income within a week of intervention. He has also worked with people at board room level at Barclays, Standard Life and Coutts. He has delivered courses for staff at Zurich Insurance, American Express, Orange, Aviva and Turner Entertainment.

David also works with entrepreneurs and business start ups including a number of digital entrepreneurs. He teaches young performers how to hold their own in difficult conversations at 3 of the UK’s top drama schools and has a wonderful family to support and be supported with.


David will offer sessions in Upscale Your Audition Hit Rate.

Are you certain that you are in charge of the impact you make and the impression you leave when in auditions, interview or casting meetings? Have you had experiences that leave you with nerves that threaten to impact your performance? Have you ever felt manipulated or not in control of how conversations are playing out?

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then this workshop is for you.

David will teach the most impactful of his techniques which will allow you to read the hidden unconscious signals that people are sending out about what they need to see, hear and experience in order that you can position yourself as the solution to their problem.

Gracefool Collective

Feminist, forthright and fiercely funny, Gracefool make what they affectionately refer to as “post-intellectual-pseudo-spiritual-feminist-comedy-dance” – in other words choreographic work which falls somewhere in between dance, physical theatre, live art and comedy. Made up of four female dance artists, all graduates of Northern School of Contemporary Dance, the Gracefools mix sharp observation with quick wit, energy and playfulness to create performances which provoke, delight and defy convention.

Gracefool is a non-hierarchical feminist performance collective. Their focus is on making innovative work from a female perspective, with the intention of broadening the scope of female narratives on stage, and redressing the imbalance of which stories get to be told. All their work is created collaboratively, and they are committed to constantly developing and expanding this collaborative practice, as well as promoting collective working models as a viable alternative to the traditional hierarchical model.

Over the last year Gracefool have performed nationally and internationally with their critically acclaimed work This really is too much. This included a successful run at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the prestigious Underbelly Untapped programme, an award offered to just three companies each year whom Underbelly deem to be making exciting and innovative new work. They will be touring the piece again in the Autumn and are currently developing a new piece which is co-commissioned by Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Yorkshire Dance and The Place and will also premiere in the Autumn.

Gracefool are also responsible for setting up ProDanceLeeds, a collectively run project providing daily professional classes to freelance dancers and students in Leeds.


Gracefool will deliver sessions on collective working models and setting up projects from scratch. This will include a general info/question and answer session on starting a touring company; the highs and lows, challenges faced and top tips they wish they had known when they started out!