IRIE! dance theatre is Britain’s leading dance theatre company working in the field of African & Caribbean dance fusion. Founded in 1985 by Beverley Glean with the principal aim of heightening the profile of Black dance in Britain, the company set out to create a repertory of works reflective of the African Caribbean influence on the Black British cultural experience.
Naturally, since its inception, the company's aim has evolved and our Mission can now be expressed as follows:
To deliver and sustain a range of creative, educational and artistic activity based on stimuli derived from Africa and the Caribbean, the company promotes culture and diversity through training, outreach, performance and inspired partnerships.
And our Vision is as follows:
Our vision is an environment where African Peoples Dance (APD) is fully integrated into the teaching and practice of the wider dance agenda, making the form important to individuals, communities and society.
IRIE! dance theatre subscribes to the definition of APD as:
"That which draws its main influence, sensitivities, means of experience and technical base from the cultural heritage of Africa and the peoples of Africa living in the Diaspora."
KWE & A, Time For Change. ACE Report, 2000
Our Values and Principles
We believe that the work initiated and developed by IRIE! can transform the lives of individuals and communities. Our work is based on a set of core organisational values and principals that are about:
1. Respect & Partnership
2. Education & Creativity
3. Diversity & Inclusion
4. Access & Quality
We believe that:
Dance can transform peoples lives, its value and benefits makes this social and art form one of the most important participatory activities for individuals, communities and society.
Partnership and collaboration builds strong relationships, encourages greater involvement and strength of voice.
Placing diversity and inclusion at the heart of what we do contributes positively to the individuals’ sense of equality, has the potential to reduce fear, build friendship, respect and understanding of others
Respecting everyone’s right to access quality informal and formal experiences in dance provides positive input to broader social, educational and creative opportunities.
Access to excellence, quality and enjoyment in participation contributes positively to people’s health and well-being as well as their personal motivation and social relationships.
Providing educational and creative opportunities for individuals and community involvement will lead to enriching lives and more community participation.
Every individual has unique abilities, capabilities and gifts.
The company’s musical orientations are drawn from African and Caribbean traditional drumming and percussion, Reggae and Ragga, Calypso and Soca.
Since it was founded, the company has created over 25 dance works for touring nationally and internationally, worked with thousands of young people in a variety of settings and has collaborated with a diverse range of organisations and institutions offering the value of its expertise and experience.
IRIE! is based at Moonshot Centre in Fordham Park, Angus Street, New Cross, South East London. Moonshot is a refurbished community centre, with two large dance studios; changing rooms equipped with showers; a library and archive space; cafeteria; teaching and meeting rooms among other facilities.
IRIE! aims to make Moonshot an exhilarating and engaging place for the local community and professional artists to learn about dance and its diverse nature, and how we can all benefit from taking part.