Funding secured for National Talent House for Urban Culture

12 Mar 2018






East London Dance and Urban Development secure £1 million GLA Good Growth Fund to match £1 million funding from Arts Council England to create UK’s first National Talent House for Urban Culture in Stratford

Dance development organisation and creative producer East London Dance and music talent development organisation, talent incubator and educator Urban Development announced today that they have secured a joint funding bid from the Mayor of London’s Greater London Authority (GLA) Good Growth Fund for £1 million, to create the UK’s first National Talent House for urban culture in Stratford, east London.

The GLA funding will match £1 million (£500,000 per organisation) already secured from the Arts Council England Small Capital Grants programme in 2017 and will enable the fit-out of a 1,000+ square metre historic warehouse and modern extension as part of the Sugar House Island Development (formerly Strand East) adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park that will be delivered by developers Vastint UK.

Inspired by the need to ensure that diverse and disadvantaged young people from east London benefit from the legacy of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the centre will offer an aspirational space to unlock the potential of musicians, singer songwriters, composers, dancers, choreographers and producers and enable progression to further/higher education, employment and enterprise. It will also be an incubation hub with strong industry links for innovation in the creative industries, launching new projects, products and careers.

East London Dance and Urban Development are leading exponents of urban culture and drive the vital diversification of the dance and music sectors, through investment in nurturing and championing new authentic voices and providing platforms to gain recognition. Building on nearly two decades of collaboration, both organisations will share the building that will become their new permanent home – enabling the growth and sustainability of their vital work engaging and developing diverse young talent aged 14–30 years.

Award-winning east London-based architectural practice, Citizens Design Bureau has designed an interior which combines high performance recording suites and dance studios with spaces for collaborative working, creative conversation and performance; encouraging cross-fertilisation of talent and ideas between both organisations. Building works for the structure are underway and the internal works will commence later this year; estimated to finish in Spring 2019.

Polly Risbridger, Director, East London Dance said:

“As East London Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018, we are overjoyed at the support and commitment the Mayor of London and Arts Council England have offered in helping us realise our ambitions for the next 30 years. This building will not only provide a new home for East London Dance and Urban Development but will be an authentic space that listens and responds to artists, young people and the local community. It will spearhead the creation of a vibrant new creative hub at Sugar House Island and create a home and meeting point for the urban arts community.”