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Rambert London : Contemporary Dance South Bank

Rambert South Bank Development, central London, UK – design by Allies & Morrison

14 Nov 2011

Rambert South Bank

Rambert Moves : Work on New South Bank Home Begins

Design: Allies & Morrison

As Rambert, the national company for contemporary dance, prepares to welcome audiences to its London season at Sadler’s Wells, the Company is delighted to announce that building work has begun on its new home in the heart of London’s South Bank. The contract has been awarded to VINCI Construction UK Limited and the main construction work will begin in December. The project has taken over nine years in development and now begins in earnest in Rambert’s 85th anniversary year. The Company intends to move into its new South Bank home in 2013.

Rambert South Bank
picture : Allies & Morrison

London’s South Bank already offers world-class music, film, theatre and visual art. With a new flagship home for contemporary dance, Rambert will complete the artistic circle in the UK’s major cultural hub.

Rambert’s Artistic Director, Mark Baldwin: “This is an incredible milestone for the Company and it is a great relief to know that 85 years after we were founded we will finally have access to facilities that have been so desperately lacking in our current premises. This new purpose-built home will provide state-of-the-art working, training and rehabilitation space for our dancers, and will enable us to become a centre for choreography that feeds the contemporary dance sector and generates bold new work that excites and engages our audiences all around the UK”.

The plot of land on Upper Ground has been made available to Rambert by Coin Street Community Builders, one of the UK’s leading social enterprises, in return for a commitment to lead a significant community dance programme in the local area and for the peppercorn rent of one pair of ballet shoes per year. Learning and participation is central to Rambert’s vision, and the Company currently works with 14,000 children and young people and 6,000 adults each year. This purpose-built home will serve to double levels of public engagement and allow the Company to significantly expand its education and outreach activities to meet the needs of the local community in Lambeth and surrounding boroughs.

Rambert’s Chief Executive, Nadia Stern: “At the heart of this move is a desire to open up the creative process and inspire audiences with the ideas, excitement and joy of this contemporary and collaborative art form. We want to establish an open house for dance that helps to break down barriers and preconceptions by inviting people to the heart of the artistic process to see first-hand how contemporary dance is created. Alongside this we will open up Rambert’s extensive archive for the first time in the Company’s history. This is a fascinating collection of national significance dating back to the late 19th century, recording the development of dance, the most ephemeral of art forms”.

Award-winning architects Allies & Morrison have designed a fully accessible world-class facility which comprises three large dance studios, set and costume workshops, offices and archive. The total cost of the project is £19.6 million, £7 million of which was awarded by Arts Council England, one of only five grants in London it has recently made to look at new ways to increase arts organisations’ sustainability. Rambert has raised nearly £12 million of the fundraising target from private sources, and is set to launch a public campaign in 2012 to help raise the remaining £700,000.

Chair of Rambert’s Board of Directors, Howard Panter: “In these financially difficult times it is a testament to the generosity and vision of individual and institutional donors who have helped us to sustain the lifeblood of our Company. The partnership between the leading social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders, and a cultural organisation like Rambert has genuinely given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share our passion and expertise in dance with a huge number of new people”.

Coin Street Community Builders Chief Executive, Iain Tuckett: “Rambert has world class dancers who deserve world class facilities and I am delighted that they are now going to get them. We look forward to welcoming them to London’s South Bank where they will be an active participant in our great and growing mixed community”.

Allies and Morrison Architects Partner, Pauline Stockmans: “Having been so closely involved as designers of Rambert’s new home throughout its long gestation, we are delighted that work is finally starting on site. The new building aims to fulfil Rambert’s aspirations and create a sense of place within which dance can thrive and the Company’s astonishing creativity can continue to develop.”

VINCI Construction UK, Regional Director Building Division – South, Sean O’Driscoll: “We are thrilled to be working on this innovative and exciting project. VINCI Construction UK is very experienced in building world-class facilities and this new state-of-the-art space on the South Bank will be a suitable home for Rambert Dance Company”.

Rambert’s new home has the potential to transform the Company’s working life:

Larger studios mean that choreographers will be able to create work in conditions that match the dimensions of the stages Rambert performs on across the UK, and will help to establish a centre for the development of new choreography, particularly for large scale spaces.

For the first time in 85 years the dancers and the Rambert Orchestra will have the space to rehearse together and the acoustics of the new studios will provide a more accurate aural picture of what a new work will sound like. The new building has the potential to be the leading centre for dance and music in the UK.

Like athletes and footballers, dancers have short careers that place tremendous pressure on their physiques. New physiotherapy and fitness facilities will provide the expert care they need.

Rambert already runs a highly successful and often oversubscribed programme of work with children and young people, and the opportunities we will be able to develop for them – including unique access to the creative process – will be unprecedented in terms of dance in Britain. Furthermore, the number of dance classes currently on offer will double.

The physical and social benefits of dance are widely recognized and our learning and participation programmes will bring these benefits to a local community that ranks highly in the Index of Social Deprivation.

Rambert Dance Company performs at Sadler’s Wells from 15-19 November 2011.

Rambert Venue London – Background Information

Founded by Marie Rambert in 1926, Rambert Dance Company has sustained her pioneering commitment to choreography and developing dancers as artists, leading the way for over 85 years. The vision of this energetic Polish woman ensured that dance as an art form took root and blossomed in this country, as she produced the founding generation of British choreographers including Sir Frederick Ashton and Antony Tudor. Excepting her great inspiration, Diaghilev, no other director has had a greater effect on the creative forces in ballet, not only in Britain but all over the world. She stressed the value of collaboration between choreographer, composer and artist and the Company continues in that tradition, routinely commissioning composers and artists alongside new choreography. Rambert is renowned for its use of live music and is the only UK-based contemporary dance company to always tour with an orchestra.

Today, the Company thrives on its unique ability to share with audiences the widest range of repertoire: works from our rich heritage as the UK’s oldest dance company; new works and re-stagings by choreographers from all over the world, including those who may be less well-known in the UK, and landmark dance from the 20th century. Bold, risk-taking, agile and beautiful, our dancers combine rigorous technique and artistry with an extraordinary ability to challenge and entertain. Under the award-winning artistic direction of Mark Baldwin, the Company creates bold, ambitious productions that achieve audience and critical acclaim. Rambert received two national awards in 2010: the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance 2010 and the National Dance Award Critics’ Circle for Outstanding Company 2010.

Coin Street Community Builders [CSCB] is a development trust and social enterprise which seeks to make the South Bank a better place in which to live, to work, to study, and to visit. Since 1984 CSCB has transformed a largely derelict site into a thriving mixed-use neighbourhood. It has overseen the completion of the South Bank riverside walkway; the creation of Bernie Spain Gardens and Gabriel’s Wharf; the refurbishment of Oxo Tower Wharf; and the building of 220 homes for people in housing need. CSCB provides a diverse range of arts and events in Bargehouse, the gallery@oxo and through the annual Coin Street Festival.

The Coin Street family and children’s centre provides an integrated range of programmes – including a 64-place nursery – from the Coin Street neighbourhood centre on Stamford Street. The neighbourhood centre also programmes weekend and evening activities for young people and adults and provides access to training and employment opportunities and business and social enterprise support. In partnership with Colombo Street community and sports centre, Coin Street offers high quality affordable health, recreation and leisure facilities including a gym, outdoor sports pitches, dance and fitness sessions.

The new headquarters for Rambert Dance Company is part of a major mixed development on CSCB’s Doon Street site. The development will also include a public swimming and indoor leisure centre, flats for sale, an educational/office building, and a new town square adjacent to Waterloo Bridge.

Allies and Morrison Architects is an architecture and urban planning practice based in London. It operates from its own studios in Southwark Street, the RIBA London Building of the Year 2004 and is currently undertaking work in Germany, the Netherlands, India, Malawi, Beirut, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. In 2009 it opened an office in Doha. Allies and Morrison brings to all its projects the same rigorous approach which places importance on the way buildings work, the way they are made and the public spaces they generate. The practice was named Architect of the Year in the 2007 Building Design Awards and has won 30 RIBA Awards across a range of projects including The Horniman Museum, BBC Media Village, Girton College Library and Archive, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the Royal Festival Hall.

VINCI is a world leader in concessions and construction. The VINCI name symbolises the best in innovation, creativity and technological mastery, befitting for a Group that harnesses a culture of innovation to deliver technical expertise in tackling the most complex of projects. The combination of financial strength, market-leading positions and a commitment to sustainability give VINCI its competitive edge. VINCI companies in the UK turnover in the region of £1.9 billion per annum and employ circa 9000 employees. This is the second largest geographic operating sector outside France and represents 5.6% of VINCI’s €34.4 billion turnover. VINCI employs around 180,000 people in 100 countries around the world. VINCI Construction UK is a national construction and facilities company and is the largest British subsidiary of VINCI. VINCI Construction UK has strong relationships with other VINCI companies and subsidiaries and, as a result, can leverage ideas, skills and entrepreneurial flair to deliver top-quality work in all sectors http://www.vinciconstruction.co.uk/

Rambert South Bank images / information from Rambert Dance Company

Allies & Morrison

Sadlers Wells Theatre


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