DD2134 Studio Wayne McGregor

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
09 June 2017
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

Studio Wayne McGregor opened a new world class dance arts space in April 2017 at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This decision seeks to grant fund Studio Wayne McGregor £100,000 to enable the delivery of the flagship FreeSpace programme. 

The programme will provide emerging professional artists with free studio space in exchange for delivering workshops and teaching dance classes to the local communities, schools and young people, helping to deliver Mayoral pledges to increase creative workspace in the capital and widen access to arts and culture across communities.


That the Executive Director of Communities & Intelligence approves Grant funding of £100,000 to Studio Wayne McGregor to support the delivery of the FreeSpace programme.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Wayne McGregor CBE is Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor and one of London’s most prominent choreographers with a touring company reaching over 10 million live and broadcast audiences in over 50 countries. Through its leading Learning and Engagement programme the company has reached over 90,000 participants. In 2012, he was Big Dance Trafalgar Square Creative Director– the world’s largest dance festival. Wayne McGregor is renowned for his collaborations with dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science.

1.2    In April 2017 Studio Wayne McGregor opened as a new state of the art studio facility based at Here East in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It is the first arts organisation having a permanent base at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

1.3    Dance is the second most popular physical activity within the capital’s schools, and is a great way to maintain physical and mental wellbeing for those who may not be attracted to or interested in other popular sports. Dance can also aid the development of key skills including; confidence, lateral thinking, communication skills, team work, empathy and leadership.

1.4    The new Studio Wayne McGregor has created a new world class facility for  London addressing the need for  high quality dance rehearsal space  in the capital and the loss of affordable artists’ studios across London, which is set to decline by 30% in 2019. 

1.5    The total space is approximately 1600 m² over four levels, featuring three large studios (two of which are the size of the Royal Opera House stage). It will be home to 300+ artists each year and will facilitate the creation of 15-20 new pieces of work touring to at least 34,000 audience members.

1.6       Studio Wayne McGregor will run the FreeSpace programme which provides artists and companies  
    access to world-class studios regardless of funding or stage of development. FreeSpace will offer space free of charge towards rehearsal, research and creation. In return, FreeSpace artists will be asked to commit to trading their time and expertise to deliver arts projects and creative workshops within local schools and communities. The programme will support artists to create new work, whilst enabling young people and the local community from all backgrounds to access free dance opportunities.

1.7       This exchange programme offered by professional choreographers for east London schools 
and community groups demonstrate Wayne McGregor’s longstanding commitment to access and grassroots cultural activity and his unwavering belief in the importance of providing high quality opportunities for young people – this was how he started his own career as a dance animator and educator for Redbridge Council.

1.8    The GLA Culture & Creative Industries Unit have commissioned research into dance infrastructure as part of the work on London’s first Cultural Infrastructure Plan. This research will produce a detailed analysis of London’s dance infrastructure. Access to affordable studio space for rehearsal and artistic development is one of the most consistently identified challenges facing London’s dance community. Affordability of large size dance studios and quality of the studios are all key issues particularly to emerging dance companies.

1.9     The company is part of a new partnership called Dance Core East which includes: Sadler’s Wells, 
East London Dance and English National Ballet. This new partnership is a developing dance cluster which aims to connect local dance organisations, the Culture & Education District partners and London Legacy Development Corporation programmes. The goal is to provide streamlined dance activity within and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park but also to connect to the outer London boroughs to spread the benefit of this growing world-class offer in the future.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    As part of the new studio facilities, Studio Wayne McGregor will offer a new programme called FreeSpace to provide emerging professional artists with free studio space in exchange for delivering workshops and teaching dance classes with the local communities and young people. This will help to positively address the lack of access to large dance infrastructure in the capital and widen opportunities to access high quality dance workshops across local communities.

2.2       The GLA contribution of £100,000 will ensure that Studio Wayne McGregor can provide 
up to 1000 hours for 10 emerging professional artists of free studio space per year instead of charging commercial rates.  The programme will reach at least 3,000 young people through the education exchange programme. 

2.3       Studio Wayne McGregor will deliver FreeSpace through their Learning and Engagement team which 
has a track record of delivering outreach programmes including with schools and communities. The   
Studio has previously developed programmes which work with local schools, youth centres and community groups. Workshops have included fast paced, dynamic warm ups, delivery of creative tasks and teaching of repertoire to a variety of age groups.

Equality comments

3.1    This project represents an opportunity to offer access to creative workspace available to the local and wider London community, including those who may otherwise have had no previous access to opportunities of this kind. The studios are fully accessible and designed to the highest standards of accessibility. 

3.2    As part of the FreeSpace programme associated with this project, local schools in the area will have access to take part in free dance lessons and workshops led by professional artists.

3.3    The FreeSpace programme will also be available to any creative professionals who wish to take part and everyone who applies to be part of the programme will have an equal chance of being accepted.

Other considerations

​​​​Risks & Issues:
















A lack of engagement with local schools, young people or artists in the FreeSpace programme.






The grant agreement will outline deliverables against agreed milestones and timeline. Company Wayne McGregor have a proven track record working with local communities and schools.

Financial mismanagement of the GLA funding provided.




The grant will be governed by way of a funding agreement with Studio Wayne McGregor. Payments will be made against agreed milestones within the agreement and managed by a GLA Officer. The risk to the GLA is therefore considered low.


4.2          Links to Mayoral priorities:

The proposed expenditure and grant funding to enable the delivery of the FreeSpace programme directly relate to key Mayoral priorities including:

•    Creating more opportunities for young people and communities to participate in culture and  creative programmes and widening access to culture and the creative industries.

•    Support and increase affordable artists’ studios across London and stem the rapid loss of creative workspace in the capital.

•    Develop and support the first ever Cultural Infrastructure Plan for London to identify what we need to sustain London’s future as a cultural capital.

Financial comments

5.1       Permission is being sought to approve expenditure of £100,000 as a grant to Studio Wayne 

5.2          The grant will contribute towards delivering a free space programme in which free studio space will be exchanged for classes and educational workshops within the local community and schools.

5.3          The proposed grant will be subject to satisfactory due diligence work being undertaken on Studio Wayne McGregor and paid upon completion of deliverables.

5.4          The grant will be funded from the Culture and Creative Industries 2017-18 budget with all appropriate virements in place.

Planned delivery approach and next steps




DD signed

June 2017


12 June 2017

Funding agreement signed

Summer 2017

Programme delivery starts

Autumn 2017

Programme deliver ends

Autumn 2018


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