Artistic Director & Chief Executive Announcement

After 18 years at East London Dance, 8 of those leading the organisation, Polly Risbridger is stepping down as Chief Executive and Artistic Director at the end of October 2021.

Our amazing Chief Executive Polly Risbridger will be stepping down from October this year. It will be difficult to say goodbye, but we’re excited for her and her new venture at The Bright Foundation in Hastings. 
Polly joined East London Dance in 2003 as Community Projects Coordinator, developing into a Creative Producer, and took over from former Artistic Director, Kiki Gale, in 2013. Since then she has led us on an incredible journey including the creation of a new home for East London Dance which we will be moving into in September this year, alongside increasing live audiences by 42% and growing engagement in our participation and artist support programmes by 75%.

We can’t thank Polly enough for all the creativity, ambition, guidance and leadership she has brought to the organisation and the east London dance scene over the past 18 years.

Polly says: “It has been a really hard decision to leave an organisation that I love. I have had many wonderful years working with 100s of extremely talented people and have taken much pleasure in witnessing the phenomenal dance experiences created and enjoyed over this time. From the large-scale events at Buckingham Palace and Tower of London, to the grassroots classes in community centres across Newham, I still get a buzz of endorphins seeing the impact that dance can have.

I believe strongly in championing leadership development across the sector, and want to make way for someone new to take East London Dance into its next exciting chapter. I am hugely proud of the home we have created and am pleased to have been able to lay strong organisation foundations (despite the tumultuous year just gone) for someone to develop the creative vision from. A huge thank you to the staff team, board, artists, participants, audiences, funders and partners who have all made my time here so enjoyable.”

Moira Sinclair, Chair of Trustees, East London Dance says: “It has been a privilege to watch Polly grow in this role and to see the company expand in artistic practice and reach under her watch. We will miss her hugely, but her departure does create space for someone equally ambitious, creative and dynamic to take East London Dance into its new home and fourth decade.”

Polly will be taking up the role of Chief Executive Officer at The Bright Foundation, a brand new arts education charity based in Hastings, set up by Oscar winning costume designer, John Bright.

The Board of Trustees are now seeking to appoint a new Creative Director & Chief Executive. More information can be found here.