Frank Doran: Obituary

6 Dec 2017

The late Frank Doran (left) and the late Sir Gerald Kaufman at Portcullis House, Westminster, London, Great Britain, 23 February 2015. Photograph by Elliott Franks. Image licensed to Elliott Franks Photography Services

Frank Doran MP, who was pivotal in the establishment of The All-Party Parliamentary Dance Group (APPDG), sadly died on 31 October 2017.

Doran worked tirelessly at Westminster since 2004 to champion dance as an art form and also for the positive benefits it brings to the health, education and society. He was inspired to become an advocate for dance when he was part of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Enquiry into Dance in 2004. When the report was published, Doran arranged for Random Dance to give the first ever dance performance in Portcullis House at Westminster.

Former Director of Dance UK (now One Dance UK), Jeannette Siddall, comments:

“Frank was instrumental in establishing the APPDG, the Select Committee Inquiry into Dance, and in getting the voice of dance heard in Parliamentary circles. I first met him at a One Dance UK discussion about dance and politics, where he pointed out that the parliamentary library had only one publication concerned with dance at the time. Frank really made a difference for dance.  He was also a warm, generous person, an inspiration to me and many others, and he will be sadly missed.”

In 2006, Doran became the main force behind the creation of the APPDG, becoming its founding Secretary. The APPDG was established “to promote dance as an art form and as an important element of healthy living and the fight against obesity, and to promote its education and social benefits.” Its establishment would not have been possible without the support of Doran, assisted by a letter-writing campaign by One Dance UK members asking their local MPs to support the APPDG.

He also secured a high profile Chairman for the Group, Sir Gerald Kaufman.

Caroline Miller, also previously Director of Dance UK (now One Dance UK), adds:

“It was Frank’s respect among his fellow politicians that secured us meetings with top ministers. Examples of Frank’s impact include securing with Meg Hillier MP the first 10 Minute Rule Bill about the importance of quality dance teaching; Frank’s Westminster Hall speech challenging government ministers’ media comments that dance was a ‘soft subject’; and his and Sir Gerald’s work with Dame Margaret Hodge MP when she was Minister of State for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism, which contributed to the publication of the DCMS report into youth dance and new major investment in Youth Dance.

“I was so pleased that Frank Doran was awarded the Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award in 2014. My thoughts go out to his wife Dame Joan Ruddock, who has also always been a strong advocate for dance at Westminster, through her commitment to Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance.”

Linda Jasper, previously Director of Youth Dance England (now One Dance UK), says:

“I was saddened to hear about the untimely death of Frank. He was very supportive of Youth Dance England’s agenda through his work on the APPDG.

“Frank was a very kind, attentive, modest and able man.  He was always truthful – one never felt that you were getting a ‘politicians’ gloss’ put on any issue. He was totally sincere in his work in politics and wanted to make a difference to the lives of people, especially young people through dance and the arts. He will be sadly missed.”