Talking Moves Series 2 Episode 4: Connecting with Organisations

Talking Moves | 26 February 2021

In this episode we talk to Seeta Patel and Wayne Parsons about the relationship between organisation – be they venues, companies, agencies – and artists.

Living through a pandemic has highlighted the fragile ecology upon which the performing arts industry is built. The community Freelancers Make Theatre Work, a group of volunteers set up to give freelancers a voice, has published data which says that over a third of the freelance workforce received no support during Covid – making their reliance on the sometimes tenuous relationship between organisation and artist even more important.

Seeta and Wayne talk about how they supported themselves and their own dancers through Covid. They discuss the pivot to digital and conclude that perhaps we are all beginners within the digital world and have much to learn together if we are to continue to inhabit the digital space with integrity.

They muse upon the lessons that have been learnt, by both organisations and artists, throughout the crisis and how we all might learn from these as we build a stronger future. We unpick the value that associate programmes have for the artists who acquire them, the difficulties in maintaining relationships with organisations when personnel move on and how we build more sustainable opportunities for the artistic workforce.

We discuss the terminology ‘artist development’ and what artists really need to develop right now, and Melanie poses the question – what would you do, if you ran an organisation, to support artists like yourselves? The answers are illuminating…

Who's Who

Black and white photo of Wayne Parson's head and torso

Wayne Parsons

Wayne is a choreographer, movement director, facilitator and the Artistic Director of VOXED.

VOXED creates work that is, at its heart, all about storytelling. It provides a platform to reflect the world we live in and reveal the stories we share. It produces projects that are digital, live, indoor and outdoor and collaborates with writers, cinematographers, dramaturges, performers and creative individuals to co-create projects that are for, by and with us all.

For VOXED, Wayne has created ‘Meeting’ which was a finalist at the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition. The acclaimed ‘Vestige’ that was Wayne’s first collaboration with writer Ankur Bahl and in 2021 he’ll be creating a new indoor work titled ‘Out Late’, a crime thriller with an LGTBQ+ storyline, as well as continuing to roll out #GOGGLEDANCE, a national participatory project that takes place outside people’s homes and places its participants as the stars of the resulting reality TV style mini-series.

He works as a movement director and choreographer for theatre and to date has worked on three productions at Shakepseare’s Globe as well as Theatre Royal Stratford East and Hampstead Theatre.

He trained at London Contemporary Dance School before embarking on a 13-year career as a dancer. Spanning his performance career he has worked with 11 companies across the world include long-term engagements with Sydney Dance Company, Richard Alston Dance Company and National Dance Company of Wales

VOXED are Associate Company of Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, the first dance company to become an Associate of the venue.

Wayne was an Associate Artist at Swindon Dance 2018-2020 and is now a Commissioned Artist at Swindon Dance 2020-2022.
Black and white photo of Seeta Patel's head

Seeta Patel

Born in London, Seeta has worked with a range of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance professionals and toured with a number of companies including DV8 Physical Theatre, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, Gandini Juggling, David Hughes Dance Company and Mavin Khoo Dance. She has produced and presented solo and ensemble works at the Southbank Centre Purcell Room, Royal Opera House: ROH2 and Sadler’s Wells to sold out audiences.

In tandem with her choreographic and performing work she has worked in film, TV and theatre, including producing a multi award-winning short dance film, The Art of Defining Me in 2013, which gained national and international acclaim.

She was a judge, mentor and advisor for the inaugural BBC Young Dancer Competition, and in 2016 choreographed a new play at the Theatre Royal Stratford East called The House of In Between. Her work, Not Today’s Yesterday (collaboration with Australian choreographer Lina Limosani), is a one-woman show taking a dramatic look at the whitewashing of history. The show premiered successfully at the Adelaide Fringe Festival (2018) where it won Best Dance and the Peace Foundation Award. It toured the UK, India, Italy and Australia (2018/19/20) including the Edinburgh Fringe as part of the British Council showcase.

Most recently Seeta created a Bharatanatyam version of the iconic ballet, The Rite of Spring, which toured the UK in 2019 and will be expanded in 2022/23 when it will be performed at Sadler’s Wells with an extended cast and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Kiril Karabits).

More in the Talking Moves series

Talking Moves Bonus Episode: Arts Funding in Crisis

Talking Moves bonus episode: Arts Funding in Crisis with Nicholas Hytner and Tarek Iskander

Making Positive Change. Talking Moves title

Talking Moves Series 5 Episode 6: Making Positive Change

Parenting in the Arts. Talking Moves title

Talking Moves Series 5 Episode 5: Parenting in the Arts