Turning Forty  

Throughout 2015 and into 2016, Ludus Dance has been celebrating a significant milestone – 40 years since the organisation was first founded as a performing and touring dance co-operative. 

Contemporary dancers, Chris Thomson, Lesley Merwitzer, Penny Greenland, Anthony Peppiatt, Pauline Marshall, Nigel Charters and Julie Culshaw, came together to form Ludus Dance in 1975, formally incorporating as a co-operative in 1976. Over subsequent years, the company grew to become an established and renowned champion for dance in Lancashire; working with local people, schools and communities to expand opportunities for people to participate in, watch and enjoy dance as art. 

At the start of our anniversary year, we were very keen to make any celebrations we undertook count. They should be true to the organisation’s founding principles and, in particular, they should celebrate artistic exploration and experimentation in children and young people. Here are a few of the initiatives we are proud to have been running: 

Culture Sponge

In August 2015 we took a small group of passionate young people (some from our Young People’s Forum and some from Ludus Youth Dance Company) on a day trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

This activity wasn’t about giving them a free day out – far from it! Rather it gave the young people involved opportunity to experience experimental and innovative performance work, and to draw on these to develop their own individual artistic practices. You can read a show review by one of the young people on our blog.


We initiated a pilot creative bursaries scheme called MAKE in 2015, to coincide with our anniversary year.

The purpose of this initiative has been to support several budding young choreographers (of between 14 and 19 years old) from across the North West, as they work to develop and realise their creative potential.

In May, four young people were selected to receive small bursaries of between £100 and £200, following an application and selection day process. Through the year, these bursaries have been accompanied by mentoring and skills-building support from Ludus Dance, which together have enabled these young people to turn their choreographic ideas into reality.

SAVE THE DATE for our 'Roaring 40' celebration!

On the evening of Saturday 19th March 2016, Ludus Dance will be hosting an evening of celebration as we round off our anniversary year.

This event will be a free public celebration of dance in our community and the key role Ludus Dance has played in Lancashire’s artistic and cultural fibre over the last 4 decades. 

Taking place in Lancaster’s beautiful Storey building and beginning at 7:30pm, expect live music, pop-up vignette dance performances, charity raffles and plenty of other entertainment. The theme for the evening is loosely 1940s-based, so guests are welcome to don on their favourite vintage outfits (only if you want to!) and come along with a swing in your step.

A light buffet will be served during the evening and the bar will be open. 

We’re hoping to welcome people from across Lancaster and Morecambe who have enjoyed dancing us through the years, have seen our productions or are simply interested in what we do. We’re also hoping to see a number of current and former Ludus Dance employees, directors, associates and collaborators.

This will be a free event but booking is essential (for us to manage the catering and ensure we stay within capacity), so we are asking anyone who wishes to attend to register for a ticket on-line at www.ludusdanceis40.eventbrite.co.uk. If you cannot register on-line, please contact us on 0152435936 or send an email to info@ludusdance.org and we will put you on the list.

If you will be travelling for the event and wish to explore local accommodation options, we have provided details of some local hotels (all within a 5-minute walk of the venue) here.  

We hope to see you there! 

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