Ideas Workshops | Dance Artist invitation to tender, Phase 1 R&D

Akademi are seeking a choreographer to research and develop a new live, interactive performance for children and young people (aged 5 – 18 years) with profound autistic spectrum disorders and complex needs, including social, emotional and mental health issues. The production will encapsulate the reflections and ideas from children currently participating in workshops with Akademi, with the final production touring special needs schools in the Greater London area.

This tender relates to Phase 1, Ideas Workshops, focusing on the research and development of initial movement vocabulary. The intention following this first phase, subject to funding, is to create a full-length performance following further R&D. This commission is generously funded by The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.


Akademi currently run dance and movement workshops exploring creative means of communication and expression within three special needs schools; Papillion House, Cambridge School and Manor School – as part of the Reach Out and Reveal project. The schools cater for young people with profound autistic spectrum disorders and complex needs, including social, emotional and mental health issues, speech, language and communication needs and learning and cognition difficulties.

Ideas Workshops

We now wish to directly address the lack of autism-informed performance work, ensuring these young people’s voices and creative ideas are reflected in the work. The choreographer will be expected to observe and participate in the workshops in the three schools (led by the current resident dance artist), respond to and capture the dynamics of the children’s expression and ideas in the creative process. The choreographer will then spend time in a studio with two dancers to explore these ideas and begin to develop material toward an informal sharing with SEN teachers, parents and carers. This sharing will take the form of a presentation with movement based on the children’s responses, illustrating the beginnings of sensitive, appropriate movement language, and should speak to both the young people that inspired the work and all other audience members. Feedback from the sharing will ensure that we shape the theatre sensitively and maintain a high-quality artistic experience. This will then inform further phases of research and development.

Please note that whilst the young people are integral to the creation of the piece, and the final piece must resonate with them, they will not necessarily perform in the final outcome.


Project Schedule

  • September – October 2019: Observe 3 x full day workshops at SEN schools (White City, Kensal Rise and Tadworth)
  • October – November 2019: R&D choreolabs with dance artist(s) to develop concept (2 x half days) during October/November
  • End of November/Early December 2019: Informal sharing at SEN school

Project fee

£1,650 (approx. 7-9 days across 3 months to include research in own time) plus £50 towards travel expenses


Artists should submit:

  • A current CV
  • A covering letter outlining relevant experience with special educational needs, specifically autistic spectrum disorders, interest in this area of work, reason for applying and an outline approach to the project proposal (max 2 sides of A4)
  • Link to showreel or footage of previous work

Timeline of tender

Applications submitted by 12 noon, 14 Aug 19
Shortlisting completed by 20 Aug 19
Interviews w/c 26 Aug 19

Deadline | 12 noon, 14 Aug 19
Email |