Elli Chapman, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Ludus Dance. Taking us into our next chapter, focusing on children and young people in the community, outdoors and online.
Ludus Dance has been based in Lancaster for over 40 years. Established as a touring and performing company we were the first to specialise in Dance-in-Education, later opening our practice out to embrace community dance. Today, we operate as a charity and are an Arts Council England, National Portfolio Organisation, using dance as a tool of expression and trust. Our skilled artists strengthen technique and talent, recognising the potential of dance to change and enhance young people’s lives, no matter of experience or background.
Elli is, “committed to youth led practice and development of young arts leaders” having worked in creative and cultural learning for 25 years. She recently returned to the North from Norwich, where she founded and ran Culture Works East. An enterprise working across the East region to develop creativity and engagement with young people, providing access to the arts and opportunities to develop skills by working as artists and creative practitioners. In 2012, Elli was awarded the Natwest Everywoman Gaia Award in recognition for running a business with a clearly defined social purpose. The company ran numerous initiatives and programmes, working with BBC Blast, C4 First Acts and Arts Award.
Elli combines her expertise and skill with her drive to change and improve outcomes for young people, being “passionate about the transformative power of culture and creativity, I strongly believe that all children and young people should have a chance to discover and unlock their full potential through access to high-quality arts, digital media and culture.” Working as a facilitator, programmer, producer and project manager, Elli has built a reputation for delivering work that is of the highest quality and successfully engaged the hardest-to-reach participants and underrepresented audiences.
Elli was awarded a Fellowship by Clore Leadership and is also a fellow for the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce, in recognition of her potential to lead within the cultural sector. This gave her access to professional development, adding knowledge and expertise with further study, consultation and secondments. Her clients include Creative and Cultural Skills, Curios Minds, Festival Republic, BFI and National Foundation of Youth Music. And, Eli is no stranger to the world of dance, serving as a Trustee on the board of National Dance Company Wales.
And now Elli returns to Lancaster, “a town I love and know well, having grown up here in my teen and young adult years. I was a member of the Dukes Youth Theatre, Bay Beat at More Music in Morecambe and brought my eldest son, who is now a professional actor and dancer to early years’ movement activity at Ludus.”
Six weeks into her new role and Elli is tackling the third national lockdown, seeking accessible dance spaces, nurturing talent development, running projects in the community and planning for the relaxation of social restrictions. Ludus Dance will keep moving to make art that matters, Elli says, “we’re focused on the future, our community and providing opportunities to develop the creativity of young people.”